How To Read Abs Codes (With or Without a Scanner)

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Once you notice your ABS lamp is engaged, it could mean two things: there are issues with your anti-lock braking system or there are conditions that trigger wrong ABS codes.

However, you’d have to still check and find what really goes wrong in your car ABS. 

Moreover, reading abs codes has become an issue and challenge for many car owners, especially for those who don’t have mechanical backgrounds. But the Best Autel Scanner easily helps you to read abs codes.

Only if you know how to read abs codes in your vehicle, you can do proper tests and troubleshoots in your ABS.

Can I use obdii to read abs codes

You can use the OBDii interface or ABS code scanner to read ABS codes that cover diverse problems in your anti-lock braking system.

However, you’d still have to check the system manually to confirm whether it’s a right or false ABS code.

Scanner tools can also clear the obdii codes but you’d have to check the ABS issues physically and fix the problems first.

How to read abs codes using a terminal obdii interface

One of the most eligible ways to read ABS codes is by using the terminal OBDii interface or adapter.

Abs code reader allows your device(computer or handheld devices) to communicate with the ABS module through two major procedures.

The first procedure is about setting up your device and we assume you’re using a desktop or laptop to engage in communication with the vehicle.

The second procedure is about sending particular commands to retrieve the codes.  

Both hardware and software are needed in reading ABS codes with this method.  While the procedure may vary for each interface and car model, these are some generic steps you can follow to use the OBDii interface for reading ABS codes:

  1. First of all, you need to download and install compatible OBDii software to your desktop or laptop computer. Ask the manufacturers and related providers to ensure the compatibility of instruments you’d use in this process.
  2. Connect your computer with the OBDii interface typically by pairing the Bluetooth adapter(if wireless) or  USB cable(if wired).  
  3. Each device may require different procedures but you typically need to plug the OBDii adapter/interface to your OBDii port in your vehicle first. When Bluetooth paired, ensure your computer/device is in range of the interface.
  4. If you use the Bluetooth connection, you need to set it up first on your computer. If this is your first times connecting with the device, then you need to add the interface as a newly paired device(COM Ports in Windows OS)
  5. Initialize the pairing between your computer and the OBDii interface until it’s confirmed. Ensure that a particular COM port has been assigned to your Bluetooth interface. Open OBDii explorer after they’re corresponded and choose the proper option of how you’d type and send the command.
  6. Confirm your OBDii option by clicking the button and you’re ready to type and send a command for reading the ABS codes procedure.
  7. Read the codes that appeared in your interface with the generic and manufacturer-specific OBDii code list.  However, the Abs codes you need to read are categorized in Chassis so it’s initiated with a “C” letter. The second digit for generic ABS codes is 0 and if it’s 1, then it’s a manufacturer-specific fault.  The last three digits refer to sub-categories of parts including 0-2(air and fuel mixture), 3(ignition), 4(auxiliary emission checking ), 5(engine idling), 6(computer modules and auxiliary outputs, and 7-9(transmissions/gearbox)

What are signs of a troubled abs module

There are particular signs of ABS modules being troubled or potentially troubled. In most cases, the ABS light in your dashboard would be on whenever the system recognizes irregularities or issues.

Then clear the abs light by scanner. Don’t know how to Reset Abs Light Without Scan Tool?

Your brake pedal may become less responsive or your brake pad becomes harder to push. In worse cases, drivers may experience locked brakes while driving which puts them in a life-endangering situation.

However, ABS light usually lights on even in the lightest cases so the owners should respond to them immediately.

What is A Generic ABS Code

Generic ABS codes are the ones universally adopted by OBD II-compliant vehicles. These codes typically cover common parts and speak for the general information regardless of the car makes and models.

Despite the generic ABS codes, these cars also have unique codes that are unique for particular auto brands, models, and makes which are typically called manufacturer-specific codes.

Generic ABS codes appear with “0” while manufacturer-specific codes with “1” in the second digit of the ABS codes.

