ABS Light On

2003 Nissan Pickup, light was coming off and on but now just stays on. Manual says to take to dealer, but regular brake system still works till you do.

2 Questions:

1. this is the newest vehicle I have ever had, so not used to going to a dealer due to hi cost. Is taking it to the dealer really necessary, or can any brake place or mechanic chec this?

2. is it urgent even though the other brake system is working?


Because the ABS light came on and went off could mean that there’s a problem with one of the wheel speed sensors or the speed sensor tone rings. The wheel speed sensor tone rings are just toothed rings that the sensors get their signals from. If debris has accumulated in between the tone ring teeth such as dust from semi-metalic brake pads, this can mess up the signal to the wheel speed sensor which will cause the ABS light to come on and turn off.

At this point what I would do is, take the vehicle to an independent garage. and ask that they check the wheel speed sensor tone rings for contamination. And if any is found, that they be cleaned with a sensor safe brake cleaner.


  1. No the dealer is not required, unless it is still under the new car warranty. I recommend an Independent local mechanic.

  2. It is only urgent due to the fact that you no longer have ABS. You will have normal braking power. ABS can be a literal life saver. Many years ago I could have been saved from car damage an personal injury with ABS, but it was not an option on a 1961 Corvair. Most people will never be in a situation where it is really needed, but for those who do, it is well worth the cost of having it repaired.

    In short, I would not worry about driving to work today, but I would get it fixed in the near future.

Only go to the dealer if its under factory warranty. ABS brakes are not complicated as they have been around for over 20 years+ now.