can low battery cause abs light to come on, car battery, multimeter

Can Low battery cause ABS Light to Come On?

If you rarely drive your car or the car has an old battery, you might have experienced the ABS light coming on. Then you think “can low battery cause ABS light to come on?”

Yes, it is. These are the reasons.

  1. ABS control module malfunctions due to low voltage.
  2. Electrical power loss results in the dash gauges going wrong.

In this article, we’ll explore how a low battery can trigger the ABS light and what you can do to fix the problem. 

Battery’s Role in a Vehicle

12V car battery

The battery in your car provides electrical power to start the engine and run various components, such as the lights, radio, and air conditioning. The alternator then takes over and provides power to keep the battery charged and run the electrical systems.

How Does Low Battery Affect ABS?

Every main component in the antilock braking system uses electric power to function. When the battery voltage drops below a certain level, it can affect the electrical components in the vehicle, including the ABS.

Alternator vs Low Battery Power

If the battery is low, it can affect the alternator’s ability to provide power to the electrical components in the vehicle, including the ABS. Then the ABS light comes on.

Check the Car Battery and Alternator


To find the root of the problem, you should have the battery and voltage regulator checked. The voltage regulator is responsible for regulating the charging voltage that the alternator produces.

If the regulator is not functioning correctly, it can cause the alternator to provide insufficient power to the electrical components.

How to Diagnose the Problem

First, you need to check whether your car battery is still rechargeable or has become dead (a voltage below 10.5 is considered permanently dead as it cannot be recharged)

Test the Battery

VoltageState of Charge

Tools needed: Voltmeter (or Multimeter) only

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Turn on your headlights for two minutes. This will discharge any surface charge that the battery may have.

Step 2: Set your voltmeter to 20 volts or above.

Step 3: Connect the positive and negative leads to the corresponding terminals on the battery. (Multimeter’s black lead to the black battery terminal, and the red lead to the red battery terminal)

Step 4: Verify the voltmeter’s voltage reading. Around 12.6 volts should be displayed on a healthy battery. If it is below 10.5, as it is completely dead and may not be rechargeable any longer. If so, you have to replace the battery

Typically, modern batteries come with a 4-year warranty. However, only 30% of batteries are capable of that. 

Test Alternator Regulator

 If the battery is good, next we have to check the alternator regulator.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Prepare your Vehicle

First, ensure that your vehicle is in park or neutral and that the emergency brake is engaged. This will prevent the vehicle from moving while you test the regulator.

Step 2: Set the Multimeter to Voltage

Ensure that your multimeter is set to the voltage setting, often denoted by the symbol ∆V or a V with a few lines above it. Set it to 20V. It is unsafe to test an alternator regulator with your multimeter on the Ohm or Amp setting, as it may damage the device.

Step 3: Connect the Multimeter to Your Battery

With your vehicle off, connect the multimeter’s black lead to the black (negative) battery terminal and the red lead to the red (positive) battery terminal.

 Step 4: Start the Engine

With the multimeter still connected to the battery, start your vehicle’s engine.

Turn off all electrical accessories, such as the headlights, radio, and air conditioning, as they can interfere with the test results.

While the car is sitting idle, the voltage reading should rise to about 13.8V. Your vehicle’s alternator cannot be the source of your electrical problems if your multimeter reads 13.8V. 13.8V indicates that everything is in working order and the alternator is properly charging your battery. 

Step 6: Check the Alternator Output

To check the alternator output, you need to measure the voltage at the alternator’s output terminal. This is the terminal that connects to the battery.

With the engine running, touch the multimeter’s red lead to the alternator’s output terminal and the black lead to a ground source, such as the engine block. The voltage reading should be around 13.5–14.5 volts.

If the reading is significantly lower or higher, it indicates a problem with the alternator, which may need to be repaired or replaced.

 Step 7: Check the Alternator’s Charging System

To check the alternator’s charging system, turn on the car’s headlights and other electrical accessories while the engine is running.

If the alternator is working correctly, the voltage reading should remain steady between 13.5 and 14.5 volts, even with the added load of the electrical accessories. If the voltage drops significantly or fluctuates, it suggests a problem with the alternator or the charging system

If you need further help with this task, check out this video.

Note: To protect the electrical parts of the car, the voltage regulator maintains the charging voltage between 13.5 and 14.5 volts.

If the voltage drops below 13.5 volts, the regulator starts charging and injects current into the field of the alternator. The regulator stops supplying voltage and the alternator stops charging if the voltage rises above 14.5 volts. 

 Alternator works perfectly? Then the reason for the ABS light might not be the battery or regulator.

The Most Regular Causes of an On ABS Light

The ABS light comes on to notify you that there is a problem with ABS. Most of the time, ABS is not working when the light comes on.

Here is the list of reasons to expect the ABS light to come on other than low battery voltage or electrical issues:

  1. Faulty wheel speed sensors
  2. Broken ABS module
  3. Low brake fluid
  4. Bad brake master cylinder
  5. Blown fuses
  6. Damaged or broken brake lines
  7. Failed brake booster
  8. Malfunctioning ABS pump
  9. Faulty brake pads or rotors

Sometimes the ABS indicator light might also come on if your brake light is broken or burned out.


Can you safely drive a car with the ABS light on?

You can safely drive your car to your destination because your regular brakes will still function. But you will need to assert more caution because your ABS won’t function in an emergency.

What issues might faulty ABS cause?

If the ABS is malfunctioning, your car is more likely to hydroplane, skid, and lose traction when braking hard. So, it is better if you fix ABS.

Why does ABS make noise?

A faulty hub assembly or a faulty wheel speed sensor are the most likely causes of this problem. A dry spot in your wheel bearing or simply the buzz typically made by the pistons inside the ABS pump could be the cause of the grinding noise you’re hearing.

If the car battery is disconnected long enough, will it clear the codes and reset the ABS light?

Older vehicles, yes. The codes are stored in RAM, and they are cleared by power cycling. The codes are stored in FLASH memory in newer cars. The memory in USB drives is the same. That type of memory is unaffected by cycling the power.


I hope you understand how low battery cause ABS light to come on. Other than ABS problems, the battery’s low voltage can also cause other electrical problems in the vehicle, such as dimming lights, slow power windows, and a weak starter.

Regularly maintaining your car’s battery and alternator can prevent ABS light issues and other electrical system problems.

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