Does it matter if the ABS Amber Brake light is on?

We are sharing, our valuable 35 plus years of ” Hard Knock” experience and current changes to the ever evolving automobile world.

Believe it or not ABS ( anti-lock brakes ) is not new technology. Years ago a problem was occurring when a plane landed. When trying to stop the landing plane, the tires would sometimes slide and cause the plane to crash. ABS allowed the tire to continue rolling, thus providing more traction to stop the plane sooner and prevent the plane from sliding out of control.

This article is completely on vehicles with all wheel ABS not just the rear axle.

Your car is using ABS to assist in controlling your car as you slam the brake pedal to the floor in a panic stop. A sliding tire is like being on ice when attempting to steer or stop the almost 2 tons of dead weight. Not Good! When the tires are rolling, as the vehicle comes to a stop, traction is similar to driving down the road. The vehicle can be controlled and slowed much quicker since the tires have maximum grip on the highway. This is all due to the  fact the brakes are being activated (on and off) very quickly according to the speed, or lack of, on each wheel.

    My suggestion, go to a big parking lot with no obstructions to hit and try a panic stop and attempt to steer the car.  This will educate you as to what happens when you slam the brakes on in your particular vehicle. You should be able to steer and stop the car as the tires grip the pavement. Yes, all the sensations you experience may tell you the car is not stopping as quickly but, it is a proven fact you are stopping sooner. If you have ever panic stopped in a car without ABS, you will remember it slid straight ahead with the sound of squealing tires, regardless of your inputs.

Does it matter if the ABS Amber light is on? This all depends if you want to have the odds stacked in your favor in a panic stop. For your own safety and others, YES. The expense of the repair can be the difference of you or someone else avoiding an accident or not.

A side note: If your car has the Amber ABS light come on, the traction control light usually comes on also. This is due to most traction control systems use the ABS to stop a spinning tire also.The traction control light usually goes out when the ABS is repaired.


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