Ford F-150/F-250: Why is My ABS Light On?

Your brake lights could be out, your brake fluid could be low, or your fuse could be blown. Find out how to determine which one is the culprit.

By Tom Cavanagh - November 24, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and F-250 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Most of us don't see an ABS (anti-lock braking system) light stay on very often, unless we spend a lot of time in NYC cabs. But when we do, it's a situation that needs quick attention. The ABS system is a marvel of model technology that tells your Ford F-150 or Super Duty to not go into a skid when it has a panic stop. It also increases vehicle control and decreases braking distance. When the ABS light is on, it's telling you that it's not working properly. Here are a few tips to help you find out why your ABS light stays on.

Step 1 - Check the brake lights and fluids

Many times, the problem can be solved at this step.

  • Make sure your rear brake lights are working.
  • Check your brake fluid level. If it's below "Minimum," top it up to "Maximum."

Figure 1. Checking the fluid level.

Pro Tip

ABS sensors can tell when brake fluid levels are low. Therefore, the ABS light could go on just because your brake fluid is a little low.

If the light doesn't turn off at this point, go to Step 2.

Step 2 - Check the ABS fuse

The ABS light staying on could be due to a faulty fuse. Check your owner's manual for the fuse diagram. Refer to the related site below for the F-150 owner's manuals; select your model year and click on the "Owner Manual Printing" link at that site. Fuse information begins on page 328.

  • Check the ABS fuse and replace it if it's blown.

Related Sites:

Figure 2. ABS fuse.

If the ABS light is still on, move to Step 3.

Step 3 - Check the ABS sensors

The sensors are located on the back of the drums on the rear brakes. If you have rear disc brakes, they are on the steering knuckle.

Figure 3.The red arrow points to the ABS sensor location.
  • Use a Torx E8 socket to remove the sensor mounting bolt. Then remove the sensor and clean it with WD-40.
Figure 4. Removing the mounting bolt.
  • Hose down the tone rings if they are dirty.
Figure 5. ABS tone ring location.

If the ABS light still stays on, it's time to get electrical and proceed to Step 4.

Step 4 - Check common fault codes

Your Ford is connected to a computer to diagnose what's wrong. The diagnostic code will pinpoint the problem.

  • Once you find out the meaning of the diagnostic code, your can start solving the actual issue.

Featured Video: Why is My ABS Light On?

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