Hello. My service traction, trac off, and anti lock lights come on a few times while driving. What could this mean?

I sometimes feel a slight pulsation in the brake pedal when the light comes on. It usually goes off in minutes.

My car has 145000 miles.
My car's transmission is unknown to me.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello. When the vehicle is first started the computer very quickly runs a series of test on various systems of the car. If one of these systems sends back a bad reading the warning lights will come on. As the vehicle is driven the sensor may give more appropriate readings and the computer will turn the light off. This does not mean the issue doesn’t exist, but means the sensor causing the light is working intermittently. You will want to have the vehicle scanned for diagnostic troubleshooting codes, while the light is on, to find out what sensor is sending a bad signal. There are a few other issues that could be the cause. The traction control is heavily related to the ABS system. Therefore if the brakes were having issues, the traction control would also be effected. The best way to find out what the issue is would be to find out what code is causing the light. Scan the vehicle, and go from there.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Because the ABS and traction control often share the same module, a problem with one mechanism might be indicated by a light for both. If the brake system is malfunctioning, the traction control light might come on as a result. The light for your ABS might also come on if the brake fluid is low.
ABS is malfunctioning: Traction control and ABS (anti-lock braking system) often share the same control module and internal self-diagnostics system. As a result, sometimes an issue in the ABS can trigger the traction control light. If this is the case, then both the ABS and Traction Control lights will be on.
Press the gas pedal 3 times in quick succession. Then, turn your engine on all the way and let it run for a minute. The TCS and ABS lights should reset and go away if there isn`t any underlying problem with your traction control system.
If your ABS light comes on individually, you are safe to drive your car to your destination, as your normal brakes will still work. You will, of course, have to be more careful as your ABS will not respond in case of an emergency.
The traction-control light is usually a sign that your vehicle is working properly by maintaining traction on a slippery road, but it can also mean that your car has some damaged sensors or wires. Keep yourself safe on the road by taking your vehicle to a trusted auto repair shop at the first sign of trouble.
In order to operate, your ABS system needs electricity. This is controlled by the anti-lock fuses and relay. The first fuse (a 10 amp fuse) must be good in order for electricity to flow to the relay, and the relay must function to provide power to the second fuse (a 30 amp fuse).
The primary input of the TCS is the wheel speed sensor. These sensors continuously monitor the speed of each driven wheel and send the data to the ABS and Traction Control System ECU. When a slip is detected between the tire and the road, the TCS regulates brake pressure on the slipping wheel.
When the system is damaged or needs a part to replace, it can cost anywhere from $320 to $1,000. The exact cost really depends on your car and the components of its given ABS system.
your tcs is controlled by a set of wheel speed sensors, located at each wheel, and shared with your abs system. these sensors provide a constant flow of information to your traction control computer about whether each wheel is rolling normally, or if it is slipping or spinning.
Without ABS, a rapid, hard brake application could cause wheel lockup and loss of vehicle steering control, if the driver does not pump the brakes correctly or limit the brake pedal force to prevent wheel lockup. Therefore, more driver skill is needed to obtain short stops without ABS.”
One reason your vehicle`s ABS light is on is because it may be sensing abnormally low levels of brake fluid. You`ll be able to notice if your brake fluid is low by the way your car brakes.
Fortunately, if the ABS warning light came on, and no other warning lights are present, the brakes will still work. Just like they would on a car without ABS. But the ABS will not function and will not prevent the wheels from locking up in an emergency or on a slippery road.
Sometimes a blown fuse to the ABS can cause the light to come on and stay on. Fuses are easy to blow, so sometimes it`s an easy fix to check.
Signs of a failed ABS system include ABS light always ON, on your dash, the car not braking correctly (brake pedal feels different to normal), or loss of control while braking. Reduced braking performance – A failing ABS relay can cause reduced braking performance, especially during hard braking.
The anti-lock function will stop working properly, which may increase the distance it takes to safely stop your vehicle. The rear tires will lock, which will increase vehicle swing on turns and may make your vehicle more difficult to control.
The ABS module in most cars should be located on the driver`s side front corner of the engine compartment. The hard brake lines should be attached to the unit, which should help you locate your car`s module.
The ABS or traction control system may be inadvertently activated by these false or inaccurate signals. There is a good chance that during the course of having the tires changed, the wheel sensors may have been bumped or moved causing them to trigger the ABS light to come on.
If equipped, there should be a switch/button showing a picture of a car with wavy lines underneath. Press this button to turn off traction control. This should then display the light on the dash as a steady yellow light indicating the TC is now turned off.
The ABS or traction control system may be inadvertently activated by these false or inaccurate signals. There is a good chance that during the course of having the tires changed, the wheel sensors may have been bumped or moved causing them to trigger the ABS light to come on.
ABS Light On After New Tires

If youre ABS light comes on after installing new tires, it`s likely that one or more of these sensors were accidentally damaged or bumped during installation. In which case, i tmay be best to have your vehicle inspected to ensure your wheel speed sensors are still intact.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Hello. My service traction, trac off, and anti lock lights come on a few times while driving. What could this mean?
ANSWER : Hello. When the vehicle is first started the computer very quickly runs a series of test on various systems of the car. If one of these systems sends back a bad reading the warning lights will come on. As the vehicle is driven the sensor may give more appropriate readings and the computer will turn the light off. This does not mean the issue doesn’t exist, but means the sensor causing the light is working intermittently. You will want to have the vehicle scanned for diagnostic troubleshooting codes, while the light is on, to find out what sensor is sending a bad signal. There are a few other issues that could be the cause. The traction control is heavily related to the ABS system. Therefore if the brakes were having issues, the traction control would also be effected. The best way to find out what the issue is would be to find out what code is causing the light. Scan the vehicle, and go from there.

