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ABS Light and tire pressure light on after hitting pothole

I hit a pothole on I 55 going about 70 mph and the ABS/tire pressure lights went on. My gut feeling is that this is not serious, as the car is 14 years old (131,000 miles) and runs well. Figure it’s just a sensor or connection issue or something like that. Is there a way that I can test to see if my ABS has stopped working without going to a mechanic? The tire pressure light comes on now and then at high speeds and usually means nothing. Advice? Thanks!

Is your tire pressure correct in that tire as well as the others? Let’s start there.

If the ABS light is on it means the ABS won’t function.

Your vehicle has what is called an indirect tire pressure monitoring system. Instead of having pressure sensors in each tire, the system uses the wheel speed sensors to determine if a tire is low on air. The wheel speed sensors are also used to determine when the ABS should function.

So hitting the pothole may have damaged the wheel speed sensor, or the tone ring for the wheel speed sensor.


Hitting the pothole may have damaged other things as well. You should have someone check it all out, not just for the ABS light but for any attention that the front end might need. Your best bet is to find a reputable, locally owned, independent shop that specializes in alignments and front end work. Avoid the corporate “auto care” chains.

A 14 year old car with damage is just as dangerous as a brand new car with damage. For the same reason you should get a new car checked out, safety, you should get your 14 year old car checked out.

If you’re right, and you just knocked a sensor off its feed, it’ll be cheap insurance. If you’re wrong and there’s more damage, having it checked could save your life… or the life of someone innocent.

Talk to your insurer. Maybe they will cover it.