how long can you drive with abs light on, driving car

How Long Can You Drive with ABS Light On?

As I was driving down the road one rainy day, I noticed that the ABS light on my dashboard had turned on. I wonder: how long could I safely drive with the ABS light on?

As long as your regular brake still functions, you can drive for any length of time. Of course, you’ll need to drive more cautiously because your ABS won’t work in an emergency.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, then this article is for you. In the following pages, I’ll share my research on the topic to help you understand the risks and consequences of driving with the ABS light on.

How Do I Respond When the ABS Light Comes On?

ABS light, speedometer

If you have ever noticed a warning light on your car’s dashboard, you might have wondered what it meant and if it’s safe to drive. One common warning light that drivers often encounter is the ABS light.

What is ABS?

ABS stands for Anti-Lock Braking System, and it’s a safety feature that helps prevent the wheels from locking up during sudden stops or on slippery roads. Your automobile continuously checks various sensors while you are driving to make sure everything is operating as it should. An anti-lock braking system, or ABS, is one of the systems that are monitored.

Components of Anti-lock Braking System

The ABS is made up of several components, including:

ABS Control Module: The Brain of the ABS. It keeps an eye on the speed sensors and decides when to turn them on or off the system.

Wheel Speed Sensors: These sensors, which are placed at each wheel, measure the rotational speed of the wheels.

Hydraulic Pump: During hard braking, the hydraulic pump produces the hydraulic pressure that is required to activate the ABS.

Hydraulic Valves: To enable the ABS to modify the brake pressure during hard braking, hydraulic valves regulate the supply of brake fluid to the brakes.

Brake Lines: The brake fluid travels along these lines from the master cylinder to the brake calipers.

Brake Calipers: To slow down or stop the car, the brake calipers squeeze the brake rotors while holding the brake pads in place.

Brake Pads: The friction required to slow down or stop the car is provided by the brake pads. They are located inside the brake calipers.

Can You Still Drive Your Car with ABS Light?

ABS braking, with ABS without ABS

You can still drive the car, but you should do so carefully and get it looked at as soon as possible. When the ABS light comes on, it means that there is a problem with the system and it’s not functioning correctly.

While you can still stop the car using the brakes, the ABS won’t be there to help you in case of an emergency.

This could lead to longer stopping distances and difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle during sudden stops or on slippery roads. Your car is the same as a vehicle without ABS.

Causes Of ABS Light Coming On

Here are the main causes of the ABS light and their fixes:

   Cause           Solution
Low brake fluidAdd brake fluid to the master cylinder until it is above the low level
Faulty wheel speed sensorClean the sensor to make it free from dust and debris
Replace the sensor
Blown ABS fuseYou should replace a fuse with the same amperage
Corroded wiringInspect and repair damaged wires (Not recommended)
Replace the damaged wires
Failed ABS pumpInspect the valves and replace them if damaged
Repair the pump
Replace the motor
Problematic ABS moduleReprogram the module
Replace a module suitable for your vehicle

Risks of Driving with the ABS Light On

ABS light being on means your anti-lock braking system is disabled. Then you lose all benefits of ABS.

Increase stopping distances: Anti-lock brakes reduce braking distances as the wheel does not waste distance skidding.

Difficult to stop on a wet surface: ABS avoids wheel lockup and hence allows surefooted braking on wet, sleety surfaces.

Cannot steer under braking: Anti-lock brakes allow you to steer your car around objects, if any, as you still have grip on the wheels under intense braking. When it is disabled, the vehicle slides if you steer while braking.


Is it okay to replace the ABS fuse with one of higher amperage?

Physically, you can. The problem is that people will put anything that fits in the fuse holder in place of a fuse. Should you?

Definitely Not. The original fuse continues blowing because the circuit draws too much current. If you replace it with a higher amperage fuse, the components in that circuit may be destroyed. In addition, changing a fuse with a higher amperage fuse is an invitation to fire, so don’t do it.

How long is it safe to drive with the brake light on?

If the reason for the brake light is worn-out brake pads, you can drive nearly 1000 miles before replacing them. But it is not recommended to drive with the brake light on. It is dangerous because the brake light indicates a problem in your braking system. Get your car to a technician.

Does ABS affect brake pressure?

Yes, it automatically lowers the braking pressure on this wheel by opening a pressure release valve in the hydraulic system if the ABS notices that one wheel is slowing down more quickly than the others (a sign of wheel lock). The hydraulic motor is another tool that ABS might use to regain pressure.

Will ABS brakes activate in reverse?

Yeah, they will stop you from sliding no matter which way you’re moving. At any speed over 8mph, ABS activates. So, you will not feel the ABS pulse at lower speeds. Question for you: Why are you moving quickly enough in reverse to engage ABS?


I hope this makes sense in terms of the distance you can drive with the ABS light on. While you can drive your car with the ABS light on, it’s not recommended to do so for an extended period. You should get your car inspected and repaired by a qualified technician as soon as possible to ensure that all safety features are functioning correctly.

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