Generic OBD-II Abs code list

There are hundreds of generic OBD-II Abs codes and you’d have thousands if they’re combined with manufacturer-specific codes.

In fact, the list of OBD-II Abs codes is continuously updated and you should keep up with the new abs code list as your references.

These are some generic OBD-II Abs codes you can use as references

Generic code (C0035 to C00238 )

  1. C0035 – C0051: This range of generic ABS code refers to the malfunctions and performance of wheel speed circuits. For example, C0040 informs you of the malfunctions in the right front wheel speed circuit while a C0041 informs the range of performance.
  2. C0060 – C0095: These are ABS codes that inform you of the Solenoid circuit malfunction. For example, code C0070 refers to the malfunction on the right front ABS solenoid while code C0090 refers to malfunction on the right rear ABS solenoid.  
  3. C00141 -C0156: When you ABS code within this range, there are malfunctions on the right or left TCS solenoid. If the code appears C0141, there is a circuit malfunction in the left TCS solenoid while C0151 refers to the circuit malfunctions in the right TCS solenoid.  
  4. C0161: When this code appears on the screen,  your ABS or TCS brake switch may be malfunctioning.
  5. C0221-C0237: Abs codes in this range inform you of the status of the wheel speed sensor or signal on your current system. The status includes the sensor circuit open, or signal is missing or erratic. For example, C0221 refers to a circuit open of the right front wheel speed sensor while C0222 is for the missing signal and C-223 is for the erratic signal.
  6. C0238: It’s the generic code to inform you of speed mismatching issues on your wheels.
  7. C0241 and C0254: If the code appears one of them,  then the problems may be in the circuit of the EBCM control valve. The two codes actually represent the same issues.

Generic code (C00265 to C00315)

  1. C0265 & C268: The two codes inform you of actual or potential problems in the EBCM relay circuit.
  2. C0267 & C0268: When one of these codes appears, then you might have the pump motor circuit open or shorted.
  3. C0271-C0273: This range of ABS codes refer to EBCM malfunctions but they’re not specified so physical checks may be required to find out the actual problems.
  4. C0290-C0292: The code C0290 and C0291 inform you of the lost communications with PCM while C0291 is for communication lost with the Body Control Module(BCM)
  5. C0297 and C0298:  When the powertrain configuration data cannot be received, you’d receive code C0297. On the other hand, you’d receive code C0298 when Powertrain traction control is malfunctioning.
  6. C0300 and C0305: Malfunctioning rear speed sensors would trigger code C0300 while the front speed sensor would send code C0305.
  7. C0306-C0315: This ABS code range is about motor circuit status including low(C0308), high(C0309), or open(310) while the c0306 doesn’t specify the status and the code C0315 informs about the open status of the motor ground circuit.

How to read abs codes without a scanner

Is it possible to read abs codes without a scanner? First of all, you need to get ABS codes and it’s only possible if you’re using a scanner that supports ABS module scanning.

If you already have codes, then you can read it using the generic ABS code list as your reference. ABS codes are covered in the Body DTC sub-category which is initiated with the letter “C”.

There might be multiple codes that appear with your scan tool but can figure them out quickly with the code list. This way, you can perform proper tests and troubleshoots the ABS error codes.

What Causes Malfunctions in ABS?

Anti-lock braking system modules consist of different parts but problems are usually caused by issues in sensors. ABS sensors can be either contaminated or damaged and that’s why your ABS light is on.

A scan tool may help you get the error codes but you would have to check them physically to ensure what’s actually troubled.

Innova 5510 Review (Abs/Srs scanner)


Terminal OBDii Interface is a helpful tool that helps your device to communicate with your vehicle and retrieve information from your anti-lock braking system.

This way, you can read the error code from your computer or handheld device and figure out the potential problems in your ABS.  You can use the ABS code list to interpret the codes provided by the OBDII interface.

ABS codes represent different parts of the module including solenoids, sensors, circuits, controllers, and so forth.

The most important thing after reading the ABS codes is to check your braking system physically or get mechanics to help you fix the problems.

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