4 Symptoms Of A Bad ABS Reluctor Ring (& Replacement Cost) (2023)

As automotive technology has advanced, safety systems have also been improved and expanded to provide a better user experience.

Today, the anti-lock braking system is a component of almost all modern vehicles. It is specifically designed to help you regulate your vehicle’s braking ability in an emergency.

As soon as the braking system starts to show problematic symptoms, you should tackle it as soon as possible rather than waiting to repair it.

In this article, we look at the symptoms of a bad ABS reluctor ring, location, function, and the replacement cost if you need to replace it. Here’s a quick view of what signs to look for:

The most common symptom of a bad ABS ring is an illuminated ABS light on the dashboard. You may also notice signs like a pulsating brake pedal while braking at lower speeds. If you drive on slippery surfaces, you may notice that there is not ABS function.

You can experience a lot of strange symptoms when one of the ABS rings starts to disfunction. Here is a more detailed list of symptoms of a bad ABS tone ring.

Bad ABS Ring Symptoms

1. ABS Light Comes On

4 Symptoms Of A Bad ABS Reluctor Ring (& Replacement Cost) (1)

The most obvious indication of a problem with the ABS system is that the ABS Light appears on your car’s dashboard. The ABS light could also be called a check engine light in some cars that do not have a separate indicator light for the ABS frame.

The moment the light comes on is usually the main sign indicating that there could be a problem with your car’s ABS. You may have developed a problem with one of the sensors or a ring in the system.

2. Brake Pedal Pulsating at Low Speeds

4 Symptoms Of A Bad ABS Reluctor Ring (& Replacement Cost) (2)

Your car’s brake pedal can sometimes pulsate at low speeds or make a popping sound, just like when driving on ice. This means that your ABS is activated unnecessarily at low speed. This is a clear indication of a defective ABS ring.

A defective ABS ring is not considered a fault by the system, which is why the ABS warning light does not light up at first but only lights up when the system has completely switched off.

On various occasions, it may even go on and off several times. A faulty ABS ring provides a false signal, which causes the car’s electrical control unit to start the anti-lock braking system just before the car stops or even switch it off completely, reducing control of the car and extending the braking distance.

Normally, in most cases, you will only need to replace the ABS rings, and it is not necessary to completely replace the driveshaft and/or the joints.

3. No ABS function

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During essential braking operations, the ABS should normally be activated to reduce the speed of the vehicle. Simultaneously, the loss of traction and skidding should be eliminated or reduced to an insignificant level.

If you notice that the car needs more time to stop under overwhelming braking conditions or starts to skid and lose traction, this indicates a faulty ABS. This could be due to excessively corroded ABS rings or a cracked ABS ring sending a faulty pulse to the ABS control unit, interrupting the ABS braking process.

This mostly happens if the ABS light is lightened up on your dashboard, though, so be sure to repair the problem immediately if you see it.

4. Sudden braking from nowhere

4 Symptoms Of A Bad ABS Reluctor Ring (& Replacement Cost) (4)

Some cars do also have a braking function in the ABS control unit, BMW especially.

With a brake system like this, the car can think that the car is skidding if an ABS toner ring is defective. This can cause the car to correct the skidding, which might be hazardous when the car is braking suddenly out of nowhere.

What is an ABS Reluctor Ring?

4 Symptoms Of A Bad ABS Reluctor Ring (& Replacement Cost) (5)

The anti-lock braking system consists of a controller, a speed sensor, valves, and the ABS speed sensor toner ring.

The system maintains the traction of the tires on the road, and the brakes’ performance at high speeds is significantly improved.

The ABS speed sensor ring is the main component of the entire system. It carefully monitors the speed of the wheels and transmits important signals that can alert the system electronically.

If the brake is applied heavily, the extra force applied can lock the wheels using the brake discs, which can cause the car to skid on the road. This is very dangerous but is mitigated by the ABS ring function.

The ring is used to detect the difference from the other wheels’ speed and generate a signal to the controller. If the ABS ring fails, the controlled ABS receives incorrect readings.

