Can Cold Weather Cause ABS Light to Come On, cold weather, car, road, snow

Can Cold Weather Cause ABS Light to Come On

As the temperature drops and the winter season arrives, you may notice that your car’s dashboard lights up with warning signals, including the ABS light. If you’ve experienced this issue before, you may be wondering whether cold weather can trigger the ABS light to come on

Yes, cold weather causes the ABS light to come on. The low temperature mainly affects the car’s battery and tire pressure. Most of the time, it is normal, and you don’t have to take any action regarding it.

In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between cold weather and the ABS system, and how cold weather cause the ABS light to illuminate.

Take a glance at this table to get a thought.

            Reason            How to analyze                        Solution
  Low tyre pressureUse a pressure gauge to determine the tire pressure.No worries, it will be fixed automatically
If it is very low, fill some air
  Low battery powerMeasure the voltage with a multimeterUse a car battery charger to charge the battery
  Low brake fluid Check the brake fluid levelIf it is low add some
  Malfunctioning wheel sensorsCheck the surface of ABS wheel sensorClean the sensor
  Faulty ABS moduleDiagnose by using a scanning toolYou must seek out professional assistance

Let’s talk about them in detail.

Low Tire Pressure

As a general rule, tire pressure decreases by 0.07 to 0.14 bars, or 1 to 2 pounds per square inch (PSI), for every 10°C drop in temperature.

The circumference of the wheel or tire will be effectively reduced by low tire pressure. The wheel rotation counts in the ABS control will then be incorrect as a result.

How to Analyze

You can easily measure tire pressure by using a pressure gauge.

Here are the steps to do it.

  1. Place the pressure gauge on the tire valve stem after removing the dust cap.
  2. To ensure an accurate reading, evenly press down the gauge on the valve stem.
  3. Check the pressure gauge’s reading.

What is the recommended tire pressure?

When the tires are cold (here, tire cold means the vehicle has been parked for three hours or more), the recommended PSI for the majority of passenger cars is between 31 and 35. If it is below recommended levels, that may be the reason for the ABS light to come on.


In very cold weather conditions, it is normal to drop the tire pressure, as we said above. You should not be concerned because the ABS light will turn off on its own when tire pressure normalizes with temperature.  But if the tire pressure is below 30, you must take your car to a gas station and add some air.

Low Battery power

car battery power chart

Freezing weather drains your car’s battery power by 30–60%. Then battery power might not suffice for the ABS computer. The result is that the ABS indicator light goes off.

Why does cold temperature drain battery power?

The majority of batteries operate by sending electrical signals to their terminal ends through an electrochemical reaction. In colder climates, this chemical reaction takes longer to complete, reducing the power of your battery.

How to Analyze

Test the voltage with a multimeter to determine whether your battery is the source of your problems. Connect the red multimeter lead to the positive battery cable and the black multimeter lead to the negative battery cable. Your battery has a good charge if the reading is 12.45 volts or higher.


Your battery power is insufficient if it is less than 12.2V. So, bring it out and charge it using a car battery charger. If it is below 10.5, battery is dead. You have to replace the battery. 

Low brake fluid

Brake fluid may thicken and become more viscous in colder climates, slowing its flow through the ABS. This may result in a drop in fluid pressure in the system, turning on the ABS warning light.

How to Analyze

First, find the brake fluid reservoir on the master cylinder under the hood.

Then, compare the brake fluid level to the lines marked “maximum” and “minimum” on the reservoir’s exterior.


If the oil level is below the minimum level, add some brake oil. DOT4 is typically used in most vehicles, but you must check your vehicle’s handbook to learn which brake fluid you should use.

Malfunctioning wheel sensors

In colder climates, the wheel speed sensors can occasionally fail.  The sensors may send incorrect signals to the ABS, turning on the ABS warning light, if they are covered in ice or snow or are otherwise unable to detect wheel rotation.

How to Analyze

To check, you have to remove the ABS sensor.


Once the sensor is free, use a rag to clean it thoroughly. To prevent any potential issues, we prefer to avoid using any chemicals on the sensor. However, if the sensor is extremely filthy, clean it with a mild soapy solution and rinse. 

Then connect the sensor properly and check for ABS light.

Faulty ABS module

ABS modulator

Cold weather occasionally makes existing ABS modules or other ABS issues worse, which can result in a malfunction and turn on the ABS warning light.

How to Analyze

You can diagnose the issue by using a scanning tool. An ABS Scan Tool, also referred to as an OBD2 ABS Scanner, is a device that assists you in locating issues with your car’s brake system.


ABS problems such as sudden ABS power loss, incorrect wheel sensor codes, missing wheel speed sensor signals, and others can be resolved by qualified professionals. It’s crucial to seek out a reputable auto mechanic because these problems can require a variety of fixes.


What does it mean by ABS light on?

ABS stands for the antilock braking system. The ABS warning light in your car’s instrument panel indicates that the antilock braking system has been deactivated due to a problem. In some cases, such as in cold weather, it may be a false message.

Do brakes stop working when the ABS light is on?

Luckily, the brakes will still function even if the ABS warning light is illuminated and no other warning lights are on. similar to how they would on a vehicle without ABS. But in an emergency or on a slick road, the ABS will not work and will not keep the wheels from locking up.

Except for cold weather, what are the other reasons that cause the ABS light to come on?

Other than cold weather, low brake fluid, a blown fuse, a bad speed sensor, a bad hydraulic pump, a bulb check, or a bad ABS module can cause the ABS light to come on. In this situation, the ABS light will not turn off unless you correct the problem.

Are there self-diagnostics in ABS systems?

When the vehicle is driven, all ABS systems perform self-diagnostic checks to look for errors. If a problem is found, it typically sets a code and illuminates the ABS warning light to notify the driver. You need a scanning tool to read the codes and identify the issue.


In conclusion, it is important to regularly monitor tire pressure and battery power in cold weather conditions to avoid potential issues with the ABS in vehicles. Low tire pressure can cause a decrease in wheel rotation count and trigger the ABS light, while low battery power can lead to insufficient energy for the ABS computer to function properly.

By using a pressure gauge to measure tire pressure and a multimeter to test battery voltage, vehicle owners can identify and address these issues before they become more serious. You may need to get the help of a professional.

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