C1185 DTC Code: Understanding and Troubleshooting


In the world of automotive diagnostics, trouble codes play a crucial role in identifying and fixing issues with vehicles. One such code that often perplexes car owners and technicians alike is the C1185 DTC code. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the C1185 code, its potential causes, and troubleshooting tips to rectify the underlying problem.

What is the C1185 DTC Code?

The C1185 DTC code stands for “ABS Power Relay Output Circuit Failure.” It is an OBD-II diagnostic trouble code that indicates a malfunction or failure in the ABS power relay output circuit. This code is specific to vehicles equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and is often associated with Ford vehicles.

Common Symptoms

When the C1185 DTC code is triggered, you may experience various symptoms that can help identify the issue. These symptoms may include:

  1. Illuminated ABS warning light: The ABS warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard may stay lit constantly or flash intermittently when the code is active.

  2. Inoperative ABS system: The ABS system may fail to function correctly, affecting your vehicle’s ability to maintain proper traction and stability during braking.

  3. Erratic brake behavior: You may encounter erratic braking behavior, such as the brakes locking up unexpectedly or the pedal feeling excessively soft or spongy.

Potential Causes of the C1185 DTC Code

Several factors can contribute to the triggering of the C1185 DTC code. Here are some possible causes to consider:

1. Faulty ABS power relay

The ABS power relay is responsible for providing power to the ABS system. A malfunctioning or defective relay can cause the C1185 code to appear. Inspecting the relay and its connections is a good starting point for troubleshooting.

2. ABS control module issues

The ABS control module is the brain of the ABS system, regulating various operations. If the module fails or experiences an internal fault, it can result in the C1185 DTC code. Professional diagnostics may be required to test and repair the control module accurately.

3. Wiring and electrical problems

Damaged or corroded wiring, loose electrical connections, or short circuits within the ABS system’s circuits can trigger the C1185 DTC code. Thoroughly inspecting the wiring harness and connectors is necessary to identify and rectify such issues.

4. Defective wheel speed sensor

The wheel speed sensor plays a vital role in relaying information to the ABS system about individual wheel speeds. A faulty or malfunctioning sensor can cause the ABS system to malfunction, leading to the C1185 DTC code.

Troubleshooting Steps

If you encounter the C1185 DTC code, follow these troubleshooting steps to identify and resolve the issue:

Step 1: Perform a visual inspection

Start by visually inspecting the ABS power relay, wiring harnesses, and connectors for any signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections. Ensure all components are securely connected and free from debris.

Step 2: Check the ABS power relay

Test the ABS power relay using a multimeter or consult a repair manual to determine the appropriate testing procedure for your specific vehicle. If the relay is faulty, replace it with a new one and clear the DTC code to see if the issue is resolved.

Step 3: Inspect the ABS control module

If the problem persists, professional diagnostic equipment may be necessary to test the ABS control module accurately. An experienced technician will be able to perform advanced tests to identify any faults with the module and initiate appropriate repairs or replacements.

Step 4: Examine wheel speed sensors

Inspect the wheel speed sensors for any physical damage or contaminants that may interfere with their proper function. If a faulty sensor is identified, it will need to be replaced to eliminate the C1185 DTC code.

Step 5: Clear DTC code and verify repairs

Once you have completed the necessary repairs or replacements, clear the C1185 DTC code using an OBD-II scanner. Take a test drive to ensure the ABS system functions correctly, and monitor the system for any reoccurrence of the code.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Can I continue to drive my vehicle with the C1185 DTC code? A: While it may be possible to drive your vehicle with the C1185 code, it is strongly recommended to address the issue promptly. The ABS system plays a crucial role in maintaining vehicle stability, especially during emergency braking situations. It is best to have a qualified technician inspect and repair your vehicle to ensure optimal safety.

  2. Q: Can a DIY enthusiast fix the C1185 DTC code without professional help? A: Depending on your technical skills and experience, some troubleshooting steps mentioned earlier may be feasible to perform on your own. However, due to the complexity of the ABS system and the need for specialized diagnostic tools, it is advisable to seek professional assistance for accurate diagnosis and repairs.

  3. Q: What are some other related DTC codes that might accompany the C1185 code? A: It is not uncommon to encounter other ABS-related DTC codes alongside the C1185 code. Some potentially related codes include C1184 (ABS Power Relay Output Short to Ground), C1233 (ABS Wheel Speed Sensor Signal Missing), and C1236 (ABS Incorrect Right Rear Wheel Speed Signal).

In conclusion, the C1185 DTC code signifies a potential issue with the ABS power relay output circuit. By understanding the symptoms, potential causes, and following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can effectively diagnose and rectify the problem. If unsure or uncomfortable with DIY repairs, it is best to consult a qualified technician to ensure the safety and reliability of your vehicle.

About author


Meet Sam Mitchell, your experienced and reliable guide in the complex world of car fault codes. With a robust career spanning over 15 years as a professional car mechanic, John has the skills, knowledge, and practical experience to help you navigate car fault issues with confidence.


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