Volvo Anti-lock Bake System (ABS) may malfunction which results in ABS to stay on and Anti-skid Service Required warning message to pop up on the dashboard. In addition Traction Control (Anti Skid) light may also come on.

In this guide, you will learn about common problems that trigger Volvo ABS light and how to diagnose the ABS light yourself. 

What does Volvo ABS Anti Skid Service Required Mean?

volvo abs anti skid warning message

Volvo warning message ABS Anti-skid service required displays on the instrument cluster when the ABS system malfunctions.

Volvo anti-lock brake system (ABS) light will come on when the ABS module detects a problem with the ABS pump, ABS wheel speed sensors, steering angle sensor or the ABS control module.

Your wheels may lock up during braking and lose tractive contact with the road. The vehicle may skid and require a longer distance to stop during hard braking situations.

If your Volvo has traction or stability control, those systems get disabled as well since they depend on the ABS to function properly. If you continue to drive with the ABS light on, the check engine light may come on as well, the car may even go into limp mode or even stall while driving.

 

Symptoms

In addition to the ABS light, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms.

  • ABS Service Required
  • Brake light on
  • Anti-skid disabled
  • Traction light on, STC light on
  • Traction Off
  • Check engine light
  • Car shuts off unexpectedly
  • Odometer shows ------ mileage
  • Cruise control stops working
  • Transmission shift light
  • Brake failure, stop asap
  • Speedometer works intermittently
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Anti Skid Temporarily Off

Many of these symptoms are intermittent. You may experience these problems more frequently if the weather is extremely hot, humid or are driving on a bumpy road. They often disappear when the car is restarted. Some of these symptoms are caused by a defective Central Electronic Module.

Common Causes

  • Damaged ABS Wheel speed sensors,
  • Faulty ABS pump, motor, module
  • Steering angle sensor faulty
  • Wiring short
  • Central Electronic Module (CEM) defective
  • Low battery voltage

To find out why your Volvo ABS light is on, you will need to read fault codes from the ABS module. See the instructions in the next section. 

Soft Reset Volvo ABS 

restart volvo to reset abs warning light

Park the car in a safe spot. Turn off the ignition. Wait 15 seconds and restart the car.

In many cases, a soft reset will turn off Volvo ABS light.

If the ABS light comes back on, have your Volvo diagnosed as the problem will eventually return.

How to Diagnose Volvo ABS Light

 

The next step is to use a scanner such as iCarsoft for Volvo or Launch Creader that can read Volvo ABS module fault codes. Generic OBD2 scanners are not able to read Volvo ABS codes. Use a Volvo specific scanner.

Troubleshooting Steps

Volvo ABS warning light on the instrument cluster should go out after starting the engine, indicating the system is okay. If the light stays on after starting the engine, it is an indication that there is a malfunction.

ABS Module

Volvo ABS units have a very high failure rate due to faulty solder joints.

volvo abs pump issues pump and module removed from S60

When the ABS module fails, in addition to the ABS light, the traction control light may come on as well. Once the ABS module fails due to broken joints then it loses communication with the ABS pump, wheel speed sensors, and other modules.

A fault code is stored in the ABS module that describes what triggered the ABS error. You can use an iCarsoft for Volvo to diagnose the Volvo ABS module. Keep in mind you can't use a generic OBD2 scanner to diagnose Volvo ABS problems. You can use any Volvo scanner that can read ABS module fault codes.

ABS module failure on Volvo vehicles such as XC70, V70, S60, S40, V40, V50, XC60, XC90, S60, S70, S80, C30, XC90 is quite common.

If you get a fault code for the high-pressure ABS pump or for a defective wheel speed sensor the issue may be the ABS module itself and not those components.

Common Volvo ABS Fault Codes

  • ECM-A02B Communication, the control module for ABS-faulty signal
  • CEM-1A5F Communication with ABS control module Signal missing
  • ABS-0070 Pump motor faulty signal
  • ABS-0080 Control Module faulty signal
  • ABS - 0115 Communication between control modules

Quite often mechanics who do not have experience working on Volvo vehicles may misdiagnose the problem. For example, they replace the ABS wheel speed sensor because the fault says a bad sensor. Replacing the ABS wheel speed sensor may not fix the problem because the issue is with the connections inside the ABS module.

