Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How to Find and Clean the ABS Sensor Ring - Vol.383

The ABS (anti-lock braking system) make the difference between coming to a full stop and your car skidding off the road because of the extended force employed on the disk brakes. The ABS allows the wheels to keep rotating and thus prevents the car from going into a skid. This way, many accidents are avoided, and that's why the ABS is so important.

If you find that your ABS lights come on, it usually means something is wrong with the system and you need to get the system checked. Don't delay, because a functioning ABS can save lives. Having said that, there are many reasons for your ABS lights to come on. Dirt messing with the sensor ring is one possible cause, so it's worth checking it out. More often, the dirt gets clogged underneath your car and eventually interferes with your ABS Sensor Ring.

If that is the case, the solution is simple, and you won't need help from a professional. Here are a few ways you can go about cleaning your ABS Sensor Ring and make that annoying warning light go away so that you can enjoy driving without distractions.

Get Your Manual
Always consult the owner's manual when attempting to solve car problems on your own. No matter how informed you think you are, car models are different and not all interventions work the same on all of them.

Find the ABS system section and read up on where the sensor is, what you need to get to it and how hard it is to locate.

Support the Vehicle
Always use a crank while working under the car to have enough space to maneuver. Moreover, this will provide more stability and make the whole endeavor safe while you work.

Locate the ABS Sensor Ring
After you have safely removed the wheel and ensured the vehicle is stabilized, fully turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction so that you can reach the sensor. This is the fastest way to access the sensor ring in most modern cars, but it's best to check the manual to see if any additional safety measures are necessary.

Remove the ABS Sensor before Cleaning
Once you have reached this point, it becomes obvious that you cannot clean anything without removing all the nuts and bolts and taking out the sensor. Be careful doing this because the device is sensitive and you can easily damage it. Take your time and follow the wiring and make sure all bolts have been removed before pulling the sensor.

If you feel you require force, look closer because there might be additional connectors up or down the wiring. When done correctly everything should feel smooth, and the sensor should come out with ease.

Cleaning the ABS Sensor Ring
Once everything is out in the open, you can proceed to clean the ABS Sensor Ring with a soft cloth. You can use some water but don't submerge it. Also, if possible, try to avoid using any chemicals, including soap as it may damage the ABS.

By checking the manual, you will see if there are any recommended solutions for wiping the dirt off the ABS Sensor Ring. If not, just use a few drops of water. Think of it as cleaning a very sensitive and precisely calibrated instrument that can be damaged beyond repair if you apply any aggressive rubbing motion.

Sometimes, it is best to take as much time as you need until you are happy with how it looks, rather than to rush the job and end up paying a lot of money to replace it. Once satisfied, carefully place everything back the way it was and screw everything to the same tension as before. Take your car for a test drive and see if all went well.

If the ABS light is still on, it's time to visit your mechanic.