Problems with ABS should not be neglected, but there are situations where the ABS light comes on without any faults with the system. In those situations, clearing the warning light can be done in a matter of minutes.
To reset the ABS light on Dodge Grand Caravan, disconnect the battery and wait for the vehicle’s computer to drain completely. When you reattach the wires, the warning should disappear.
This may be the fastest method of resetting the ABS light but it’s not guaranteed to work, so in this article, we’ll explore other methods and reasons why the ABS light comes on.
How to Reset ABS Light?
The first method is wiping the car computer memory by unplugging the battery. This method doesn’t always work, but it’s the fastest and easiest to try.
Check the Fuse Box
The next method involves checking the fuse box of your Dodge Grand Caravan. It’s located under the hood, next to the car battery. Take the cover off, then grab a test light and inspect the fuses one by one. Simply tap the two exposed dots on the fuse, and see if the lamp lights up.
Once you find a blown fuse, use the fuse clip to take it out. If you look at it from the side, you’ll see a metal wire in the shape of an omega (Ω). A broken wire signifies that the fuse is blown and needs to be replaced. Replace it with the fuse of the same specification and continue checking until you’ve gone through the entire fuse box.
Fuses are very simple and easy to replace, but when it fails, it’s important to have a few in stock. Keeping a box of spare fuses inside the trunk of your Dodge may save you if your windscreen wipers, lights, or other electric-powered components fail on the road.
Reset ABS Light with no Error Codes
The following method seems odd, but it’s worth a try as some Dodge Grand Caravan drivers have reported success using it. It’s particularly useful for so-called phantom error codes that diagnostic tools do not get reading on. This means that even after a visit to a mechanic and have your vehicle checked and fixed, the ABS light might still turn on.
- Turn your Dodge on and keep your foot on the brake pedal.
- Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right, put the shifter in reverse, and slowly drive in reverse.
- Put the shifter in drive, then move forward while straightening the steering wheel. Move at a crawling pace.
- Once you’re moving straight, release the brake, then press it again while turning the steering wheel to the left.
- Repeat the steps. Once you’ve released the brake pedal, the error should disappear.
- If the error hasn’t disappeared, repeat the whole process 1-2 more times.
What is ABS?
ABS is short for the anti-lock braking system that automatically releases and applies pressure on wheels in heavy braking situations.
The first ABS usable in cars was created in a joint effort between Mercedes-Benz and Bosch back in 1978. Next to the three-point seatbelt, it’s one of the major leaps in-car safety and accident prevention.
The best way to understand what ABS does is to look at the braking system of any bicycle. When you press hard on the brake handle, the wheel will lock up completely, which can be dangerous and result in a loss of control or a fall. The same applies to vehicles, but instead of losing stability, the driver loses the ability to steer.
The problem is made worse by the fact that locked wheels skid like a sled. If there’s rain or snow on the road, the treads of the tire will quickly fill up, which significantly reduces their grip.
As stated before, ABS automatically pumps the brakes in very quick succession. Wheels will independently spin and lock up, which removes the chance of sliding. Not only does ABS increase the effectiveness of brakes, but it also allows you to steer the vehicle while driving. If an obstacle suddenly appears in front of you, you can brake and steer away from the obstacle at the same time.
When braking on snowy or wet roads, the wheel shifting with ABS will place new parts of the tire in contact with the surface to avoid tread filling and sliding. Let’s take an example where the right side of the road is snowy, and the left is dry. Braking hard with a car without ABS will spin the car out of control, towards the left, because left wheels have more grip and therefore brake significantly stronger. A car with ABS will brake evenly despite the difference in grip.
I strongly suggest that you watch the following video made by Bosch. It does a great job of visually illustrating the benefits of an anti-lock braking system.
What Causes ABS Light to Turn On?
The ABS light comes on to warn you about a fault somewhere in the system. We’ll explore the common causes, but the best way to identify and fix an ABS problem is to take your Dodge to a dealership or a licensed mechanic. They can easily identify the problem by using a diagnostic tool and save you time and money spent on unnecessary repairs.
ABS module is usually shared with the traction control system and is located inside the engine bay. It’s a costly component to repair, ranging from $400 to $700 regardless of the model year. Labor will set you back another $100, plus any additional diagnostic fees.
Another reason why the ABS light comes on is low levels of brake fluid. Brakes operate on a basic hydraulic system, where a pump pushes hydraulic liquid towards the cylinders and forces them to close the brake pads. As fluid levels decrease, the brake pedal will become increasingly unresponsive, ultimately leading to a total loss of brakes. Brake and ABS light will warn you of the earliest signs of low fluid levels, so you can address them immediately.
It’s possible that one of the wheel speed sensors has failed, which is usually reported as an ABS problem. ABS reluctor is located behind the brakes and has cog teeth that can get damaged or dirty. Inspect them and clean if necessary, then test drive your Dodge to see if the problem has been fixed. You could also attempt to change the speed sensor yourself, but it’s not a guarantee that it’s the cause of the problems.
Some vehicles have the option to manually turn off the ABS or traction control, which will light up one or both warning lights on the dashboard. Dodge Grand Caravan doesn’t have this feature, but it’s useful to know in case you have the same problem with another car. Simply restart the ABS with a press of the right button, and the warning light will turn off.
Can worn brake pads cause ABS light to come on?
Despite being controlled in part by the ABS module, the brake system is independent and has its own warning lights. If your brake pads are worn, the ABS light should light up, but modern vehicles have wear sensors that will activate the brake warning light.
Is it safe to drive a car with ABS light on?
It depends on the severity of the problem. I have access to a diagnostic tool and check my Audi bi-monthly to find no faults with the ABS module, yet the warning light is constantly turned on. Find a wide and clear patch of road and slam your brakes hard. If you feel the ABS working on all four wheels, the ABS light might be a phantom error code and not an actual problem.
The main thing to remember is that if your ABS in fact doesn’t work correctly, you may be labeled responsible in case of an accident. This reason alone is enough to get your ABS running properly and warning-free.
How much does it cost to fix the ABS system?
Wheel speed sensors vary in price, from $20 to $150 so look around to find a great deal. ABS module is very expensive, ranging from $400 to $700. Don’t get tricked into overpaying for diagnostic inspection – some places charge $100 to identify an ABS issue. For less than $200, you can get your own diagnostic tool that can be used with a wide range of Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler models.
Turning off the ABS warning light may prove more challenging than you might expect. While an oil service light is more of a reminder, ABS light comes on as a warning that something is not working correctly. If you’re certain that the problem doesn’t really exist, go ahead and try one of the methods posted above to clear the ABS light.