The DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota team stands behind Toyota models, because we know they represent the leading edge of automotive engineering and safety. Not only do they continue to introduce the latest advances in safety features, but they also maintain a commitment to tried and tested standards, such as Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS). Let us explain why ABS has become such a necessity in automotive safety.

How It Works

When drivers encounter sudden obstacles or potential collisions in the road, the natural response is to “slam” on the brakes. However, immediately stopping the wheels at high speeds can do more harm than good, because it can cause skidding or make it impossible to turn the vehicle to avoid a collision. This is where ABS comes in handy. The ABS will counter-act the natural “slamming” on the brakes by automatically pulsing the brakes when lock-ups are detected. The driver can continue to hold down the brakes, and the vehicle will automatically maintain the appropriate pressure to avoid locking up the wheels. All new Toyota models include ABS as a standard safety feature, so you can rest easy out on the road.

ABS in Ice or Snow

Because the ABS is essentially pumping the brakes for you, then the logical assumption is that manually pumping the brakes is not necessary in ice or snow conditions, but there’s more to the story. When the road is partially covered in ice, ABS can detect the difference with spinning wheels and locked wheels, so it will work as normal. However, when the road is entirely covered in ice, all four wheels can lock simultaneously when the brakes are applied, causing the ABS to think the vehicle is stopped and thus stop working. Therefore, in extreme conditions with total ice coverage on the road, the driver should stick to manually pumping the brakes for optimal traction.

In snow conditions, an entirely different set of circumstances occurs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) studied the effects of hard braking in loose gravel and snow. They found that the locked tires dig into the loose gravel or snow, forming a wedge in front of the tires. This resulted in faster stopping compared to manual pumping by the driver or automatic pumping by the ABS. Therefore, the driver should always maintain slower speeds and greater stopping distances in the event of heavy snow on the roads. In fact, many new Toyota models come available with traction control features to complement ABS for this very reason.

The ABS Light

One of the warning lights you’ll notice in your vehicle dash is the yellow ABS light (not to be confused with the red Brake light). This light will automatically come on when you start your vehicle, letting you know that the ABS sensors are working properly. However, if the light stays on, you may have a problem that needs attention. The issues can range from malfunctions in the ABS sensors to blown fuses, so it’s best to have trained professionals to diagnose the issue.


If your ABS light stays on after ignition, you should definitely let the factory-certified team of technicians in our Service Department take a look. Don’t delay! Schedule your service online for a quick and easy diagnosis.