Toyota 4Runner 1996-2002: Why is ABS Light On?

The ABS warning light comes on when there is an issue with your Toyota 4Runner's ABS system. Read on to learn how to diagnose it.

By Bassem Girgis - February 5, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota 4Runner (1996-2002).

The Toyota 4Runner is equipped with a bunch of sensors connected to most components; they are there to make your life easier. When a certain warning light comes on, it's an indication that something has went wrong with this specific part. When it comes to the brakes, most people prefer not to drive their vehicles until they discover the culprit. So if you're staring at an ABS warning light, keep reading to learn how you can diagnose it yourself in your Toyota 4Runner.

Toyota 4Runner Why is ABS Light On

Material Needed

  • Flashlight

Step 1 – Check brake fluid

It could be low.

The brake fluid could impact the ABS warning light. Check the brake fluid reservoir to make sure it's full; if it's low on fluid, be sure to check under the vehicle for any leaks. The only reason your reservoir could be low is if you have a brake leak. Use your flashlight to check all of the brake lines under under the car. Check the brake lines' connections for any leaks.

Toyota 4Runner brake fluid reservoir
Figure 1. Check brake fluid reservoir.

If the brake fluid level is proper, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 – Check ABS wires

They could be worn or cracked.

The ABS wires, connected to the sensor on each wheel hub, can get worn and crack over time. Go to each wheel and follow the wire up; if it looks rough, work, cracked, or has any signs of tears, then you might have found your problem. Replacing the wires isn't a hard process; however, it requires you to work in a tight area.

ABS sensor and wire
Figure 2. Follow the wire from the ABS sensor.

If the ABS wires are in good shape, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 – Clean ABS sensors

They could be dirty.

There are four ABS sensors on your Toyota 4Runner, located at each wheel hub. These sensors are located right in the battlefield, which means they aren't hidden anywhere, and overtime, they get dirty and collect grime on them, which can block them and cause the warning light to go on. Simply pull the ABS sensor on each wheel, behind the hub, and clean it thoroughly. Make sure it looks completely clean with no dirt on it.

Toyota 4Runner ABS sensors, cleaning
Figure 3. Clean all four ABS sensors.

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