2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 2.3L

Vehicle had brake service done by a Ford dealership which is detailed in this post:

Previous thread about the same vehicle

Now, a few months later the vehicle's ABS light and traction control light are both coming on at seemingly random times. They will be on right after the vehicle is turned on and will go away after it is restarted (sometimes). When the lights are on, the vehicle doesn't feel right and the brakes are locked up.

After a couple days of this behavior, the "Low Tire Pressure" warning came up on the dash. I checked the tire pressure and could tell that one of the tires was extremely low even before using a pressure gauge. I don't have a pump at home, but I am curious... Could all the warning lights be due to the low pressure? Ford just did a brake job a few months ago. Is it safe to drive when the lights are off?


Got the vehicle to the a nearby tire shop. Had a nail in the tire. They plugged it and got the pressure right on all tires. Since then, no warning lights and no issues... I still don't trust it though 'cause why would the abs and traction control lights come on if the tire was just low?

  • 3
    Start by ensuring that all the tires are at the correct (and same) pressure - that's a simple way to remove one variable. Most petrol stations have inflators - use your own gauge though, don't trust theirs. If the problem reoccurs, then you have to dig further.
    – PeteCon
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 16:52
  • @PeteCon So you think it is probably at least safe to drive a couple miles to a station? ..if the lights are currently off?
    – GeoJohn
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 18:50
  • 1
    The official response would be "No, don't even leave your driveway", but in the real world, as long as you're not on the freeway, it's a gamble I would be OK with.
    – PeteCon
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 21:40
  • 2
    ABS / traction lights come on when wheels are rotating at different speeds. If you have one tire that is quite low on air, that wheel will be rotating faster than one with the correct amount of air. I think you've solved your problem by getting the nail fixed.
    – PeteCon
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


The ABS and traction will detect that the rotational velocity on all tires do not match the expected. A low tire changes the effective radius of the tire, and therefore the rotational velocity will be different in the wheel with the low tire. That is why you got the indicator.

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