What does it look like: The letters “ABS” in a circle with parenthesis around it.
What color is it: Yellow, orange or red.
What does it mean: When the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) light is illuminated in your dash, it means there is an issue with the vehicle’s breaking system and it is not functioning properly. This system helps to keep your Volvo’s tires in contact with the road when braking so the tires don’t lock up and skid.
What to do when it comes on: The ABS light will come on when you start your vehicle and then turn off, this is called a “bulb check,” and it occurs so you know the system is working properly.
If the ABS light comes on while driving, then a problem has been detected in the system and it may not be functioning properly. It is ok to drive while the light is illuminated to your destination (ONLY if no other brake warning lights are on), but it is imperative to get it checked out by an expert Volvo technician as soon as possible. The ABS system is relied upon heavily by many other systems (traction control, stability control, etc.) within your vehicle and directly impacts the safety of all vehicle occupants. Be sure to pay attention to how your Volvo is handling and braking when this light is illuminated, as well, and if you feel unsafe, pull over and call a tow.
What steps need to be taken to turn light off: While not completely advised, unless you have adept knowledge of your Volvo, you can check the brake fluid level and top off, if necessary (*only use the correct type of fluid for your vehicle from a new, unopened container).
However, the best thing to do when the ABS warning light comes on, is to take it to the nearest Volvo mechanic. They will check the brake fluid level and visually inspect the ABS control unit pump’s electrical connections, as well as the wheel speed sensors and read any codes the car’s computer is throwing off.
Many times your light comes on because of low brake fluid, a defective control unit, failing pump, solenoid malfunction or a faulty wheel speed sensor. Your local Volvo repair shop will have the required knowledge, diagnostic equipment, tools and fluids to properly assess the situation, fix it, and get you back on the road safely.