The ABS system is designed to slow or bring a vehicle to a stop when it senses that a wheel has lost traction while applying the brake. It does this by rapidly applying and releasing the brakes.
Usually, the ABS system is redundant to the primary braking system – meaning, that there is a normal braking system and only in the event of a skid does the ABS take over. Most of the time, an ABS failure will trigger the ABS warning light and disable the system, but the primary braking system will be unaffected.
The Cost of an ABS Control Module Replacement
On average for most vehicles, the cost to replace an ABS module, as a rough average, comes to about $1200.
Here are some specific estimates on ABS module repair cost for some common vehicles using $100 per hour as labor rate as presented below, and including a standard hour of diagnostic work:
- For a 2010 Ram 2500 with a 6.7-liter diesel engine, the labor time for replacing the ABS control module is about 1.3 hours. A factory replacement part is about $230, making the job about $360.
- For a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta with a 2-liter engine, the labor time to replace the ABS control module is 2.0 hours. A factory replacement part is about $850, making the job about $1050.
- For a 2004 Chevrolet Impala with a 3.4-liter engine, the labor time to replace the ABS control module is 1 hour. A factory replacement part is about $925, making the job about $1025.
- For a 2005 Toyota Camry with a 3-liter engine, the labor time to replace the ABS control module is 1.8 hours. A factory replacement part is about $2000 (an average; depending on which system is used; there are three different systems possible), making the job about $2,180.
There aren’t too many cost-saving options to replacing an ABS control module, as there are typically no aftermarket manufacturers, due both to their inherent complexity and their general reliability.
One failure point however, sometimes, is the internal circuit board connections, and then there is the option of having an ABS module sent out for repair.
The cost to repair an ABS module is about $150 to $350, if the module actually turns out to be repairable.
There is also some limited availability for already repaired or remanufactured ABS control modules, usually coming in at about the same price range as repairing a module, $150 to $350.
Diagnosing an ABS Control Module Fault
Most often, the first indication of an ABS problem is the ABS light coming on the dash. The ABS system has a self-diagnostic program that checks its circuits every time the engine starts and sometimes, periodically while driving.
When the ABS light is on, that means the system has detected a flaw and the ABS is disabled. Diagnosis starts with reading the specific code or codes and following the specific procedure for that code.
The majority of the time, ABS codes lead to wheel speed sensor issues as they are the most vulnerable part of the ABS system.
In the event that it’s not a simple speed sensor issue, in most cases, it’s not possible to determine that an ABS module needs replacement without some more or less complicated diagnosis. The usual labor charge for that is a flat hour at a dealership, but it can be more if wiring issues need to be ruled out or if other problems complicate things.
This can be difficult without dealer-specific diagnostic equipment, so it is possible that the diagnostics would be more time consuming and costly at an independent shop, although that depends on the nature of the specific problem.
How to Go About the ABS System?
There are several parts to an ABS system and there are several ways that they can be put together. These can include an ABS control module, an ABS pump that holds pressurized fluid in reserve, and a valve assembly that cycles pressurized fluid into the system.
Sometimes, these are all integrated into one non-serviceable part. However, more often, the ABS control module is replaceable separately.
If the ABS control module is separately replaceable, the job is usually fairly simple – though it may require programming, initialization or calibration with specialized software.
If the ABS module is integrated with the valve assembly, that requires opening the hydraulic system and then, a bleed procedure. Most of the time, this also requires specialized software to open valves in specific sequences in order to remove the air from the system.
Different manufacturers can have different names for an ABS control module or the ABS system. Sometimes, it’s called an electronic brake control module or an ABS brake actuator, an anti-skid module or similar names.
Yes, in the majority of cases, keeping in mind that the light means the ABS system will be disabled, but conventional braking will be unaffected.
The system does a self-test each time the ignition is turned on, and will turn on the ABS light if there is a problem. If the light is off the system is operational. The easiest way to test it in practice is to find an icy or loose patch of ground and try to lock up the brakes (being mindful of surroundings, of course).
Yes, when the ABS engages the brake pedal sinks and the ABS rapidly cycles the brakes. It also turns on a pump to provide the pressurized brake fluid it uses, which can be noisy.