Do you have the ABS light on your Chevy Silverado's dashboard, but you're not getting any error code on the OBD scanner? What could be causing this to happen? Well, you've come to the right place, for we have researched this question and have the answer for you!
The following problems can cause the ABS light to turn on in your Chevy Silverado but will not always generate a fault code on the onboard diagnostics (or OBD):
- Loose wiring on ABS speed sensor
- Extremely worn tires
- Misaligned tires
- Rusty ABS ring
- ABS speed sensor fault
- Bad wheel bearing
Learn more about each of the problems above in the succeeding sections. With that said, let's dive right into this post below!
What Is The ABS System In My Chevy Silverado?
The ABS in your car improves car control during braking. It monitors the rotational speed of each wheel and compares all four. This is how it knows whether one of the wheels needs help or not.
It also monitors the health of the speed sensors mounted on each wheel.
A problem with any of the sensors will turn the ABS light on. One of the more common sensor errors is when it cannot determine the correct rotational speed of a wheel or when the sensor is no longer sending information.
How does ABS work?
When you step on the brakes, the wheels stop turning. If the forward force is powerful enough, your car will continue moving forward in the same direction when braking. A collision will happen if another car or large object is directly in front of your vehicle.
The secret behind the control of the steering wheel is that you can only steer your car in a direction when the wheels are rolling or when there is a rotational velocity component on the wheels.
Thus, when you apply the brakes and the wheels completely stop turning, you lose control of the car. You will no longer be able to steer your Silverado in any direction to avoid any possible collision ahead of you.
Surfaces With Different Traction
Another problem with keeping control during braking is driving over a surface with different levels of traction, like on a surface with an oil spatter.
The different traction on the left and right wheels will lead to various frictional forces working on the wheels when the brakes are applied.
The wheel with the highest traction will move less, while the wheel with the least traction will continue to move forward.
This will cause the car to spin uncontrollably on the road, with the wheel with the highest traction as the center of rotation.
To illustrate this, hold the two ends of a string in both hands. Move both hands forward at the same speed first, then move one hand faster than the other. The faster hand will start to rotate around the slower hand.
ABS And Keeping Control During Braking
You will not lose control of your vehicle if the four wheels continue to turn during braking. This is one of the ways how ABS provides you with continuous steering control during braking.
The ABS detects the rotational speed of all four wheels. If one of the wheels starts to rotate slower than the others, the ABS will release the brake pad on that wheel to match its movement with the rest of the wheels.
This also prevents spinning out of control when braking over roads with uneven traction.
The intermittent release of the brakes on the front wheels allows you to steer your car because the wheels are still rolling, giving you steering control. Thus, you can steer to avoid collision while stepping on the brakes, thanks to the ABS system.
What Is An OBD Code?
Now that we're done with the first part of the puzzle, let's talk about the second part—the OBD code.
OBD stands for onboard diagnostics. It is a computer system inside your Silverado and all other cars manufactured since the 1980s.
This computer system was developed to work with the different sensors inside your car. It uses the information from the sensors to determine if it needs to alert the driver of a potential issue.
The development of the OBD system allows mechanics to plug into the system, collect vehicle data, and diagnose problems.
OBD diagnostic codes are helpful in discovering the cause of vehicle problems.
However, not all car problems will generate a code. Intermittent issues, for example, will likely not produce a code.
Some systems share sensors. And if one of the systems starts to fail, it can trigger a light on the other systems using the same sensor but may not trigger a code.
Loose Wiring On The ABS Sensor
A loose sensor fits the situation of having an intermittent issue—sometimes it will work, sometimes it will not. Checking an intermittent issue requires time, patience, and the right tools.
Most of the time, a mechanic will be able to locate the problem faster and fix it.
Do Worn Tires Trigger The ABS Light In My Silverado?
This is an example of a system that shares a sensor with the ABS system.
Traction control also uses the rotational speed sensor of the ABS. If your Silverado has the traction control feature, worn tires will trigger a problem with the traction control.
This will cause the ABS light to turn on but not generate any code.
Replacing worn tires will eliminate this problem and keep your Silverado safe to drive.
Will Bad Wheel Alignment Trigger My Truck's ABS Light?
A bad wheel alignment can trigger the ABS light because it can cause the sensor to fail to read the wheel's rotational speed.
Moreover, the traction control will detect insufficient pressure on the problematic wheel. Low pressure will come from the irregular angle of contact of the wheel because of the misalignment.
Bring your car to a tire center to check the alignment of your wheels. It is a good idea to periodically bring your Silverado in for an alignment check every two to three years to prevent this error.
Keeping your wheels in alignment will help maintain even tire wear. This also prevents premature wearing of your axles and powertrain.
What Does An ABS Ring Do?
The ABS ring is a type of gear that helps the ABS speed sensor determine the rotational speed of the wheels. The sensor counts the interval between gear teeth and spaces to determine wheel velocity.
A high number of alternations between the gear tooth and the space means that the wheels rotate at a high speed.
Will A Rusty ABS Ring Trigger My ABS Light?
A rusty ABS ring will make it difficult for the speed sensor to determine the wheel's speed because rust can fill the spaces between the gear teeth. This will trigger the ABS light because the sensor is having difficulty determining the speed.
Clean the ABS ring of rust and check if this gets rid of the ABS light. If the ABS light is still on, the ABS ring will need a replacement.
ABS Speed Sensor Fault
The anti-lock brakes will stop functioning once the speed sensor stops working. This will trigger the ABS light on your dashboard.
This means that the ECU will stop getting information from the speed sensor. Without the data from the speed sensors, the ECU will no longer be able to determine if any of the wheels are locking up from braking.
The ABS light informs the driver that the ABS is unusable until repairs or replacement of the speed sensor is complete.
A sensor fault can be a problem with the sensor, the wiring of the sensor, or too much dirt covering the sensor or the ABS ring.
If rust on the ABS ring makes it difficult for the sensor to do a speed reading, imagine the ABS ring and the sensor getting covered in mud.
Dirty ABS rings and ABS sensors can cause this problem, especially if you were driving your Silverado off road before you had the ABS light.
Try cleaning your Silverado thoroughly and check if the ABS light will go away. If not, bring it to a mechanic to check the sensor and the wiring.
Bad Wheel Bearing
The wheel bearings in your car help reduce the friction from the constant turning of the wheels of your Silverado.
Failing wheel bearings can cause the wheel to wobble, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the speed sensor to take a speed reading because the position of the ABS ring shifts along with the wheel's rotation.
Sometimes, this problem will throw a speed sensor code but not always. Even if it doesn't throw a code, it will still trigger the ABS light on your dashboard.
Bring your Silverado to a mechanic to check and replace the wheel bearing.
There are several reasons why the ABS light will turn on without a corresponding code. Always check each one to eliminate the possible suspects and get to the real cause of the problem.
Unless you are confident that you can do it yourself, bringing your Silverado to a mechanic is always better to avoid making the problem worse.
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