ABS Light on Jeep Wrangler: Meaning, Severity, Causes, and How to Fix

Is the ABS warning light illuminating your Jeep Wrangler dashboard? Do you know why it turns on and how you can fix it? Well, you are in the right place for answers. 

ABS light can come on due to a malfunctioning ABS module, low brake fluid levels, faulty wheel speed sensors, low tire pressure, and many other reasons. Its diagnosis starts with checking these possible causes and fixing the problematic component.

Keep reading to find more details about the most common causes of ABS light on Jeep Wranglers and how to fix it. We will also discuss whether or not you can drive your vehicle with this light on.

Why Is the ABS Light Coming On In My Jeep?

The ABS light comes on if there is a problem with any component of the anti-lock braking system. This system prevents wheels from locking during heavy braking, which gives you steering control when driving on slippery roads.

ABS Light Warning Jeep

Without the ABS system, the wheels can lock. In such a situation, you lose steering control, and the vehicle veers off the road. 

Any component of the ABS system is responsible for its proper functioning. It comprises a wheel speed sensor, ABS module, and braking system. If any of them is faulty, the ABS light warns you that the system may fail to function as it should. 

What Causes the ABS Light to Turn On?

The ABS light on your Jeep Wrangler shows a problem with the components already mentioned. The causes can vary from model to model, but the most common ones include the following:

01. Malfunctioning ABS Module

The ABS module is the brain of the system. It receives data from wheel speed sensors and other inputs, processes it, and takes the best action needed to keep the wheels spinning. Another crucial point to note is that ABS and traction control systems share the same module. That means one can interfere with the operation of the other. Usually, a fault in the traction control system causes the ABS light to come on.

Sometimes the ABS light is on due to a faulty ABS control module. A professional mechanic or authorized Jeep Wrangler dealer should diagnose the problem to find the root causes. The module may need to be repaired or replaced if it is found to be the culprit.

02. Low Brake Fluid Level

The braking system in your car is hydraulic. It uses the cylinder and fluid to transfer pressure when you press the foot pedal to the brake pads to stop the wheel from spinning. A constant brake fluid level has to be maintained.

However, the brake fluid level may drop due to leakage or evaporation. In such a situation, the braking action is compromised. The car’s computer uses sensors to detect a drop in the brake fluid level and turns on the ABS light.

The solution to this problem is straightforward. Use an OBD2 scanning tool to read and interpret the stored trouble diagnostic code just to be sure. Check what caused it, probably a leak, and repair it before topping up the brake fluid.  

03. Faulty Wheel Speed (ABS) Sensors

This is pretty direct. Each wheel of your Jeep Wrangler is fitted with a wheel speed sensor. This component measures the wheel speed and feeds the data to the car’s computer. If any speed sensor becomes faulty, it transmits erroneous data to the control module. The computer will detect that as a fault and disable the ABS. It also turns on the ABS light to warn you of the same.

Diagnosis also involves using an OBD2 scanner to pinpoint the wheel speed sensor as the cause. Some high-end tools can know the exact faulty wheel speed sensor. But if you don’t have one, manually check each sensor and replace the problematic sensor. You can refer to the repair manual for how to do that. 

04. Low Tire Pressure

Low tire pressure will deform the usual shape of the wheel. The wheel diameter becomes smaller. For that particular wheel to keep up with the rest, it has to spin faster. This wheel speed difference is detected by the ABS control module, and a fault code is triggered for the speed sensor of that particular wheel. You should not rush to replace the wheel speed sensor before you check the tire pressure.

The ABS light caused by low tire pressure is often accompanied by a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning light. 

Check the tire pressure of the indicated wheel and adjust it accordingly at the nearest gas station. That should fix the problem, and the ABS light should turn off after some time. Alternatively, you can turn it off using an OBD2 scanner.

05. The system Might Be Manually Turned Off

The ABS and Traction Control Systems can be manually turned off on the dashboard by pressing a button. There is a possibility that someone did it if you are not the last person behind the wheel. You might have also done it unintentionally. So, it pays off to just check it by pressing the button to see if the ABS light goes off.

06. Faulty Hydraulic Pump or Unresponsive Valve

The ABS controls the braking of individual wheels by activating the hydraulic pump. The pump lowers braking pressure to the wheels through the cylinder based on the signal from the ABS module.

All these processes are seamless if the hydraulic pump or valve is in good condition. But if there is a fault, the entire process becomes affected. The hydraulic pump wears off over time due to different factors and may fail at some point. 

The hydraulic pump is the likely culprit if the brake fluid level is okay and the hydraulic fluid pressure is low. Repair or replace it, depending on the level of damage.

06. Blown Fuse

The ABS is protected by a fuse. If the fuse blows off, the power to the system is cut off, and the ABS light comes on suddenly. 

Refer to the owner manual or drawing on the fuse box cover to know the location of the ABS fuse. Check it, and if blown, replace it with a new component of the same ampere rating.

Related content: What is AM1 Fuse? Meaning and What Causes it To Blow Out

Can I Drive My Jeep with the ABS Light On?

You might wonder if your Jeep Wrangler is still safe to drive if the ABS warning light is ON. The short answer is yes. It is safe since the braking system still operates like in those vehicles without ABS. The warning light only tells you that the ABS is deactivated and will not help you when braking on icy, muddy, or wet roads.

You can still drive your car, but extra caution is needed when applying brakes. Heavy braking can lock the wheels, causing a loss of steering control. The ABS enhances your safety, especially when driving in wet or snowy conditions. It is highly recommended to fix the problem as soon as possible.

In extreme cases, the Brake Warning light may also come with it. That indicates a vital braking system malfunction and the vehicle is not safe for driving. Safely pull over and contact your mechanic. 

How Much Does It Cost to Fix the ABS Light?

The cost of fixing the ABS light depends on the individual component and whether it can be repaired or replaced. You should diagnose the vehicle to determine the root cause and find a possible fix. It also depends on the specific car model and your region.

Depending on what went wrong, you can prepare to spend anywhere between $20 and over $1000. The following chart illustrates the approximate cost of fixing the ABS light. Use it as a reference.

Causes of ABS Warning On Jeep WranglerCost To Fix
Blown Fuse~$20
Bad ABS Module$200-$550
Bad Hydraulic Pump / Frozen Valve$300-$450
Faulty Speed Sensor$100-$200 each
Low Brake Fluid~$50

How To Reset ABS Light Jeep Wrangler?

The most recommended method for resetting the ABS light on Jeep Wrangler or any other vehicle is to fix the issue. Just diagnose the car, find the cause of the problem, and solve it. The ABS light should go off on its own. It is risky to hard reset the ABS light if the problem still exists.

The alternative is to use the OBD2 scanner to erase the fault code from the car’s computer system. That will turn off the ABS light but not solve the problem. 

Disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes might also help to reset the ABS light on your Jeep Wrangler. Reconnect the battery, starting with the positive cable followed by the negative cable.

Is there any recall/TSB from Jeep?

Over the years, the Jeep Wrangler has been included in over 250 technical service bulletins, and the 2012 model is the most affected. The automaker issued TSB to service technicians, and the repair cost is often covered by the automaker. You can always check the manufacturer’s website or any third-party resource if there is a recall for your Jeep Wrangler model year.