How to Fix ABS & Traction Control Warning Lights?

How to Fix ABS & Traction Control Warning Lights

Driving down the road when suddenly the ABS and traction control warning lights come on in your Jeep Patriot’s dashboard – every driver’s nightmare. What does it mean when both the ABS and traction control lights are illuminated at the same time in your Jeep Patriot and how can you properly diagnose and fix the issue? Having these important safety systems disabled can affect braking performance and handling, especially in wet or icy conditions.

The good news is, with the right troubleshooting, you can often resolve the problem yourself without an expensive trip to the mechanic. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk through the common causes of simultaneous ABS and traction control lights, steps to accurately diagnose the issue, and the best repairs to get both systems back up and running properly again.

Understanding the ABS and Traction Control Systems

First, let’s quickly go over what the ABS and traction control in your Jeep Patriot do:

  • ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) – Prevents the wheels from locking up and skidding during emergency braking situations. This allows you to maintain steering control while hard braking.
  • Traction Control – Helps prevent wheel spin by braking individual wheels when loss of traction is detected. Improves handling and stability on slippery surfaces.

Both systems use a series of wheel speed sensors and advanced electronics to monitor wheel speeds and adjust braking pressure as needed to optimize braking performance and traction.

When the ABS and traction control lights come on at the same time, it means both systems have been disabled due to a detected issue. Now let’s look at the most common causes:

Common Causes of Simultaneous ABS and Traction Control Lights

There are a few typical culprits that can trigger the dreaded double warning light situation in your Jeep Patriot’s dashboard:

1. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor

One of the most common reasons both lights come on is a faulty wheel speed sensor. Your Patriot has individual sensors at each wheel that monitor how fast each one is rotating. This data is sent to the ABS and traction control module to operate the systems.

If one or more of these sensors is damaged, has corroded wiring, or is providing inaccurate data, it will trigger disablement of both systems and turn on the warning lights as a precaution.

2. Bad ABS Control Module

The ABS control module is essentially the “brain” of the ABS and traction control systems. It takes data from the wheel speed sensors and adjusts braking pressure at each wheel to optimize braking performance.

If the ABS control module itself is malfunctioning due to an internal electronic issue or programming error, it can simultaneously disable the systems and cause the warning lights.

3. Loose Wiring Connections

On top of individual sensor failures, loose wiring connections either at the sensors themselves or at the ABS module can interrupt the data signals needed to operate the ABS and traction control.

Corrosion, vibration, or accidental unplugging during repair work can all lead to loose sensor or module wiring connections that trigger the lights.

4. Low Brake Fluid

One other possibility is low brake fluid causing disablement of the ABS and traction control systems. Why? The ABS and traction control rely on adequate pressure in the brake hydraulic system to function properly.

If the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir level falls below the minimum mark, it can introduce air into the ABS pump and lines. This leads to inadequate pressure for the ABS and traction control valve operation, so both systems are disabled as a precaution.

Now that you understand the most common issues that can cause the simultaneous ABS and traction control warning lights, let’s go over how to accurately diagnose the problem in your Jeep Patriot.

How to Diagnose Simultaneous ABS and Traction Control Lights?

When you see those dreaded double warning lights illuminate in your Patriot’s dash, don’t panic. Take a methodical approach to diagnosing and resolving the issue:

Step 1: Scan for Diagnostic Trouble Codes

The first step is to connect an OBD2 scanner tool and pull any ABS or traction control related diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Since the ABS and traction control systems are disabled, one or more codes will be stored pointing to the faulty component.

Some common trouble codes you may retrieve include:

  • C1096 – Indicates a right front wheel speed sensor signal loss
  • C1101 – Signals an ABS pump motor relay failure
  • C1175 – Indicates a steering angle sensor performance issue

The specific trouble code(s) will help steer your diagnosis in the right direction.

Step 2: Inspect the Wheel Speed Sensors

If you retrieved a wheel speed sensor related trouble code like C1096, visually inspect each sensor. Look for:

  • Damage or cracks in the sensor housing
  • Bent or corroded wires
  • Buildup of debris on the end that reads the tone ring

Also unplug each connector and check for corrosion or looseness. Any sensor showing damage will need to be replaced.

