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ABS Diagnostic Fault Code Keeps Returning

We had a conversation with a customer a few days ago and though we would do a short write up of the situation incase anybody else has the same problem. The customer in question had an ABS light (aswell as the DSC & handbrake light) showing his vehicle (it was a BMW). The customer used the C110 diagnostic tool to clear the ABS lights on his vehicle and initially the code & faults were cleared. The customer was quite happy in the fact that the codes were clear and all was well, however the fault codes returned soon after clearing them and a short drive.

Having asked the customer if the faults within the ABS module had actually been fixed rather than cleared, he told us that the fault codes were simply erased and he thought that was that. It is a common mistake to be made, and also happens when clients are trying to erase codes for other systems such as airbags (srs system) and engine faults.

In modern vehicles, the ECU is constantly scanning for vehicle errors and problems, and once it finds a problem 3 times it will 'log' the error by way of creating a diagnostic trouble code. If the ECU deems the fault to be serious it will display a warning light on the dashboard to make you aware that there is an issue.

When you have a diagnostic code that has been cleared, it will soon come back if the initial fault has not been fixed. So in this case the fault returned because the problem had not actually been dealt with.

As it turns out the fault code he was recieving was because of a faulty ABS sensor which needed to be replaced. Once the sensor was replaced the dash light were automatically turned off by the ECU after a few seconds of vehicle movement, however the faults still remained, at this point it was correct to erase the fault codes from the ECU.

Again, the ECU ran a scan of the ABS system within the vehicle and found no more faults, because the sensor had been replaced there was no longer a problem.
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