ABS Light On and Speedometer Not Working: Quick Fixes for Your Vehicle

A safe and smooth driving experience largely relies on many interconnected systems working together. One essential component is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which prevents wheels from locking up during hard braking.

When the ABS light is on and the speedometer isn’t working, it’s essential to address the issue to maintain the safety and performance of the vehicle. In this article, we’ll explore some common issues and solutions for these symptoms.

A malfunctioning ABS sensor is a common cause behind the illuminated ABS light and speedometer issues. The wheel speed sensor can be found on each wheel hub, the rotor on a 4-channel ABS, or in the rear differential in some rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Sometimes, low brake fluid levels can trigger the ABS and even traction control lights to come on. It’s crucial to fix any leaks and top up the fluid as needed.

As we continue, we will discuss more potential causes and troubleshooting techniques to help you fix the problem.

Remember, regular maintenance and prompt attention to any dashboard warning lights are essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely.

Abs Light on and Speedometer Not Working


Understanding ABS Light and Speedometer Issues

ABS System

The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) is a safety feature in modern vehicles. It helps prevent wheel lockup during hard braking, ensuring better control and stability.

The ABS light on the dashboard indicates an issue with the system. A common cause is a malfunctioning ABS sensor.

This is found on each wheel hub, rotor, or rear differential, depending on the car. When the light is on, it’s crucial to address the problem for your safety.

Speedometer Functions

The speedometer is part of the instrument cluster and displays your car’s speed. A non-functional speedometer may be the result of faulty sensors, damaged wiring, or instrument cluster issues.

An ABS light and a non-functioning speedometer might be related, as both systems rely on wheel speed sensors for data. Diagnosing and fixing the problem early ensures a safe and comfortable driving experience.

Common Causes of ABS Light On and Speedometer Not Working

Faulty or Blown Fuses

A common cause for the ABS light and speedometer not working is faulty or blown fuses. Fuses protect electrical circuits from damage caused by overloading or short circuits.

If the ABS system’s fuse is blown, the ABS light will illuminate and the speedometer may stop working.

Malfunctioning Wheel Speed Sensors

The speedometer relies on wheel speed sensors for accurate readings. Malfunctioning sensors can cause the ABS light to turn on and the speedometer to fail. Signs of a bad sensor include inconsistent speedometer readings and an illuminated ABS light.

Abs Light on and Speedometer Not Working


Bad ABS Control Module

The ABS control module manages the anti-lock braking system. A faulty module can cause the ABS light to turn on and the speedometer to stop working. In some cases, the ABS system may still function, but not as efficiently as it should.

Engine Control Module (ECM) Issues

The Engine Control Module (ECM) manages various vehicle systems, including the ABS and speedometer. A malfunctioning ECM can cause issues with both systems, leading to the ABS light being illuminated and the speedometer not working.

Damaged or Disconnected Wiring

Wiring issues can result in the ABS light turning on and the speedometer not functioning.

Damaged or disconnected wiring can interrupt signals between different components, such as the wheel speed sensors and ABS module, causing system failures.

Vehicle Speed Sensor Problems

The vehicle speed sensor monitors the vehicle’s speed and sends the data to the speedometer. A faulty speed sensor can hinder the function of the speedometer and the ABS light would turn on.

Bad Wheel Bearings

Bad wheel bearings can also cause the ABS light to turn on and prevent the speedometer from working. Worn or damaged wheel bearings can affect the performance of the ABS system and compromise speedometer readings.

Abs Light on and Speedometer Not Working


Symptoms To Identify Problems in the ABS System

Warning Lights on Dashboard

The ABS Light and Check Engine Light are important indicators of issues with the ABS system and wheel sensors. They may also signal a problem with traction control or cruise control.

Your brake light may illuminate if there are malfunctions in the anti-lock brakes. Keep an eye on these indicators and address the issue to ensure proper safety and performance.

Pulsating Brake Pedal

A pulsating brake pedal is a symptom of a potential issue with the ABS system. This pulsating sensation may indicate a problem with the wheel sensors, ABS module, or ABS controller.

Speedometer Incorrect Reading or Fluttering

If your speedometer is providing incorrect readings or fluttering, it can be due to faulty wheel sensors or issues with the ABS system. Odometer and tachometer malfunctions may also be related to these issues.

Malfunctions in Other Vehicle Systems

Malfunctions within the ABS system, such as a faulty ABS module or wheel sensors, may affect other systems, like traction control and cruise control.

Additionally, problems with the ABS warning light can result in a loss of anti-lock brakes. So, you know why it’s crucial to address these issues promptly.

Diagnosing and Fixing the Problem

DIY Troubleshooting

If your ABS light is on and the speedometer isn’t working, start by turning the ignition key off and back on. This simple step may fix transient issues.

Next, check your battery and jump power, as low voltage can affect the ABS system. If necessary, consider a battery change or jumpstarting the car. Inspect the ABS wheel speed sensor and its wiring for damage.

You may also want to examine the temperature gauge, reverse lights, and other instrument cluster gauges for abnormalities. In some cases, a short wire or no light issue might be causing the problem. A replacement cost for the ABS wheel speed sensor ranges from $200 to $400 per sensor.

Abs Light on and Speedometer Not Working


Advanced Diagnostic Techniques for ABS Light and Speedometer Problems

When facing ABS light and speedometer issues, advanced diagnostic techniques can help pinpoint the root cause and facilitate effective repairs. Here are some commonly used methods that can bail you out.

  • Scanning the Vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) System: Using a specialized diagnostic tool, you can access the OBD system and retrieve error codes related to the ABS and speedometer. These codes provide valuable insights into the specific component or system malfunction.
  • Live Data Stream Analysis: You can monitor real-time data from various sensors and modules using diagnostic software. This allows them to analyze the behavior of the ABS system, wheel speed sensors, ECM, and other related components. Any abnormalities or inconsistencies can be identified, helping you narrow down the issue.
  • ABS Actuator Test: Through diagnostic tools, you can perform an actuator test to assess the functionality of the ABS system. This test activates the ABS pump and valves, simulating braking conditions and verifying if the system is working as intended.
  • Visual Inspection and Component Testing: You may also conduct a thorough visual inspection of the ABS sensors, wiring, connectors, and control module. This requires carrying out specific tests on individual components, such as the wheel speed sensors or ABS control module. It will help you evaluate their performance and identify potential faults.
  • Road Test and Data Logging: In certain cases, you may conduct a road test to observe the behavior of the ABS system and speedometer under real-world driving conditions. Use suitable data logging equipment to capture relevant data during the test. This will help you he diagnose and identify intermittent issues.


Addressing ABS light and speedometer issues is essential for the safety and performance of your vehicle.

By understanding the causes and potential solutions, performing basic troubleshooting, and utilizing advanced diagnostic techniques, you can effectively diagnose and resolve these problems.

Attending these issues before they aggravate ensures a smooth and secure driving experience. Stay vigilant, be proactive, and keep your vehicle in optimal condition for a worry-free journey.


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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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