ABS Ring Location

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The ABS Rings are usually located around the driveshafts or the wheel hubs on most car models.

The front rings are often installed on the driveshafts if you have a front-wheel driven cars. Otherwise, you will most likely find them around the wheel bearings or wheel hubs.

The rear rings are often located on the rear driveshafts if you have a rear-wheel-drive car and around the wheel bearing/wheel hub otherwise. You can also find one ring inside of the differential on some rear-wheel-drive cars instead of two separate.

Furthermore, the quality is not much better than the front rings, which puts them in a more vulnerable state. If you have a 4×4 car, you will most likely find the ABS rings on all drive shafts.

ABS Ring Replacement Cost

The average ABS ring replacement cost is between $60 and $300, depending on the car model and labor costs. An ABS Ring costs $10 to $50 and labor costs $50 to $250.

The ABS rings themselves are often very cheap. The problem comes if there is no way to replace or buy just the ABS ring. You have to replace the whole driveshaft or whole wheel bearing and hub to replace the ABS ring in some car models. On these models, it will, of course, be much more expensive.

The labor costs are sometimes even higher than the part itself, mainly because the replacement process requires removing wheels and many other parts, which can be time-consuming. But then it also depends on the technician and what he will charge you for it.


How much does it cost to replace a Reluctor ring? ›

The average ABS ring replacement cost is between $60 and $300, depending on the car model and labor costs. An ABS Ring costs $10 to $50 and labor costs $50 to $250.

What does ABS Reluctor ring do? ›

The reluctor ring is the part that the ABS wheel speed sensor uses to generate the signal back to the ABS control module.

How do I test my ABS Reluctor ring? ›

The crack in the ring can be easily viewed with the vehicle in lock. Just rotate the wheel slowly and check for a gap in the ring or excessive corrosion. In almost all cases it will be on the front wheels only (we know of only one case on the rear wheels). One or two rings may be required.

How much does it cost to fix an ABS fault? ›

The total cost of parts and labor to replace an ABS control module can be anywhere between $320 and $1,000 depending on the cost of the control module itself and how difficult it is to find.

What is a Reluctor ring? ›

The reluctor ring is mounted on the crankshaft so that as the crankshaft rotates the magnetic sensor is triggered by notches in the reluctor ring. The magnetic sensor provides position information to the electronic control module, which governs ignition timing.

How much does it cost to replace an ABS sensor? ›

The average ABS wheel speed sensor replacement cost is between $200 and $400 per sensor, depending on the car model and labor costs. You can expect to pay about $100 to $150 for the wheel speed sensor and another $100 to $300 for the labor.

How do you remove a Reluctor ring? ›

ABS/Tone Ring Replacement - YouTube

How do you fit a Reluctor ring? ›

How to replace a broken ABS Reluctor Ring to your car - slotted ring

What is a Reluctor? ›

ignition systems

In ignition system. …a magnetic device, called a reluctor, that is operated by the distributor shaft to produce timed electric signals, which are amplified and used to control the current to the induction coil.

Is it safe to drive with a broken tone ring? ›

It is completely safe to drive except that you will not have either anti-lock brakes (we got by for decades without that) or 4WD.

Are ABS expensive? ›

ABS is also relatively inexpensive (prices, currently around $1.50 per pound, typically fall somewhere between those of Polypropylene ("PP") and Polycarbonate (“PC”). ABS plastic is not typically used in high heat situations due to its low melting point.

How much does a ABS pump cost? ›

The ABS control module should cost between $150 and $900 for parts, and the rest is labor costs. If you complete the replacement yourself, labor won't run you anything. Otherwise, professional fees might run from $80 to $300, depending on how accessible the module is.

How much does it cost to fix ABS and brake light? ›

Estimated total cost: $280–$600

A good mechanic will charge about $100 for the initial diagnosis. Many ABS components are very accessible, so labor for most repairs will not run high typically in the $100 to $150 range.

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