Troubleshooting  Buick ABS Warning Light

Troubleshooting Buick ABS Warning Light

DIY Cost: $95-$185
Est. Time: 15 min - 2 hr
Difficulty: Intermediate

If the Buick ABS and Traction lights stay on, it means the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) has detected a problem. In most cases, the problem is caused by a bad wheel speed sensor.

With the ABS light on, the wheels may lock up during emergency braking, resulting in the vehicle skidding. Your car may require a longer distance for braking or even lose traction when going around sharp curves.

Buick EBCM problems disable both the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Traction System (TCS). Buick ABS problems can be diagnosed with an ABS scanner



Buick ABS Light On

Common symptoms you will notice when your Buick ABS fails:

  • ABS light stays on
  • Trac Off warning
  • Wheels lock up under hard braking
  • Brake light on
  • Service Traction Control System light on
  • Service Stabilitrak light on

Even though the vehicle may operate, get the ABS diagnosed as soon as possible.

In addition to the warning lights, you may also hear a brief and intermittent noise, click, grinding, or ABS pump motor noises from the vehicle's inside at parking lot speeds when braking.

You may also notice a Service Message displaying in the Driver Information Center (DIC).

What to do when Buick ABS, BRAKE, TRAC light come on

buick brake fluid level

The first thing that you should do is to pull over and check the brake fluid level safely.

Open the hood by pulling the hood release under the hood. Next, locate the brake reservoir on the driver's side of the engine.

Buick ABS trac off light triggered by low brake fluid level

Look at the side of the reservoir for Min and Max marks. Verify the brake fluid level is between Min and Max marks.

Do not operate the vehicle if the brake fluid level is below the MIN mark.

If the brake fluid level is within the recommended range, continue to the next step to diagnose the problem with an ABS scanner.

How to Diagnose and Reset Buick ABS Light

To reset the Buick ABS light, you will need to read the codes with an ABS scanner and fix the problem. Then follow the steps below to reset the Buick ABS light. 

  1. Park your vehicle and turn off the engine.Buick off
  2. Connect the scanner to the diagnostic port under the dashboard.OBD 2 port
  3. Turn on the ignition. You don't need to start the engine.Buick ABS scanner
  4. Turn on the scanner. Select Buick from the main menu. Select the ABS under Control Units. Read Fault Codes to find out why your ABS light is on.
  5. Fix the problem found in step four. In most cases, the problem will be a bad ABS wheel speed sensor. Replace the ABS wheel speed sensor that is faulty, then come to the main menu and select Clear Fault codes. This will reset the ABS light on your Buick. 

If you use a generic OBD-II scanner, you may not get any codes at all. When you use an ABS scanner, you will get fault codes such as:

  • C1214 pointing to the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) failure.
  • C0035 Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
  • C0040 Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
  • C0045 Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
  • C0050 Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Plausibility Failure

What causes the ABS light on a Buick? 

abs wheel speed sensor buick

One of the most common problems that trigger Buick ABS and traction problems is a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor or debris at the sensor's tip.

A list of possible problems that cause Buick ABS and traction control problems.

  • ABS Wheel Speed Sensor - The ABS sensor is mounted at each wheel hub. In some models, the ABS sensor is integrated into the wheel hub. Dirt at the tip of the sensor can also trigger the ABS light.
  • Steering angle sensor - The steering angle sensor is mounted on the steering column, below the steering wheel. It can fail, which triggers the ABS and traction control lights because the EDC module does not know the steering wheel's position.
  • Damaged wiring harness - The wire harness that goes to the ABS module or wheel speed sensors may get damaged. The wires can get corroded or may also get damaged in an accident.
  • Faulty ABS pump - ABS pump itself can fail. Contacts inside the circuit board break, or the brushes for the ABS motor may wear out. You can remove the old ABS pump and ship it to a vendor that offers the ABS module rebuilt service. Technicians can repair your old unit, which is a lot cheaper than replacing the ABS module.
  • Brake light switch - A faulty brake light switch can trigger the vehicle to turn on the ABS light or prevent the transmission from coming out of Park.
  • Bad relay - A faulty ABS module relay can get stuck or stop working.
  • Low brake fluid - Low brake fluid can trigger the Brake light and, in some cases, the ABS light.
  • Poor ground connection - Poor ground connection between the engine and the ABS module can trigger the ABS light.
  • Low battery voltage - On newer Buick vehicles, the ABS light may come on if the battery dies. The ABS and traction control warnings should reset after you drive the vehicle for a couple of minutes.
  • Dirt or debris on the ABS sensor tip - Dirt can accumulate at the ABS wheel speed sensor's tip. This condition can prevent the ABS sensor from recording the correct wheel speed.

To find out why your Buick ABS light is on, you need to read the ABS module's fault codes.

You can't use a generic scanner to retrieve ABS codes. You will need a scanner that works on Buick and can diagnose the ABS modules, such as Foxwell for GM Buick or Autel All System Scanner.

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