When those ABS warning lights come on, get thee to a dealership. Fast!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I drive a '93 Honda Accord EX. I've owned the car since it was new and have had virtually no mechanical problems. But recently the car started doing something I can't figure out. Periodically, the ABS light will come on while driving and the radio will cut out. This will last for less than a second, after which the ABS light will go out and the radio will come back on. There's never any problem with braking. Sometimes it does this several times an hour. Other times it never does it at all. What's going on? -- Vic

RAY: I have no idea, Vic. And to make matters worse, I'm going to send you to your dealer.

TOM: And it's something you really do want to get fixed. When that ABS light is on, your anti-lock braking system (ABS) is not working. Your BRAKES may work
because there's a fail-safe mode that allows them to keep functioning when the ABS fails, but if you needed your anti-lock system, you wouldn't have it.

RAY: And if a UPS truck happens to pull out of a driveway just as your ABS light is on, you may quickly find yourself strewn among the overnight book deliveries
from Amazon.com and the Bloomingdales returns.

TOM: I doubt it's something as simple as a fuse problem, since the ABS and radio use different fuses on this car. If I had to guess, I'd say it's more likely to be a bad
ground somewhere.

RAY: Your dealer can start by shaking the wires underneath the dashboard to see if he can get the problem to recur. But if he doesn't find it that way, he's going to have
to do some more serious investigative work. And the dealer is definitely the place to go. This is one of those problems that's so unusual, that the dealer is the only person
who MAY have seen it before and MAY be able to figure it out without lots of exploratory work.

TOM: This is one downside of our great technological revolution. Stuff like ABS is great when it works. But when it breaks, you're stuck fixing it -- and paying to fix it.
Good luck, Vic.

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