: ABS & ESP Warning Lights

06-07-2009, 10:58
Hi everyone. New member here just after a little help please. Last week I bought a 55 reg astra sri 1.8i. Anyway when i test drove it the abs and esp warning lights came on. The dealer at the garage (it wasnt a vauxhall dealers) said if i bought the car he would fix whatever problem that was. When i collected the car there were no warning lights apparent. However i have noticed the two warning lights i saw on the test drive now dont come on at all. Even when all the others come on briefly at ignition there is no abs or esp light. I take it that this means the garage have done something to the warning lights rather than fixing the problem?? does anyone know how they would have achieved this?? would they have taken the bulbs out or disconnected the sensors or something?? how could i check?? ive had a look at the fuses and they seem in order. Am i right in believing that if i took the car for an MOT and these warning lights didnt show at ignition it would fail?? The car came with a 3 month warranty so i should be able to get this sorted but i would be very grateful if anyone could help with what the garage has most likely done and any suggestions as to wot the original problem might hav been. Im not too clued up on cars so please explain in idiots terms!! haha Many thanks in advance.

06-07-2009, 11:56
I'm no expert so can't tell you why the lights were on....but I wouldn't have bought the car without knowing the problems were fixed!

The garage shouldn't be saying "if you buy it we'll fix it" - that's just a con in my eyes. Sorry bud :)

06-07-2009, 15:10
The ESP uses the ABS sensors as an input, so it's not unknown for the two systems to show simultaneous failure. Yes, both lights should illuminate briefly when the ignition is switched on so, whatever the garage has done, it isn't operating as it should. Disconnecting sensors certainly would cause the lights to indicate failure, so it's unlikely the garage have done that. Not that easy I guess to remove bulbs either. It's my understanding that if the car has ABS and the system doesn't carry out a sucesful 'ignition on self-test' then it will fail an MOT. It will certainly fail if the ABS light stays on, but an 'unaware' tester might miss the fact it doesn't come on at all!


06-07-2009, 15:47
the garage has either smashed the leds or put something over them eg bluetack when you brake hard do the brakes lock up? also i am sure this is illegal as the car is kind of dangerous as it was sold with abs an that now am guessing that it does not work take it back and also tell them you want it fixing or you will report them to trading standards etc plus you will want some compo out if it as well.

which garage was it name and shame them on here. for other to be aware.


06-07-2009, 17:11
If you press and hold the 'Sport' buttonn to turn the ESP/TC off, the lamp should light on the dash (picture of the car skidding with the warning triangle around it). Should also say 'ESP OFF' in the mileage display.

They must have done something shady to stop the lights coming on - they are controlled through the CAN bus, the ABS controller sending a message to the instrument panel to switch the lights on. Its not like in the old days where there was a seperate wire for each warning light. As JohnS says, a car with ABS fitted will be inspected during an MOT and will fail if the ABS light does not illuminate and then go out a few seconds after the engine is started.

I would take the car back ASAP, and get them to sort it. If they were dodgy enough to do this in the first place, you may be in for a struggle to get anywhere with them.

I expect someone has connected a boost charger to the battery to get the car started at some point - quickest way to kill the ABS control unit!

06-07-2009, 19:35
thanks for the replies. well tonite i had a look around the wheels and all the sensor wires appeared intact. so i decided to strip the speedo out to get a look at the warnin lights.

surprise surprise black tape over the esp and the abs led's!!

gonna phone the garage tomorrow for an explanation. but to say im not happy is an understatement!! the garage is riverside car sales in castleford. F**kin cowboys!!

ive tried the 'pedal test' and get no error codes so i think the abs unit mite hav been fried as suggested above!!

i live in the north east as well so i can see a couple of 60mile trips up and down the a1 to sort this. i take it im well within my rights to just take the car back for a refund??

06-07-2009, 20:24
Chat with Trading Standards would not go amiss before you return the car.


06-07-2009, 20:39
as Anthony said if the car has been parked up for a long time and a booster pack has been incorrectly used it will fry the ABS/ESP ecu!
out of interest does the speedomiter work?

06-07-2009, 21:40
i think it might be fixed!!

after i put the speedo back together i disconnected the battery for half an hour. re-connected and the error lights still came on.

anyway had another look at the fuses and the manual says that fuses 1 & 2 are for abs. well i only had a fuse in 1, so put one in 2 as well. still the warning lights stayed on.

my mate came round askin for a lift and we get 200 yards down the road and they just went off. been drivin round for about an hour and now it seems fine. even tried to lock the brakes and i couldnt.

touch wood thats it all sorted. either the fuse or disconnecting the battery has done the trick.

still majorly p***ed of with the dealer like. im very tempted to report them. its come with 12 month mot so the tester must be dodgy as well!! cant believe they went to the trouble of strippin the speedo and blockin the leds rather than wot seemed to be a simple fix.

thanks for the help everyone.

06-07-2009, 23:06
Definitely report them mate....they're selling cars with faults they don't know how to fix. God knows what else they've sold....chances are they could sell a car that's gonna kill someone if they carry on.

If a disconnect of the battery and a short drive worked, could be that the sensors have been unplugged at some point - I had the same when springs were fitted to my motor. Glad it's sorted for you though bud :thumbs: