In this guide, we explain what it means when your Chevrolet Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) light stays on, go over common problems and what you can do to troubleshoot this problem.
What does it mean when Chevy ABS light stays on?
When your Chevrolet ABS light stays on while driving, it could mean that the anti-lock brake system (ABS) is malfunctioning and a fault code is stored in the ABS module.
Your vehicle may require a longer distance to stop.
If your vehicle is equipped with traction control, that system will be disabled as well since it depends on the ABS system to function.
One of the most common problems that trigger Chevy ABS light is a bad ABS wheel speed sensor at one of the wheels.
Common symptoms that you notice when there is a problem with the ABS system on a Chevrolet.
- ABS light stays on
- Brake light on
- The vehicle requires longer distance to stop
- Service traction control message
If your Chevrolet ABS light stays on, it may take longer to bring the car to a complete stop especially on slippery roads.
With no ABS system, Chevrolet wheels can potentially lock up during braking.
- Bad ABS wheel speed sensor,
- Defective steering angle sensor,
- Damaged wire harness
- Faulty brake light switch
- Defective ABS module or pump
- Poor ground connection
- Low brake fluid level
Any of these problems can trigger Chevrolet ABS light to stay on. To further troubleshoot this problem use a diagnostic scanner to read the fault codes from the ABS module.
How to Diagnose Chevy ABS Light
When a Chevy ABS light stays ON, a fault code will be stored in your Chevrolet ABS module. To find out why your Chevrolet ABS light is on, read the fault codes form the ABS module.
To diagnose Chevrolet ABS light(s) you will need an ABS OBD-II scanner for Chevy.
- Park your Chevrolet on a safe area where you can work.
- Locate the Chevrolet OBD-2 port under the dashboard. Plug OBD-2 scanner into the OBD2 port of your Chevrolet
- Turn on the ignition. All Chevrolet dashboard lights should turn on but do not start the engine. If your Chevrolet has START/STOP button, press it twice without pressing on the brake pedal.
Allow your Chevrolet OBD-2 scanner to connect to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). This may take a few seconds.
Select Chevrolet from the menu. Manually select the Anti-lock Brake System menu. Chevrolet > Model > ABS module.
- Read codes from the ABS module.
This is a procedure that can be performed by your Chevrolet dealer, the local auto mechanic. You can also read Chevrolet ABS codes yourself if you have the right OBD-II scanner.
If you use a basic scanner that can not access the ABS module you will retrieve no fault codes even though the ABS light is on. That's because the fault codes are stored in the ABS module and therefore yo need an OBD-II ABS scanner. Your scanner is most likely only reading codes from the ENGINE module and not the ABS module.
Clear Chevrolet ABS Codes
- Once you fix your Chevrolet ABS problem, you can come back and clear the ABS Fault Codes.
- If your scanner cannot communicate with the ABS module, it is possible that the ABS module is defective and it needs to either be replaced which can be an expensive repair or use a third party that can rebuild your ABS unit.
Keep in mind that you can't reset the ABS light on your Chevrolet until you fix the problem that triggered the ABS light.
Rember to check the brake fluid level. If the level is below the MIN mark add ONLY the brake fluid type noted on the brake fluid cap. Typically it will be DOT 4 Brake Fluid but check the cap in your Chevrolet to verify.
This guide will allow you to read ABS codes from Chevy vehicles such as Spark, Sonic, Bolt, Volt, Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Camaro, Corvette, City Express, Trax, Equinox, Traverse, Tahoe, Suburban, Colorado, Silverado, Sonic, Blazer, Astro, HHR, Uplander, Avalanche, etc.