The anti-lock braking system, or ABS for short, has been in use since the ‘70s.
As technology progressed, it became more commonplace, and today, it’s a standard feature in many different modern automobile models. In fact, all 2012 model-year and later vehicles now come equipped with an anti-lock braking system.
The ABS control module specifically is only one part of the entire system. Its counterpart is the ABS sensors which work together to fulfill the system’s function. Most vehicles have an ABS sensor located inside each wheel either inside the hub or outside.
Some cars only use two ABS sensors on the back wheels. The control module and sensors comprise the anti-lock braking system which helps keep a vehicle, driver, and passengers safe.
The Cost of an ABS Control Module Replacement
ABS control modules can become faulty and may require replacement. A replacement is preferred over a repair as the ABS control module repair will most likely end up costlier than simply replacing it.
If an ABS control module experiences trouble, it can be replaced for about $53.58 – $3,455.76.
If you have experience working with cars and doing simple car fixes, you can try to replace it yourself without having to pay any extra for labor.
If you do take it to get checked out by a mechanic, the charge for the labor depends on the brand of the car, the complexity of the issue, and the location of the store itself. The estimated amount usually comes out at around $80 – $150 per hour and could take at the very least, 1 –1 ½ hours. This means that the minimum estimated labor amount will be around $120 – $225.
An ABS module price will vary depending on the year, make, and model of the car. Other factors that influence the price include the mechanic’s hourly rate, the repair center, the brand of the part, and the location (state) of the repair center.
Certain parts are made of premium materials and these will reach into the thousands range. Take a look at how much the price of ABS control modules changes depending on the brand:
- Cardone: $60.65 – $404.75
- Dorman: $127.95 – $514.95
- Ford Performance: $383.35
- Programa: $236.46 – $321.41
- Standard: $53.58 – $384.54
If you want to bring your vehicle to an auto center, the first place you should consider is a licensed shop from the manufacturer of your car itself.
Additionally, we’ve included a handy do-it-yourself guide at the end of this article to assist you in replacing the control module by yourself if you choose to.
What’s an Anti-Lock Braking System?
The anti-lock braking system is a control system used to provide a vehicle with increased traction in order to prevent skidding. When pressing the brakes while driving at high speeds on slippery and wet roads, the wheels can tend to lock up, the driver will lose control, and the vehicle could hydroplane. The ABS control module and the ABS sensors in the wheels help to prevent this.
A car’s ABS is a safety feature that can save lives, thus, it’s very important for it to run efficiently and smoothly at all times. It is available on many newer-model cars and combines threshold braking and cadence braking to provide a much more effective result.
The two main parts of the ABS are the control module and the sensors. The sensors are located in the wheels and work to continuously track their rotation speed. This data is then transmitted to the control module which is a sort of computer usually located inside a car’s engine compartment.
The computer uses a microprocessor to take the data which was tracked by the sensors and use it for a variety of purposes. Each ABS sensor communicates with the control module via digital signals.
The control module constantly tracks the speed of all four wheels and ensures that they’re always rotating in unison.
In an event where a vehicle skids, the computer system can automatically control the hydraulic valves leading to the brakes, pumping them rapidly about fifteen times per second. This will prevent the wheels from locking up, allow the wheels to continue spinning, and the driver will be able to maintain control of the vehicle’s direction using the steering wheel.
The ABS control module can also detect if a particular wheel is running slower or faster than the others. If one wheel is running slower, the control module will lessen the braking force on that particular wheel while all the other wheels receive the full braking force.
This will allow the single wheel to begin rotating in sync with the other wheels. If a wheel is spinning faster than the others, the same operation can be activated to achieve similar results.
Keeping the wheels running at the same speed increases efficiency and makes for a smoother ride. The ABS can also detect when a vehicle is turning corners and automatically compensates. This is needed because the inner wheels always naturally rotate slower than the outer wheels when making turns.
Symptoms of a Dying ABS Control Module
Either the ABS sensors or the ABS control module could experience issues. If one or more sensors are faulty, the transmitted information of each wheel’s rotational speed which is sent to the control module will be incorrect and the system will be unable to fix any discrepancies.
On the other hand, if the control module fails, it will not do anything with the data sent from the sensors and will simply ignore it. This, again, results in the system failing to perform its primary function. The ABS is also connected to various other car systems such as the electronic stability control so if problems arise, they may affect the connected systems as well.
Identifying the symptoms of a dying ABS control module or associated components can be easy if you know what to look for. Here’s a list of the most common signs that you’re likely to see:
- Most newer vehicles have an ABS light on the dashboard which will illuminate if the system detects a problem. In older vehicles, the check engine light will turn on.
- Seeing either the ABS or check engine lights does not necessarily mean that the problem is with the control module. In order to identify exactly what the issue is, a device must be used to capture the error code associated with the problem.
The most common code reader is the OBDII scanner. Once you’re able to see the code, check the owner’s manual of the automobile to find out what the code means.
- An unlikely but possible symptom is that the speedometer will fail. A non-working or erratic speedometer mostly is an indication of a different issue. But sometimes, it can be connected to a defective ABS.
- If you don’t own a code reader, you’ll have to take the car to a repair shop right away to find out what the problem is.
- The whole point of an ABS is to prevent the wheels from locking when braking. If you’re driving and you experience difficulty with turning the steering wheel while braking, there’s most likely a problem with either the control module or the sensors.
- If pressing the brake pedal fails to stop or slow down the car, an ABS issue is possible. The problem usually happens intermittently and may become progressively worse as time passes.
- If you’ve been having the need to put more force on the brake pedal just to make it respond, this could be an indication of a faulty control module.
If you experience any of these symptoms when driving your car, consider having your vehicle checked by an expert mechanic right away. Many ABS issues start off small and have easy fixes. But if left alone, may lead to a replacement of the entire system.
Tips on Keeping Your ABS Control Module Alive
To spare yourself from costly repairs and time-consuming mechanical operations, the best course of action is to find ways to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
If it’s too late and you’ve unfortunately already had problems with your ABS control module, at least you can try to prevent them from happening again.
Here are several tips that can hopefully prevent it from conking out.
- Proper Maintenance – ensure that your car adheres to its regular maintenance checkup schedules in order to check for any symptoms or indications of problems. Regular maintenance will save you from hassle further down the road.
- ABS Control Module Check-Up – in some instances, the ABS light on the dashboard won’t turn on right away when there’s a real problem in the works. Making sure that the electronic technology has updated/upgraded the systems will help prevent some issues.
- Check the Brakes – a car’s brake pads/rotor should be repaired and kept in good condition or problems could arise that will affect the ABS and consequently, the control module.
- Brake Fluid – brake fluid that hasn’t been changed in awhile will cause problems with the ABS which leads back to the control module. Bring your car in to have a flushing procedure scheduled or take a weekend off and replace it yourself.