ABS Won’t Work After Mudding? Here’s Why And How To Fix It 


ABS systems are very important safety devices that can help you avoid losing control of your car when you brake hard. If you have gone mudding and you notice that the ABS sensor light is on or that your ABS doesn’t seem to be working, don’t worry. It isn’t the end of the world. This problem is pretty well known in the mudding community and could be one of a few things that are happening to your car. 

Why won’t my ABS work after mudding? The likely reason your ABS doesn’t work after you have gone mudding is that one or multiple of the ABS sensors have been covered in dirt or debris and can’t properly sense when ABS is needed. Another possible reason may be due to a connection that has come loose or has been damaged.

Some off-roaders have mixed feelings about ABS and feel like it just gets in the way when they try to off-road so they might not care too much if the ABS stops working while they are in the middle of off-roading. The problem is once you stop off-roading you are going to want the ABS working in your car. Trying to keep control of your car when you slam on the brakes is going to be very difficult if not impossible if you don’t have a working ABS.

Reasons Why ABS Isn’t Working After Mudding

Good mudders know that when you go, mud gets everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Mud is going to get into every little nook and cranny of your car’s underside if you are mudding hard enough. ABS sensors are going to be clogged up and aren’t going to be able to make contact with your brake system. This will cause a warning light to turn on and stay on until you can get the sensors cleaned. This could be annoying as the light could keep bugging you and it might cause the ABS to go off during times when it isn’t needed. 

Connections and wires may have been knocked loose. These connections could be either to the ABS itself or to one of the sensors. This problem could occur from the amount of jarring that the car is going through or perhaps a piece of debris or something knocked into the connection causing it to come loose.

These broken connections will cause faulty warning lights to come on. Even if the sensors are causing the light to show up on your dashboard, your ABS still should be able to function properly unless there is something else that is contributing to the problem. 

Other problems are completely possible such as a computer or module malfunction. The traction control system and the ABS are closely linked so there might be a problem with either of these systems and it might be affecting the other. It also may be something very simple like having low brake fluid or low tire pressure. Either of these things can make the car think that there is something wrong with the braking or wheel speed. If you do end up in a situation where the ABS stops working, don’t panic. 

You will still be able to drive just fine without the ABS and just take extra caution so you can avoid having to slam on the brakes and engage the ABS. The ABS is a very important safety system in your vehicle so if you do find that it stops working for any reason, you need to try to figure out how to get it working as quickly as possible. You wouldn’t want to get into an accident that could have been avoided if you had your ABS working. 

How To Fix ABS After Mudding

Giving your car a good wash with a good power washer is plenty to clean off all of the gunk that has built up. If you are still having problems with the sensor, then you might need to try to crawl under the car and get a better angle to try and clean off the sensors. If the sensor is still detecting a fault then you can always try removing the wheels and cleaning the sensors that way. 

If you seem to have cleaned off the sensors well enough and you can’t see any more dirt built up around the sensors then you may want to start to consider it could be something else messing with the ABS. 

To fix broken connections in your car, you are most likely going to want to take it to a shop. At a shop, technicians are going to have a lot more of the tools that you would want to locate and fix these broken connections. These shouldn’t be hard fixes; all that would need to be done is to replace a few wires or even just reconnect wires if they have come loose from their connection points. 

If you are having computer or module problems, one of the only ways to fix this is to take it to a shop. Without specific training then there isn’t way to be able to repair a car’s computer. Running a diagnostics test can help you get directly to the root of the problem if you find your ABS not working. In the case of low brake fluid or tire pressure, then you should be able to fix these problems by just adding more brake fluid or adding more air to your tires. Both things you should be able to handle yourself without much difficulty. 

How To Maintain An ABS System (Especially For Offroaders)

There are a few very simple things that you can do to help maintain the ABS on your car. Maintaining your ABS is going to be important for the safety of not only you and those who drive in your car but everyone that drives around you as well. Once your ABS gets damaged it can be a real pain to fix it and will cost more money than just making sure you take care of it and maintain it well. Prevention and maintenance are always easier than having to replace or repair something. 

First off, not overusing your ABS can help to keep it working well for the life of your vehicle. You don’t have the choice of when your vehicle decides to use your ABS but what you do have control over is how safely and cautiously you drive. This can help avoid situations where you would need to slam on the brakes. 

The ABS will engage when there is sudden, hard use of the brakes so leaving plenty of space between you and the next car, driving the speed limit, and being aware of your surroundings are all things that you can do to help avoid overuse of the ABS. 

Secondly, keeping your brakes clean can help to keep your ABS working well. As I talked about earlier, getting mud on your brakes can clog up sensors and make it hard for your car to know when it needs to use the ABS.

Keeping your brakes clean and giving them a good wash after you go mudding or anything of the sort can help them. Having your breaks regularly serviced can also help keep your brakes working well which will, in turn, help your ABS. Brakes are one of the most important parts of off-roading and having a good pair of brakes could save your life out on the trails. 

Should You Disable The ABS System While Mudding?

Disabling your ABS while mudding or off-roading can be very dangerous and frankly there isn’t any reason that you would need to. Your vehicle doesn’t magically get any better off-roading or mudding capabilities when you disable the ABS. Nowadays, cars are plenty smart to be able to know when ABS is necessary and have the technology needed to help give your car the best traction and control in all situations. 

The only situation in which you may want to disable the ABS is in a situation where you are going down a very steep hill that is made up of gravel or sand. In this situation, you would want your wheels to completely lock up but the other 95% of the time that you are mudding or off-roading you are going to want the ABS on. To disable your ABS, the simplest thing you can do is to remove the fuse that is connected to the ABS. Even though this is a possibility, manufacturers don’t recommend this approach so you are going to be doing this at your own risk. 

Related Questions

Can you add ABS To a car? It is possible to add ABS to a vehicle. You’ll likely hear that it is not possible because it can be a very complicated process and cost quite a bit of money. To put an ABS system in a vehicle that originally doesn’t have one will be extremely expensive and likely will require customization to make sure it works correctly. Click here to view the full article. 

Is rear-wheel drive good in the mud? Rear-wheel drive is the worst powertrain option when it comes to driving in the mud. Rear-wheel drive means there is no additional power coming from the front of the vehicle. With the power being applied from behind the center of mass of the vehicle, this often results in spinning out, sliding around, and getting stuck. To see the article in full, click here.

Amanda Cannon

Amanda has an ever growing knowledge of cars with her education beginning when she was a little girl. She was frequently seen working on cars with her dad and today can be seen working on a 1966 Bronco, 1968 Firebird, and modifying her 2022 Bronco.

Recent Posts