Bad ABS sensor: Can It Cause Vibrations? [Explained]

The car’s anti-lock brake system (ABS) prevents wheel lockup when you’re braking hard by automatically modulating the hydraulic pressure that builds up in the brake lines according to how much the wheels are slipping.

If you have a problem with ABS, you may notice that your brakes vibrate or shake when you stop. This is caused by the ABS modulating the brake pedal. it’s a safe and normal function.

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Can a bad abs sensor cause vibration?

Yes, a bad abs sensor can cause vibration, at least until the car has been serviced to replace it.

Generally, a soft brake pedal also may indicate a problem with an ABS sensor or wheel speed sensor, though these are separate systems.

If the ABS light stays on after the vehicle is started, there may be a problem with the ABS system or wheel speed sensor.

The ABS sensor monitors wheel speed while the computer compares that information to how fast the wheels should be spinning given vehicle speed and accelerator position.

A bad abs sensor can cause vibration, at least until the car has been serviced to replace it.

In cases where a bad ABS sensor or wheel speed sensor is causing problems, typically something will need to be reset in the computer after the new part is installed, such as an anti-relearn procedure in which the powertrain control module (PCM) resets itself by driving the car for about 20 minutes.

Some vehicles will record ABS faults in the powertrain control module’s memory, which can be retrieved through a diagnostic scan tool.

Rough or uneven braking may also indicate that an ABS sensor is bad, at least until the car has been serviced to replace it.

If the brakes vibrate when the ABS is turned on, it means the ABS is probably working.

What are the symptoms of a bad ABS sensor?

If you experience any of these symptoms it is likely you have a bad ABS sensor.

Symptoms of a bad ABS sensor include:

  1. ABS light illuminated – The ABS light on the dashboard of your car might be illuminated when this happens. The sensors are connected to the car’s computer system, if one is broken it will trigger a bad sensor code.
  2. Pulses in the brake pedal – If you experience pulsing or extra pressure on the brake pedals, especially after driving at higher speeds then this could also indicate a bad sensor. The extra pressure means the car’s computer system is trying to engage the broken ABS sensor.
  3. Noise in brake pedal – If your brake pedal has become noisier it could indicate there is something wrong with the ABS. As the ABS engages it will cause this vibration and noise.
  4. Harder than usual brakes – You might notice that it feels like you have to push the brake pedal further into the floor to get the car to stop. The ABS engages, but since the sensor is malfunctioning your brakes will feel different from normal.
  5. The vehicle does not brake in a straight line- Another sign that you have a bad sensor is if your vehicle does not brake in a straight line. If the ABS breaks while going in a straighter line this won’t be an issue, but when turning it will cause the car to pull to one side or another.

What can a faulty ABS sensor cause?

A faulty ABS sensor can cause the following issues:

  1. Loss of stability
  2. Traction control

Can you drive with a bad ABS sensor?

Basically, you can drive with a bad ABS sensor, because when you have a bad ABS sensor, the entire ABS system stop working. Hence, it is very dangerous and NOT recommended to drive with a bad ABS sensor.

Driving with a faulty ABS will not only cause the brakes to be hard, it can also reduce driver control of the car resulting in accidents or even fatalities. This is why it is NOT recommended to drive with a faulty ABS sensor.

Can bad brake pads cause ABS light to come on?

ABS light is one of the many indicators that shows various problems in your car. If you have ABS light on, there might be some things you should check out. The simplest thing is to check brake pads because if they’re not working properly, it could cause ABS warning.

Bad brake pads can cause ABS light to come on when you brake. It is because bad brake pads don’t have enough friction between brakes and rotors, which makes the wheel unable to stop with full force if brakes are applied quickly.

When ABS detects that your wheel speed changes too fast or slides, it interprets it as lockup and then releases the pressure on the brakes to prevent it from skidding. As the result, your car is not able to stop with full force and ABS light will come on.

Why do car ABS vibrate?

The vibration is caused by the pumping of your brakes multiple times in succession. This occurs when the anti-lock braking system (ABS) is activated, allowing you to retain control even on slippery surfaces.


A bad ABS sensor can cause vibration. If you notice any of the symptoms listed in the article and your vehicle does not brake in a straight line it’s possible that an ABS sensor is broken or malfunctioning.