5 Signs and Symptoms of a Bad ABS Control Module (& Their Replacement Cost)
A properly functioning ABS control module will give you the safety and security you require on the road. If this component fails, you are at high risk for an accident.
To maintain your control, the ABS control module adjusts wheel speeds and applies brake pressure less hard if necessary.
This article will discuss the signs and symptoms of an ABS module failure, including its location, function, cost, and repair costs. Let’s begin with a quick look at the signs to look for.
- Bad ABS Control Module Signs
- ABS Control Module Function
- ABS Control Module Location
- ABS Control Module Repair Cost
- Commonly Asked Questions
Bad ABS Control Module Signs
A dashboard ABS warning lamp is the first sign of an ABS failure. Locking wheels may be seen when braking on slippery surfaces. Unresponsive, stiff brake pedals are another common sign.
This is not a complete list. Here are the top signs of an ABS module failure.
1. Locking Wheels
The ABS control module ensures that the wheels don’t lock up when traction is lost. However, as this part fails, the information needed to keep the wheels from locking isn’t accurate.
Your ABS control module may be the reason your wheels start to lock up when there is no traction. You will usually only see the issue if the ABS control module causes it. If the wheel locks up constantly, you may have a stuck brake lever.
2. ABS Warning Light
Newer vehicles have an ABS dashboard lamp that will indicate if there is a problem. The ABS control module failure is the reason the light will go out.
ABS is a light in amber that can be found on newer models. However, older models don’t have this dedicated light but might use the Check Engine Light instead.
The ABS light will turn on and the system may stop working. Even if you can drive without the ABS, you shouldn’t, as it is a vital safety feature meant to protect you.
RELATED: What does the ABS light mean & What Causes it?
3. Braking pressure is increased
The brake pedal should stop you even if you press down on it. You might find that the stopping effort is more intense.
With age, it might become more difficult to brake your vehicle. You might consider having the system checked if it seems like your legs are being worked out every time you stop.
4. Broken Brake Pedal
You want the vehicle to stop when you press the brake pedal. Bad ABS control modules can cause more difficulty in stopping.
You may notice the increase in brake effort at first. This effort may become more noticeable over time and could even lead to the loss of brake pedal function.
Low brake fluid levels can cause this problem. Make sure you do a thorough system inspection. It might be worth flushing the brake fluid system to make sure there's no water in it.
5. Inaccurate Speedometer Readings
The ABS control module can sometimes fail and the speedometer stops working normally. This isn’t a common occurrence, but one that could happen.
The speedometer may either read an incorrect speed or sit at 0 miles per hour. This is most often caused by the ABS/Check Engine light flashing.
ABS Control Module Function
ABS (antilock brake system control module) is an electronic device acting as a computer. ABS control modules process the data from ABS sensors. Next, the ABS control module processes the data, creating electronic information that ensures the system functions as intended.
This system determines what the next steps should be to protect the vehicle's safety and stability. The system also determines how much pressure is needed to stop the vehicle.
It monitors the vehicle's braking frequency, as well as the pressure of the brakes. The sensors provide information that allows it to monitor the tire rotation speed and prevent slippage.
ABS Control Module Location
Most cars have an ABS module located in the engine compartment. However, it can also be found on the driver’s side frame rail in a few models.
It may be necessary to lift the car to locate the ABS controller module. The ABS control module could be hidden under or covered by plastic panels.
It will be found bolted to the solenoid block and connected with several brake lines. Refer to your service manual if you have any questions.
ABS Control Module Repair Cost
The average cost to replace an ABS control module costs between $200 and $1500 depending on car make and labor costs. For parts and labor, the ABS control module is expected to cost $150 to $900.
If you complete the replacement yourself, labor won’t run you anything. Professional fees can cost anywhere from $80 to $300 depending on where the module is located. Because the ABS module can be fragile, many people recommend that a mechanic repair it.
Problem is, you may need special tools to reprogram or code the control unit. These diagnostic tools are not available to dealers.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do you think the ABS module can be fixed?
Although it's possible to repair the ABS control module many times, this is difficult. Sometimes, it can be more costly to repair them than to replace them. Talk to a car mechanic to find out if the ABS module is able to be fixed or replaced.
Is ABS module life span long?
ABS modules have been designed to last for at least the vehicle's lifetime. But, just like other parts, ABS can fail. The lifespan of ABS modules can be affected by many factors, such as how frequently they are used, the model of vehicle it is and the driving conditions under which it is driven. You can generally expect your ABS module to last 10 years.
How can I reset my ABS control unit?
Modern cars can only be reset by using an OBD2 scanner. Older models may only require you to unplug the battery from your car and reconnect it within a few seconds. This can often reset the system and correct any issues that have arisen.
Is it possible to drive a vehicle with an ABS module that is defective?
A bad ABS control module is dangerous. Bad ABS control modules can cause a number of problems with your car’s braking system, including reduced braking power, longer stopping distances, and sudden unexpected braking.