Check Fuses

check volvo fuses

The first step is to check the fuses for the ABS module. You don't need any special tools for this. Locate the fuse panel on the engine bay and side of the dashboard. Look at the chart for the fuse for ABS.

If the fuse is blown, replace the fuse.

ABS Relay

defective abs relay triggers abs warning message

Inspect the ABS relay typically located in the fuse box in the engine bay. It is difficult to visually verify if the relay is working properly. Replace the ABS relay with a working relay.

Wheel Speed Sensor

When you read the ABS codes with a Volvo scanner you may get a fault code for faulty wheel sensor signal circuit fault. The first step would be to remove one wheel at a time and check your wheel speed sensors for dirt or debris.

Next, you will need to replace the ABS sensor. If the ABS light stays on after you replace the wheel ABS sensor, clear the fault codes from the ABS module. If you are not able to clear the ABS fault codes, the most likely issue is a defective ABS module.

Brake Fluid Level

volvo brake fluid reservoir low brake fluid can trigger brake light

Low brake fluid level will trigger the brake light to come on and a warning message. Check the brake fluid level as soon as possible. Have your car diagnosed ASAP if you keep loose brake fluid.

Your car should not lose any brake fluid. If you are losing brake fluid you have an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

How to fix Volvo ABS module?

volvo abs pump

There are a couple of ways to fix Volvo ABS module problems.

  1. You can have the Volvo dealer replace the ABS module which costs $1000+. The average cost for the Volvo ABS module repair at the dealer ranges between $1500-$2000.
  2. A cheaper alternative is to remove the module and send it to a specialist that offers Volvo ABS Module Repair. The specialist will disassemble the ABS module and repair the broken connections.

Replacing the module with a used unit works on older models. On newer Volvo models used modules no longer work due to the fact that the VIN number needs to be codded into the module itself and match that of the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I continue to drive my Volvo is the ABS light is on?

When the anti-lock brake system fails, the brakes will still operate normally but without ABS. The wheels may lock up if you slam on the brakes during an emergency stopping situation. If your Volvo is equipped with traction control, that system will also be disabled. You can continue to drive with extra caution. Get your Volvo diagnosed as soon as possible.

Where is the Volvo ABS module located?

Abs Module is located on the left side of the engine compartment under the ABS pump. It has torx bolts but it can also be removed a 4mm socket.

Can I drive my car with no ABS module?

Most models, yes. We do not recommend it. ABS module can be removed and the pump left in place thus allowing the vehicle to be driven with normal brakes but no ABS..

Does Volvo make their own ABS module?

Volvo does not make its own ABS Control Module. They ate in most cases made by Bosch or ATE.

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Thank you! 

Visitor
Member since 2020-07

Had both (abs and anti-skid) lights/warnings come on my 2005 XC90 2,5t awd after driving through standing water. Caused hesitation at 20 mph...only a minor annoyance for a while, then began taking longer and longer for throttle to "kick in", until I found myself cruising around a parking lot for almost 10 minutes. Disconnected battery, checked fuses. In engine compartment, numbers 14 and 19 control abs. Removed 19 and warning went to brake failure stop immediately along with red lights. Then removed 14 and still got both warning messages, but anti skid icon went off (abs still on yellow) but no hesitation! Have been driving for a few hundred miles now with no obvious bad effect. I know that abs system is compromised, but car still brakes fine, though I haven't had emergency situation. I THINK I am content with this "new normal" as opposed to paying thousands of dollars to fix the module.

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Visitor
Member since 2020-07

Have a similar problem with my 2005 XC90. Warning lights are as stated above, plus the ABS sometimes tries to work with one pulse per wheel revolution (hence jerky braking). This problem can usually be fixed by re-applying the brakes. If I remove both ABS fuses, the brakes work fine except no ABS and the warning lights are still illuminated. Strangely under these conditions the odometer no longer works! I wonder if your water incident affected the sensors, not the ABS module, which most analysts seem to suspect? One (of two) mechanics I consulted, suspected degradation of the wheel "cogs" which provide the wheel motion information - still an expensive replacement. Every "real" fix seems to cost $1,000+ so I'm with you on accepting no ABS. It would be nice to disable the warning lights and get the other display functions back though. Any other tips will be welcomed.

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