Anti lock brake light
ANSWER : From the symptoms you’re describing, it sounds like your right side sensor wire is either loose, or you’re having problems with the sensor wire coming completely off.

It would help me if I knew what year, make, and model this vehicle is. Anti-lock brakes on some vehicles never have issues, while some are known to have all kinds of problems. Knowing the exact vehicle will help us diagnose this particular issue. I’d recommend having mechanic check out your vehicle to diagnose and fix your ABS light problem.

Battery light goes on when I start car then turns off, if I rev engine light comes back until rpms go down. Abs goes comes on/off
ANSWER : Batteries can die due to faults in the charging system so ideally a suspected "faulty" battery should be load tested before a decision is made to condemn it. The only exception to this rule is if the battery is already clearly "old" (greater than 5 years) but even then once you put a new battery in, as a replacement for a "dead" battery, you have to comprehensively check out the charging system. Diagnostic Trouble Code P0460 will result in disruption of the dashboard fuel gauge’s ability to accurately report your tank’s fuel levels. The fuel gauge readings may be erratic, or read somewhere off scale. Vehicles equipped with a low fuel warning light feature may also suffer from erratic low fuel warnings in the event of a code P0460. Unless the P0460 code has been reported alongside other trouble code, all of the vehicle’s essential systems should otherwise function normally. I would recommend that you request a check engine light diagnostic to first resolve the fault causing the P0460 code to set. The check gas cap light warning light could be due a faulty gas cap and/or small leaks in the EVAP system.

Traction light/reduced engine power and check engine light coming on
ANSWER : Hello. From what you describe, it would appear that your vehicle may be experiencing some sort of intermittent wiring or sensor issue. If the problem occurred again after driving over a bump, then it may be possible that a damaged or loose wire is shorting or having contact issues. A common issue that can cause stalling is a faulty crank position sensor or wiring. I would carefully examine the engine for any loose or damaged wires. If the Check Engine Light comes back on, I would recommend having the trouble codes scanned before resetting the computer.

ABS light comes on while driving. Also traction control light comes on while driving,
ANSWER : The ABS and Traction control use sensors located in the tire area. There are hub bearings that are paired with sensors operation. The clunk sound could be some type of wear that needs to be look at as soon as possible. Scan tool is going to be needed to read data from the ABS module to determine the fault with the system. This issue could be electrical and mechanical. I recommend having a certified professional, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the warning light in person to assist with a repair.

What could cause my ESP light and ETC light to come on while driving?
ANSWER : Hi there. I wouldn’t get too worried. It is normal for the ESP and ETC lights to come on when the Check Engine Light (CEL) does. They are Electronic Stability Program and Electronic Traction Control. Both are tied into the ABS system.

If the engine or transmission is not working properly, these systems will be disabled. The lights come on to inform you of this. If the engine is rough at idle, it is misfiring. The engine computer can detect even the slightest misfire. When it does it will set a code and turn on the CEL. The code will remain stored even if the light goes out.

Misfires can damage the catalytic converter. This is why the computer will only allow you to go 40mph. It reduces the power output of the engine to prevent more damage. Have the codes read out for you if you wish. Misfire codes are P0300-P0304.

For the rough idle, you will still need someone to diagnose why it is misfiring. If I were to guess, I would think you have a bad ignition coil. There is one for each cylinder. If you would like to have all of this checked, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the rough idle (as well as any other problems) and can advise you on any suggested or urgent repairs.

Check engine light, VSC light, and TRAC OFF light is on.
ANSWER : Hi there. There’s always the possibility that something may have been damaged in a collision. On your estimate, you stated that it read "actuator removal without traction control". This is simply for estimating purposes; the adjuster that created the estimate probably either guessed or just went with the first option he/she saw. This does not mean that your vehicle does not have traction control. Your concern as stated by you is that the check engine, VSC, & TRAC OFF lights come on. The VSC & TRAC OFF lights will generally turn on any time the check engine light is on; the ECU stops communication for these systems if a code is stored. This is a safety feature of the ECU in that the logic is set that the traction control and vehicle skid control cannot properly adjust as necessary if there is a malfunction with the engine/transmission. It does not mean that you cannot drive the vehicle, only that these features are turned off until the code is cleared/repaired. A qualified technician can perform an inspection that will determine the cause of the lights and avoid replacing unnecessary parts. Your Mechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with a check engine light inspection.

abs, traction control, E brake and check engine light comes on, code U0121 and U1120 show on scan tool what could be causing it?
ANSWER : Hi there. The only component that impacts the majority of these systems is a transmission speed sensor. In some cases, the sensor will slowly wear out, lighting individual warning lights when trouble codes are stored in the ECU. However, when all of them illuminate at the same time, it’s likely that the wiring harness was damaged somehow. I would first check the speed sensor and harness to make sure they are not causing your warning light issues first. If this is not the problem, I would recommend having all the OBD-II trouble codes downloaded by a professional mechanic as this might give you a better understanding of the root issue.