Step 3: Check ABS Module and Fuses

If you didn’t find any wheel speed sensor issues, next inspect the ABS module itself under the hood. Check that it is securely bolted into place with no loose wiring connections. Also check all fuses related to the ABS and traction control systems in the underhood fuse box. Replace any blown fuses.

Step 4: Test Brake Fluid Level

As mentioned earlier, low brake fluid can disable the systems. Check that the fluid level in the brake master cylinder reservoir is between the minimum and maximum lines. If it’s low, top it off and bleed the brakes to remove any air.

Step 5: Clear Codes and Test Drive

After completing all inspection and repairs, use your scanner tool to clear stored ABS and traction control codes. Then do a test drive, accelerating to around 30 mph and braking hard. The warning lights should stay off if the repair was successful.

Following this systematic troubleshooting process will help you get to the root cause of your Jeep Patriot’s ABS and traction control warning lights. Next, let’s get into the best repair options.

How to Repair Simultaneous ABS and Traction Control Lights?

Once you’ve completed the diagnosis process outlined above and identified the specific issue causing the warning lights in your Patriot, here are the best ways to fix the problem:

Replace a Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor

If your diagnosis pointed to a damaged or faulty wheel speed sensor, replacement is straightforward. Sensors cost around $50 individually and take 1-2 hours to replace. Match the new part number to the failed sensor’s location – RF (right front), RR (right rear), etc.

Be sure to carefully remove any debris from the sensor mounting area on the steering knuckle or axle flange. Also use electrical connector grease on the new sensor’s wiring harness plugs to prevent corrosion. Clear codes and test drive to confirm repair.

Repair Wiring Connection Issues

For any corroded or loose wiring connections found at the individual wheel speed sensors or at the ABS module during diagnosis, carefully repair or replace any damaged wires. Use wire crimp connectors and electrical tape for sensor wires, and ensure connectors are fully seated at the ABS module.

Replace Faulty ABS Control Module

If you confirmed through diagnosis the ABS control module itself has failed, replacement will be necessary. OEM replacement modules can be expensive, so quality aftermarket units are a more cost-effective fix. Independent mechanics can also often reprogram a salvaged ABS module.

Programming will be required after installation so the replacement module functions properly with your Patriot’s systems. This usually requires dealer equipment.

Bleed Brakes to Restore Pressure

In cases where low brake fluid triggered the disablement of the ABS and traction control systems, bleed the brakes to remove any air that may have entered the hydraulic lines and pump.

Start with the rear wheels, then move to the front. Have an assistant pump the pedal while you open each bleeder screw until clean, air-free fluid flows out. This will restore proper pressure.

Preventing Future ABS and Traction Control Issues

To help avoid seeing those pesky double warning lights again in your Jeep Patriot, here are some tips:

  • Check brake fluid level – Periodically inspect the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir to make sure it’s always between the min and max lines. Top off as needed.
  • Address sensor corrosion – Use dielectric grease on the electrical connectors of the wheel speed sensors to prevent corrosion.
  • Have debris cleaned out – If you drive in muddy or salty conditions, have the wheel speed sensors inspected and cleaned of debris buildup.
  • Listen for sensor damage – Unusual noises or sensations from the wheels over bumps may indicate a damaged tone ring or sensor. Address immediately.
  • Fix leaks – Oil leaks, coolant leaks, or other fluid leaks in sensor areas can ruin them over time. Repair any leaks promptly.

With vigilance and care, you can maximize the lifespan of your Jeep Patriot’s ABS and traction control systems. But if those dreaded lights do come on, use this guide to get them fixed and stay safe on the road.


Seeing the ABS and traction control warning lights simultaneously illuminated in your Jeep Patriot’s dash can certainly be worrying. But in most cases, with some methodical troubleshooting and the right repair, you can resolve the issue and get both systems functioning properly again.

The most common causes are faulty wheel speed sensors, wiring problems, a bad ABS module, or low brake fluid triggering disablement. By carefully following the diagnosis process and repair recommendations in this guide, you can save on expensive mechanic bills and keep your Patriot’s important safety systems running their best for the long haul.

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