Symptoms of a Faulty Anti-lock Braking System Module

Symptoms of a Faulty Anti-lock Braking System Module – The anti-lock braking system (ABS) control module is a technology in modern cars that prevents the car wheels from locking up while driving or when there is a need to brake suddenly.

The ABS control module controls the anti-lock braking system and ensures safety while driving. It is the heart of the anti-lock braking system. It controls the brake pressure and speed of the wheels.

Although the ABS control module does not get faulty very often, when it does it becomes too risky to drive.

A faulty ABS control module makes a driver vulnerable to accidents and will lead to expensive damages. This component is one of the most vital and needs urgent response when it begins to develop faults.

A faulty ABS module will exhibit some symptoms and it is important to respond to it as soon as it appears.

A Close Look at the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)

The anti-lock braking system is a feature in modern cars, designed to protect the wheel from locking when you want to brake, by regulating brake fluid pressure.

The ABS is an important part of the electronic stability control (ESC) system that prevents skidding or hydroplaning even when brakes are not applied while driving.

The anti-lock braking system is made up of components like the ABS sensor, ABS control module, and ABS modulator. All these components work together to ensure safety on the road during heavy braking.

These components provide information that is used to determine the amount of brake pressure and fluid that should be applied on each wheel.

The wheel speed sensor, a component of the ABS, provides information on the speed of each wheel. The control module then uses this information to slow down all four wheels evenly to prevent your tire from sliding or skidding when you brake.

The ABS works well when driving on a tarred road. They do not work effectively when you are driving on gravel or ice. It is therefore important to slow down when driving in situations like these.

The Anti-lock Braking System Control Module and How it Works

The ABS module controls the whole anti-lock braking system and is usually described as the brain of the system. Its role is to receive data from the ABS sensor and use such data to control brake pressure through the brake ABS modulator.

The wheel speed sensor updates the ABS control module on the speed of the wheels on each tire. This sensor constantly monitors how fast your wheel is moving to decide how much brake fluid should be pumped in at that time. They work together with the hydraulic valves and make it possible to steer during a sudden or difficult braking situation.

The ABS module will pump fluid through the hydraulic valves into some of the wheels when the brake pedal is pressed to prevent a wheel lock.

The module directs fluid into the wheels with insufficient fluid quantity to make it even and ensure braking is smooth. During quick braking, the ABS control module will help slow down the speed of your tire with the aid of the hydraulic pumps to prevent accidents.

The ABS can pump fluid through the hydraulic pump and valves. These components send brake fluid into the brake lines of each wheel. The valves release pressurized brake fluids into the wheel brake lines to prevent your wheels from locking up, which can restrict you from steering your car.

When the ABS sensor detects a wheel moving slower than others when braking, it will direct more pressurized brake fluid to that wheel to ensure the tire regains its grip on the road.

Functions of the ABS Control Module

The main function of the ABS control module is to prevent the wheel from locking up when you are driving or want to brake. It prevents the wheels from skidding or sliding and pulls you out of difficult situations.

The ABS control module runs a diagnosis on other components of the anti-brake system and uses these data to ascertain when to release brake pressure or fluid on a wheel that is about to lock up.

The ABS control module also regulates some components of the car like the ESC system and some driver assistance systems like automatic emergency braking and hill assistance to make driving smooth and safe.

Symptoms of a faulty ABS Control Module

Anti-lock Brake System light comes on 

Modern vehicles are equipped with the ABS dashboard light that illuminates when there is a problem with the system.

For older vehicle models, such problems will trigger the check engine light due to the unavailability of the ABS light. Once the light comes on, the entire anti-lock brake system might stop working.

Increased effort when braking

Before the brake pedal becomes unresponsive, it must have shown some signs of resistance when you press it.

A faulty ABS control module will make braking difficult and will require more effort before you can stop the vehicle. A functional ABS will require just a little effort to brake, but when it develops faults, braking becomes tedious.

Wheel lock

One major function of the ABS control module is preventing the wheels from locking up by directing fluid to the wheels when required.

As such, if the wheels begin to lock up when you slam on the brakes, it indicates there’s a problem with the component.

The brake pedal fails to respond

A faulty ABS control module is one reason for an unresponsive brake pedal.

In this situation, you might have to press the brake pedal severally before you can stop your car. This scenario can be very dangerous, which is why you must resolve any ABS issue once you notice them.

Loss of traction

A faulty ABS module can make your car lose grip on the road. When the sensors in the ABS detect that one set of the brake is working harder than the others, the control module will direct more fluid to those brakes. However, a faulty ABS control module might instead send fluid and pressure to the brakes that are not working too hard. Too much brake pressure on one set of wheels and not enough on the other will make you lose control of the vehicle.

Failure of the speedometer

A faulty ABS module can affect the operation of the speedometer.

The speedometer will begin to give inaccurate readings, or the needle might just rest at 0 MPH.

Anti-lock Brake System Control Module Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing the ABS control module varies depending on the model and make of your vehicle.

The control module will cost between $150 and $900 while labor will cost between $100 and $600. You may choose to carry out the replacement on your own if you have the required tools.

How to test and troubleshoot the Anti-lock Control Module

To test and troubleshoot the ABS control module, you need to follow some steps.

  1. Park your car in a good position and ensure all wheels are leveled.
  1. Locate the ABS unit and conduct a test on the fuse, wheel sensor, stator ring, and computer. All electrical systems require a fuse to regulate electric current and prevent electrical surges. You can test the fuse with a multimeter to detect any fault.
  1. Clean up the sensor if there is dirt or carbon built on it to remove contaminants.
  1. Check the stator ring for damages. If there is a problem with it, it should be replaced.
  1. After assessing the above components and nothing changes, scan the car to see if you can pull out error codes that will help solve the problem. You can do this with a diagnostic scan tool.
  1. If you detect any fault, you should clean up some components where necessary and replace others where cleaning doesn’t work.
  1. Turn on your car to see if the ABS dashboard light still shows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the ABS Control Module located?

In most vehicle models, the ABS control module can be found on the hydraulic control unit in the engine compartment of the vehicle. In a few models, it can be found in the driver’s side frame rail. The location of the ABS control module varies from vehicle to vehicle, you can always reference the service manual to know the location in your car model. The unit can also be bolted to a solenoid block, or found under plastic panels, or covers in the vehicle

Is the ABS Module repairable?

Yes! The ABS control module is repairable, but this is usually not the best option. It is best to replace them. Sometimes, repairing them will cost more than a replacement. You need to test it to know the magnitude of the problem before deciding if it needs repair or replacement.

Can I drive with a bad ABS Control Module?

No! A bad ABS control module will cause several problems that will put you and other road users in a dangerous situation. A bad ABS control module will affect braking power, increase braking effort, and cause unexpected braking.

How can I reset My ABS Control Module?

To reset the control module in older vehicle models, you might need to disconnect the car battery for some minutes and then reconnect it. This will refresh the system by clearing all error codes. For newer car models, you will need the OBD-II scanner to reset the ABS control module.

How long will the ABS Control Module Last?

The ABS control module is usually designed to last the lifespan of a vehicle. However, this may not always be possible but may last for at least 10 years due to factors like driving conditions and habits, frequency of usage, and quality of the product.

What causes the ABS Control Module to fail?

The ABS control module can fail due to contamination by debris, corrosion, or damaged wiring. Software glitches or normal wear and tear will also make the ABS control module fail.