VW Polo ABS sensor issue: Does it affect the airbags?

Due to the 2 week wait for the part, I have to complete all my festive travels without an important safety feature.

BHPian vox_alienus recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have had a petrol Polo since early-2017 and have been satisfied with VW's service in Kolkata. But I was in for a disappointment when I went to the service centre today with the ABS lamp on. I was told that one of the four-wheel sensors needed to be replaced, and this could not be done before October 20 as they did not have a replacement in-store and the Puja holidays are almost here. This means I will have to go without an important safety feature for at least two weeks during the festive season when I am supposed to be travelling with family and friends!

I was told that the airbags would not work until the defective sensor is replaced. Is this true? Would appreciate some insight into this.

Here's what BHPian Kosfactor had to say on the matter:

Airbags will work during a crash as it's designed to do so. ABS sensor failure is common on these vehicles so they are asking you to replace all 4 because the tech thinks the others may as well fail soon and you will need to take your vehicle to the service centre repeatedly.

Polo used to come without ABS earlier, brakes will work as usual just that the ABS function is disabled.

Here's what BHPian VW2010 had to say on the matter:

Yes and No. If the airbag light is on, your airbags are disabled. This error usually throws 3 lights together. ABS, EBD and airbags. In some cases brake light and engine light.

Do check if the dash is only showing abs which means the wheel speed sensor is kaput.

This part is easily available even outside the VW service centre and is easy to replace.

No need to change all 4 even if they insist and change only the broken sensor.

Here's what BHPian Indian2003 had to say on the matter:

Don't trust your life with electronics. Drive sane and you will be fine. No, the ABS and airbags are not connected

I have been driving a car without ABS for the past 10 years and no sweat, not been a problem at all. I have driven a total of almost 250,000 km in these 10 years.

I drive about 9 or 10 months on bare asphalt and about 2 or 3 months on snow and black ice. I did not want a car with ABS.

Here's what BHPian AKSarkar1 had to say on the matter:

As a fellow VW owner, I totally understand this all-too-familiar problem. This issue is fairly common as crops up as the car start to age.

Most of the time VW service centres run low on ABS sensor stocks, I am not sure why but that has been the case for the past 5 times my cars have gone in for a change. Please make sure that you get a competitive deal once they notify you that the sensors are back in stock. It should cost you around 3-5K maximum if you negotiate properly. I have even got quotes for as high as 8K from some of the SAs.

My ABS sensor too failed around 2 months ago and due to the low stock, I was forced to do my daily commute of around 70 km without the ABS working in rainy to very rainy conditions. Let me tell you that this is not a problem at all. Just keep a very healthy amount of distance from the cars ahead and avoid sudden accelerations or braking. The car brakes just fine without the ABS system in place. People have driven for decades in the past without an ABS system and have been just fine.

Make sure that you are not alarmed by:

  • Speedometer going haywire and needles sweeping randomly.
  • Brake pedal juddering and vibrations while braking, make sure that you keep the pressure firmly applied and don't lift off the brake in case you are in need of braking
  • I have noticed the battery also takes a hit with the ABS light on, keep jumper cables handy if you are going on a really long trip

Otherwise, you should be just fine! Just stay calm and enjoy the drive!

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