While the vast majority of road going vehicles still employ traditional hydraulic braking systems, electronic brakes are a feature that is becoming increasingly common. Over time manufacturers have developed safety features and advancements in braking designs which use electronic sensors and modules. Modern electronic brakes have more electronic components and are considerably more complicated than traditional systems, however they give the advantage of more precise braking and increased safety.
Electronic braking systems are controlled by the electronic brake control module, or EBCM for short. The EBCM reads all of the braking system’s sensors and activates the ABS or traction control system when it detects it is necessary. When the EBCM fails it can disable the ABS and sometimes cause issues with braking the vehicle. Usually a bad or failing EBCM will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. ABS Light comes on
The most common symptom of a problem with the EBCM is an illuminated ABS Light. The EBCM is often tied into, if not the main control unit for the ABS system. When it fails or has any issues, it will set off the ABS Light to alert the driver of an issue.
2. Check Engine Light comes on
Another symptom of a bad or failing electronic brake control module is an illuminated Check Engine Light. Some vehicles will set off the Check Engine Light if the EBCM has an issue, instead of the ABS Light. Either light can be caused by a wide variety of symptoms, however, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.
3. ABS or traction control system failures
Malfunctioning, or nonfunctional ABS or traction control systems are another symptom of a problem with the EBCM. The EBCM is the central control unit for the electronic brakes, so if it fails, any electronically controlled braking features, such as the ABS and traction control, will be disabled. In some instances a failed EBCM may cause the traction control and ABS system to behave erratically, which can interfere with the handling and safety of the vehicle.
The EBCM is an important component and critical to the operation of the vehicle’s ABS and traction control systems. If you suspect that your vehicle’s EBCM may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic to determine if the module should be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) and was authored by Ed Ruelas.