The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) light on your Lexus ES, GS, LS, and IS indicates a braking system malfunction. While the issue may be as simple as a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor, it could also indicate a more serious problem that could compromise the vehicle’s safety. This article will discuss the common causes of why Lexus ABS light comes on and why it’s important to resolve any issues with this system immediately.
What does the ABS light mean on a Lexus?
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is an important safety feature in vehicles that prevents the wheels from locking up during sudden braking. The ABS regulates the hydraulic braking pressure to shorten the braking distance and avoid locking up the brakes. When there is a fault within the ABS, the ABS light will turn on, signaling the driver. The ABS light is an important alert that needs immediate attention. The vehicle may skid during emergency braking if the ABS light is on. The vehicle may lose traction during sharp turns if the traction control light is on as well.
- Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Warning light On
- Traction Control System (TRAC) Warning light On
- Vehicle Stability Control System (VSC) Warning light On
- Check ABS Warning Message
- Brake Malfunction Warning Message
- Check VSC Warning Message
The most common cause of the ABS light turning on in your Lexus is the failure of one of the ABS wheel speed sensors. Use the YOUCANIC scanner to find out which ABS wheel speed sensor is faulty that needs to be replaced. This is a cheap part and is easy to replace. Other common causes are a faulty steering angle sensor, a weak battery, damaged wires, a faulty ABS module, and many more.
Damaged or Faulty ABS Wheel Speed Sensor
The ABS relies on the wheel speed sensors to detect the speed of each wheel. The ABS then uses these signals to prevent lock-up by regulating the hydraulic braking pressure during hard braking.
A faulty ABS wheel speed sensor will provide inaccurate signals to the ABS module and turn on the ABS light. Many factors can cause the wheel speed sensor to fail. The most common causes of ABS wheel speed sensor failure are damage to the sensor, wear and tear, or dirt built up on the sensor. A simple cleaning of the sensor can sometimes fix the issue.
Defective ABS Module
The ABS module is responsible for monitoring the speed of each wheel. It also controls the brake pressure during sudden braking to prevent the brakes from locking up. When there is a fault within the ABS module, the ABS light turns on, alerting the driver about the problem.
There are several causes of a defective ABS module. It includes internal components failure due to short circuits and software errors that require reprogramming the ABS module. Short circuits occur when moisture enters the module. Also, brake fluid can enter the module from an internal leak. Water and brake fluid can cause short circuits that can damage the whole module.
Linear Solenoid Valve Needs to be Initialized
If you have a brake malfunction and the Brake warning, ABS, and VSC lights are on with DTC codes C1345 – Linear Solenoid Valve Offset Learning undone and C1368 – Linear Solenoid Valve Offset. Chances are you need to have your Linear Solenoid Valve to be initialized. These codes appear when you replace the Brake actuator (Brake booster with master cylinder assembly). This applies to Lexus hybrid vehicles with Electronic Controlled Brakes (ECB).
Only learning-capable OBDII scanners, like the Techstream, are needed to perform the initialization. The YOUCANIC scanner is not capable of carrying out the task.
Here is the list of Lexus models that have ECB:
- 2006–2009 Lexus RX 400h
- 2005–2007 Lexus GS 430
- 2007–present Lexus GS 450h
- 2007–present Lexus LS 460
- 2008–present Lexus LS 600h
- 2008–2010 Lexus GS 460
- 2010–present Lexus RX 450h
- 2011 Lexus LFA
Steering Angle Sensor Malfunction
The steering angle sensor informs the ABS module about the direction of turn of the vehicle. The ABS module needs this to properly and accurately regulate the braking pressure. A malfunctioning steering angle sensor can cause issues with the ABS, including turning on the ABS warning light.
Several potential causes of a malfunctioning steering angle sensor include physical damage due to an impact, calibration issues, and incorrect installation or sensor replacement. When you had your battery recently changed, and the ABS light turns on, The steering angle sensor might be recalibrated.
Low Voltage Battery
The ABS module must have a constant, steady voltage supply to function properly. A weak battery cannot supply the needed battery power to the entire ABS. This can lead to the ABS not functioning properly and the ABS light turning on. It is important to check your battery’s health to prevent driving problems.
Damaged Wires and Connectors
The wires and connectors of the ABS are located under the vehicle. It can be easily damaged by dirt, debris, or it can rub onto the wheels. A damaged wire can transmit incorrect data that can be detected by the ABS module, thus turning on the ABS light.
Several causes can damage the wires. First is the debris from the road. It can damage and cut exposed wires under the vehicle. Second is the animal chewing off the wires. It is a common problem, especially with pet owners. Animals like dogs and rodents like to chew the wires off, causing the problem.
A blown fuse can disconnect the entire anti-lock brake system (ABS) from the battery. This safety feature protects the ABS from a power surge that can ruin the ABS control module. When the ABS fuse blows, it disrupts the connection from the battery to the entire ABS, turning the ABS light on. It is important to locate the problem to avoid blowing a new fuse.
