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ABS light is ON!

I have 2006 Mazda3 with just above 111k miles on it. I got the strut work done on it with a good mechanic, but after driving and braking hard for couple of times, the ABS light came ON. It is gone after turning the car off and has not come back yet (about a day), but it made me worried if there could be something wrong with my ABS system. Mechanic is saying that it could be just dirt on the ABS sensor and that’s why the light came ON and then went OFF. I would like to know the opinion of the experts on this please.

Thanks in advance!

We don’t know any more than your mechanic…Find an empty parking lot and see if the ABS system really works…Having the brake fluid changed never hurts…

If the light is now off and stays off, don’t worry about it. This happens occasionally to many cars… the ABS light comes on for no particular reason but goes off and stays off when you stop the engine and restart.

This situation may even happen to you again after a few months… or not at all. It’s an annoyance but that’s all it is. Your mechanic is correct; it may just be some dirt or other temporary disturbance to a sensitive sensor.

Try hitting your brakes hard on a gravel road to make sure the ABS is really working. If so, dont worry about it. I agree with Caddyman and Steve.

I agree not to worry if it does not persist. Only one time, other than at startup, the ABS light came on on my 1999 Honda Civic. It had been parked on a very damp, foggy, still night. Probably some temporary anomaly, with moisture as a factor, caused one of the sensors to turn on the light.

Ok, I drove the car a little more today and found that the ABS light is turning ON and OFF on its own. Seems like it is coming ON if I apply sudden brakes or with a jerk turn/movement of the car. I am expecting the reason could be failed ABS sensor, but how can I find out without paying close to $100 to mechanic shop to plug their computer in the car? I am expecting ABS sensor malfunction to not make the car dangerous to drive, but please let me know if there is something that I should be careful with.

Hi, I had the same problem with my jeep, and took it to a mechanic who did not charge me anything to check it out with the computer. It could be the wheel sensor that is causing the problem, which would run around $150.00 in my area (small city). I was told you could drive the vechicle with the ABS light on forever, as long as you didn’t drive on snow/ice, where you might skid (anti-locking brake system to prevent skidding). Your regular brakes will work fine in good weather, until you can get the ABS fixed.
Good luck!

Yes, I am also expecting this issue to be ABS sensor. Brakes are running fine, but I found them to be having poor response at low speeds, so do you think it could be from that? I would like experts to comment as how easy and time consuming the job of changing ABS sensor could be?

Have you ever changed the brake fluid in your '06 Mazda? Most mfg’rs recommend changing brake fluid every 3 years on cars equipped with ABS. If you haven’t changed the fluid ever, have it changed and drive for a week or so and see if the problem resolves. Brake fluid is hydroscopic (absorbs water) and that’s why it needs to be changed. ABS braking systems don’t like water in the brake fluid.

When the ABS light is on your brakes will work but the ABS part of the system isn’t working. When the light is off your ABS brakes are active and will work. You could have a bad or dirty sensor, but you could also have a number of other issues. ABS problems can be tricky to track down for a home DIY mechanic.

Yes, I had the brake fluid changed few months ago and the car has been running fine so far. It is since the mechanic worked on my struts that the light started coming ON. I called around and Mazda dealer’s are charging minimum $ 125 to do an ABS ON light check. Problem is that it is coming ON and going OFF, so I might not get to see any codes at the dealership.

Even with intermittent light activity, it should store a history code. You mentioned poor response at low speeds, when this happens do you feel any vibration in the brake pedal, indicating that the ABS is applying unnecessarily?

No, there is no vibration in the brake pedal or I haven’t noticed anything at all. Mechanic who worked on my car came and looked at it again by taking off the front wheels, but still it is same. He checked the resistance which was same for both sensors and also cleaned the sensor.

DIY ? ABS Codes Can’t Be Read With An OBD2 Reader, But ABS Readers Are Reasonably Priced.

Before you buy, check the PDF coverage guide on that site to be sure it’s compatible with your car.

I took it to Mazda dealer and he plugged his computer in, but could not find any codes. He drove the car around and checked the wheels, brakes everything and found them to be working fine. He found some history though and with it he says that the front passenger wheel sensor “could be” an issue. The mechanic who worked on my car also put some kind of electrical spray on the wiring to make sure that the sensors are working fine and so after looking at it the mazda mechanic is also recommending to change the harness. I don’t see how that liquid can actually make the mechanic decide to change the harness? He gave me a combined quote of $ 450 for this work and I am getting an impression that they are just trying to bill me for unnecessary stuff. In the expert opinion, what should I do about this as I don’t want to spend this kind of money and also don’t want to drive dangerously either?

We have tried to convince you that driving with a non-operating ABS is not dangerous. Review all the above posts for reassurance.

I agree that the dealership is stumped and is just guessing with that harness nonsense. You should forgo the $450 repair.

If it were my car I would continue driving as-is, ignoring that evil ABS light glowering at you. Your car is quite safe to drive. You can take your time over repairs. Ask friends and neighbors if they know of any shop that specializes in ABS work. Clearly the dealership is not the place to go.

Yes, it has been running fine since I got the diagnosis from the dealership, so I am not spending any money on it now. Thanks for all the good tips, it really helped.