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Mercedes-Benz Brake, EBR, ABS and ESP Inoperative

As you start to drive your Mercedes-Benz the ERB, ABS, and ESP inoperative warning light may come on. The vehicle may seem to brake and function normally at first but the anti-lock braking and stability function are disabled.

Mercedes-Benz Brake, EBR, ABS and ESP Inoperative
ESTIMATED TIME 1-4 hr
DIY COST $210-$1300
DIFFICULTY Intermediate

What do Brake, EBR, ABS, and ESP messages mean?

One of the reasons for the confusion this message may cause is that it mentions several systems that practically get disabled simultaneously. 

Anti-lock Braking System, or ABS for short, is a safety device that prevents the wheels from locking up when braking hard. This shortens the stopping distance to the minimum and allows the driver to steer the vehicle during this maneuver.

ESP, which stands for Electronic Stability Program, will stop the vehicle from sliding and keep it on an intended trajectory. It does that by detecting understeer or oversteer and applying the brake to one or more wheels to stabilize the vehicle. Unlike the ABS, this will happen even if the driver does not press the brake. 

Certain Mercedes-Benz cars come with EBR, which stands for Electronic Brake Regulation, to enhance braking performance further and improve stability. If an EBR error shows up on your instrument cluster, that means your Mercedes-Benz is required with EBR, but the system is temporarily disabled. 

This system adjusts the brake system balance depending on different factors, such as road condition and load distribution inside the vehicle. It does this by proportioning the brake force between the front and rear wheels to match their grip levels. This makes braking more stable when things like turning cause weight shifts, which might otherwise offset the brake balance.

What causes the ‘EBR, ABS and ESP inoperative’ message?

bad abs sensor trigers light

The most common problems that trigger EBR, ABS, and ESP inoperative error messages to come up are: 

  1. Damaged ABS wheel speed sensor
  2. A weak vehicle 12-volt battery 
  3. Bad alternate or voltage regulator
  4. The steering angle sensor needs calibration or replacement

Brake assistance systems, including EBR, ASP, and ESP, are elaborate systems with a wide range of sensitive components and sensors.

A single malfunction sensor could bring multiple systems down, affecting vehicle braking performance and stability. Just like with other devices, there are many potential causes, and these are only a few common ones: 

  • Voltage drops caused by a worn battery or faulty alternator may affect the operation of both ABS and ESP. This is because all the sensors and components require a steady voltage, and even the slightest irregularity might offset their function. These systems will also go offline if the owner replaces the battery without connecting the vehicle to a trickle charger. 
  • All cars have a brake light switch that, as its name would imply, illuminates the brake lights when slowing down. ABS and ESP systems use this signal to recognize when the driver is pressing the brake pedal. With time, internal components of this simple sensor may wear out, which makes the signals coming from it implausible. The software inside the ABS module will recognize these faulty signals and shut down the system as a preventive measure. 
  • Being exposed to dirt and corrosion, wheel speed sensors and their wiring are other components that are likely to fail. They will give inaccurate readings that will confuse the ABS module. Tracking down the faulty sensor requires a suitable diagnostic tool, as there are four of them in total. 
  • Although reliable and rarely to fail in general, the ABS module itself can affect the operation of these brake systems. Among possible causes, things like worn hydraulic valves or faulty solenoids that control their movement are the most likely. The new module is expensive, so sourcing a remanufacturer may be more feasible. 

How do you reset the ABS and ESP in a Mercedes-Benz? 

A simple method to fix Brake, EBR, ABS, and ESP warning involves restarting the vehicle then turning the steering wheel fully to the left and right with the engine on. Repeating this procedure several times may reset ABS and ESP systems, clearing the warning message from the display.

mercedes abs light on

If the main battery is the issue, replacing the battery can solve the issue. To find out the cause of these warning lights, you will need to read the codes to precisely determine the problem.

How do these safety systems work? 

The working principle behind EBR, ABS, and ESP systems is quite similar, as they share most hardware. There is a speed sensor at each wheel knuckle, which measures how fast they are spinning.

Next, a steering wheel angle sensor gives information about where the driver points to the vehicle. Similar to it, a rotation sensor will reveal if the car is sliding or spinning out of its path.

In the end, there is a load sensor that measures the weight of the passengers and luggage against the rear axle. When combined, this data gives perspective about the vehicle's speed and behavior on the road. 

The central component that operates all three systems is the ABS module, sometimes referred to as Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU). This device is an integral part of the brake system and its hydraulic circuitry, into which it taps in. If the wheel traction between brakes during braking or other maneuvers, the ABS module will take suitable action to regain it. Locking up will continuously reduce and re-apply braking force until the wheels grip up again. If the vehicle begins to slide or spin, the ESP will apply the brake to one or two wheels.

Conclusion

read mercedes codes

As explained here, ESR, ABS, and ESP are abbreviations for safety systems that improve vehicle stability during harsh braking. 

These warning lights are often triggered due to a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor, but you will need to read the codes to find out precisely what the issue is.

Refernces 

  1. Power Steering Malfunction, Brake (EBR, ABS, ESP Inoperative) Errors On C350 2009 - mbworld.org
  2. EBR, ABS, and ESP Inoperative - benzworld.org

  3. Im getting the EBR ABS ESP inoperative message. - Justanswer.com
  4. Ebr, abs, esp warning - MBClub.co.uk  

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