The ABS system is designed to slow or bring a vehicle to a stop when it senses that a wheel has lost traction while applying the brake. It does this by rapidly applying and releasing the brakes.
Usually, the ABS system is redundant to the primary braking system – meaning, that there is a normal braking system and only in the event of a skid does the ABS take over. Most of the time, an ABS failure will trigger the ABS warning light and disable the system, but the primary braking system will be unaffected.
The Cost of an ABS Control Module Replacement
On an average, for most vehicles, the cost of replacing an ABS module, should be around £1000.
Here are some specific estimates on the cost of ABS module repair for some common vehicles, using £70 per hour as the labour rate as presented below, and including a standard hour of diagnostic work:
- For a 2010 Ram 2500 with a 6.7-liter diesel engine, the labour time for replacing the ABS control module is about 1.3 hours. A factory replacement part is about £215, making the job about £306.
- For a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta with a 2-liter engine, the labour time to replace the ABS control module is 2.0 hours. A factory replacement part is about £800, making the job about £940.
- For a 2004 Chevrolet Impala with a 3.4-liter engine, the labour time to replace the ABS control module is 1 hour. A factory replacement part is about £870, making the job about £940.
- For a 2005 Toyota Camry with a 3-liter engine, the labour time to replace the ABS control module is 1.8 hours. A factory replacement part (OEM) is about £1,730 (just an average, depending on which system is used; there are three different systems possible), making the job about £1,855.
There aren’t too many cost-saving options when replacing an ABS control module, as there are typically no aftermarket manufacturers due both to their inherent complexity and their general reliability.
One failure point, however, sometimes, is the internal circuit board connections, and then there is the option of having an ABS module sent out for repair.
The cost of repairing an ABS module is about £130 to £300 (if the module actually turns out to be repairable that is).
There is also some limited availability for already repaired or remanufactured ABS control modules, usually coming in at about the same price range as repairing a module, i.e., £130 to £300.
Diagnosing an ABS Control Module Fault
Most often, the first indication of an ABS problem is the ABS light flashing on the dash. The ABS system has a self-diagnostic program that checks its circuits every time the engine starts and sometimes, periodically while driving.
When the ABS light starts flashing, it means that the system has detected a flaw and so the vehicle’s ABS is disabled. Diagnosis starts with reading the specific code or codes and following the specific procedure for that code.
Most of the time, ABS codes lead to wheel speed sensor issues as they are the most vulnerable part of the ABS system. If it’s not a simple speed sensor issue, then, in many cases, it’s not possible to determine that an ABS module needs replacement without some more complex diagnosis. The usual labour charge for that is a flat hour at a dealership, but it can be more if wiring issues need to be ruled out or if other problems complicate things.
This can be quite difficult without dealer-specific diagnostic equipment, so it is possible that the diagnostics would be more time-consuming and costly at an independent shop, although that depends on the nature of the specific problem.
How to Go About the ABS System?
There are several parts to an ABS system, and there are several ways that they can be put together. These can include an ABS control module, an ABS pump that holds pressurised fluid in reserve, and a valve assembly that cycles pressurised fluid into the system.
Sometimes, these are all integrated into one non-serviceable part. However, more often than not, the ABS control module is replaceable separately. If the ABS control module is separately replaceable, the job is usually relatively simple, though it may require programming, initialisation, or calibration with specialised software.
If the ABS module is integrated with the valve assembly, that would then require opening the hydraulic system and then a bleed procedure. Most of the time, this also requires specialised software to open valves in specific sequences to remove air from the system.
Different manufacturers can have different names for an ABS control module or the ABS system. Sometimes, it’s called an electronic brake control module, an ABS brake actuator, an anti-skid module or similar names.
Yes, in most cases, keeping in mind that the flashing light means the ABS system will be disabled, but conventional braking will be unaffected.
The system does a self-test each time the ignition is turned on and will flash the ABS light if there is a problem. If the light is off, it means the system is operational. The easiest way to test it in practice is to find an icy or loose patch of ground and try to lock up the brakes (being mindful of the surroundings, of course).
Yes, when the ABS engages, the brake pedal sinks and the ABS rapidly cycles the brakes. It also turns on a pump to provide the pressurised brake fluid it uses, which can be noisy.