Low Brake Fluid Level
A low brake fluid level can cause a low braking pressure and insufficient brake fluid used by the brake system. If the brake fluid level falls below a certain level, it can make the brakes less effective and allow air inside the brake lines. This can result in poor braking performance and the ABS not working during sudden braking, turning the ABS light on.
In 2015, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. announced a recall of certain Lexus vehicles due to a potential issue with the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) module. The recall affected approximately 423,000 vehicles in the United States.
The affected models were:
- 2007-2011 Lexus GS350
- 2006-2011 Lexus IS350
- 2010-2011 Lexus IS350C
- 2007-2011 Lexus GS450h
- 2006-2011 Lexus IS250
- 2010-2011 Lexus IS250C
- 2006-2011 Lexus IS350C
- 2008-2010 Lexus LS460
- 2008-2010 Lexus LS600h
- 2008-2010 Lexus LS460L
It is encouraged to contact the Lexus service center if your vehicle is affected by the recall. To check if your vehicle is affected, click here.
Troubleshooting & Reset Procedure
To troubleshoot Lexus ABS, traction control., stability control, and other dashboard warning lights, you will need to use a full system scanner such as a YOUCANIC scanner and run a full vehicle health check. This will show any fault codes that are active and the reason why those warning lights are staying on.
- Locate the OBD II port under the dash of your vehicle. It is usually located near the driver’s side and is a 16-pin connector.
- Plug in the scanner and turn on the ignition, but do not start the engine.
- Select the make of your vehicle from the list of available makes. You can select “Auto Detect VIN” to automatically detect your vehicle’s make and model.
- Select “Control Units,” then “ABS/Traction Control Module.” Remember that the name of this module may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
- Once the scanner is on, select “Diagnostics” from the main menu.
- Once you have selected the ABS/Traction Control Module, you can select “Read Codes” to see any stored trouble codes related to the ABS. The scanner will display the current codes, which will help you determine what may be causing the ABS and traction control warnings to turn on.
- Based on the codes, the scanner may suggest performing further tests or inspecting certain components of the ABS, such as the wheel speed sensors, brake lines, and hydraulic control unit.
- Once the underlying issue has been fixed, then select Clear Codes to clear fault codes stored in the ABS control unit and reset ABS and traction control warning lights.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if the ABS light stays on?
When the ABS light remains illuminated, it means that the ABS system is currently disabled, and the vehicle is operating without the benefits of ABS. In such cases, the standard braking system will still function, but the wheels may lock up under hard braking or slippery surfaces, potentially leading to a loss of control.
Is it safe to drive with the ABS light on?
When the ABS light remains illuminated, it means that the ABS system is currently disabled, and the vehicle is operating without the benefits of ABS. The standard braking system will still function, allowing you to bring the vehicle to a stop. However, without ABS, the wheels may lock up under hard braking or on slippery surfaces.
Does ABS light go out on its own?
The ABS light should not go out independently unless the underlying issue causing it to illuminate is resolved. The ABS light is designed to stay on as a warning indicator until the problem is fixed.
Once the ABS system detects a fault, it will trigger the ABS light on the dashboard. This light will remain illuminated until the issue is addressed and the system functions correctly. Turning off the vehicle or waiting an extended period will not typically cause the ABS light to go out.
What would I do if the ABS light turned on while driving?
Stay calm and assess the situation if the ABS light turns on while driving. Adapt your driving style by allowing more stopping distance and avoiding sudden or aggressive maneuvers. Brake smoothly and apply firm, consistent pressure to the pedal. Anticipate hazards and adjust your driving accordingly. Remember to have the ABS system inspected and repaired as soon as possible to restore its functionality and ensure optimal braking performance.
- C1223: ABS Control System Malfunction
- C1241: Low Battery Positive Voltage or Abnormal
- C1252: Pump Motor Relay
- C1336: Zero Point Calibration of Yaw Rate Sensor Undone
- C1361: Malfunction in Deceleration Sensor Circuit
- C1422: Malfunction in Wheel Speed Sensor Signal (Right Front)
- C1423: Malfunction in Wheel Speed Sensor Signal (Left Front)
- C1424: Malfunction in Wheel Speed Sensor Signal (Right Rear)
- C1425: Malfunction in Wheel Speed Sensor Signal (Left Rear)
- C1441: Malfunction in ABS ECU Power Source Circuit
- C1463: Malfunction in Brake Booster Pressure Sensor Circuit
- C1480: Brake Boost Sensor Circuit Malfunction
- C1501: Malfunction in Brake Fluid Level Warning Switch Circuit
- C1511: Malfunction in Brake Switch Circuit
- C1345 – Linear Solenoid Valve Offset Learning undone
- C1368 – Linear Solenoid Valve Offset
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