Some Anti-Lock (ABS) Brake basics

How do I know whether my vehicle has ABS?

1) Read your owner’s manual.
2) Check your instrument panel for an amber ABS indicator light after you turn on the ignition.
3) When you buy, lease or rent, ask your dealer or rental car company or your service technician.

How do I know if the ABS system is working?

In many vehicles, you may experience a rapid pulsation of the brake pedal. It may feel like the brakes pedal is pushing back at you. Sometimes the pedal could suddenly drop. Also, the valves in the ABS controller may make a noise that sounds like grinding or buzzing. In some cars you may feel a slight vibration.

Do I need to change the way I use my brakes?

You should not pump your brakes if you have ABS. Just hold your foot firmly on the brake pedal and remember to steer the car normally. Try some stops in an empty parking lot, but keep in mind that ABS systems are speed sensitive, and will not activate at very slow speeds.

Do ABS-equipped cars stop shorter?

ABS is designed to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle during emergency braking, not make the cars stop shorter. ABS may shorten stopping distances on wet or slippery roads, and many systems will shorten stopping distances on dry roads. On very soft surfaces, like loose gravel or unpacked snow, an ABS system may actually lengthen stopping distances, but can provide a safer, controlled stop.

Are all antilock systems the same?

They are all very similar in the way they control brake pressure, but some systems are designed to keep only the rear wheels from locking. These rear wheel anti-lock (RWAL) systems are found on pickups and sport-utility vehicles. Rear-wheel ABS keeps your vehicle from spinning out of control. All other ABS systems are designed to keep all four wheels from locking.

To ABS or not to ABS…: Anti-Lock Brake (ABS) Questions & Answers

ABS maintenance is very important if you want to trust your life to it.The brake fluid involved needs to be changed every 30,000 miles to maintain its quality. Brake fluid naturally absorbs moisture. It’s Hygroscopic – cool word huh? As the brake fluid absorbs moisture, the boiling point gets lower, thus reducing its capacity to work safely. Some manufacturers even recommend replacing the high-pressure brake hose(s) every 60,000 miles.

Anti-Lock Brakes 101

Provided drivers use ABS correctly, it is a great benefit to less experienced drivers. Wait! How do I use them properly? Is there such a thing as improper use? Don’t they just work automatically? These are some of the questions that come up concerning ABS.

How do they work?

Anti-Lock Brakes, or ABS, work by turning on and off, the brake hydraulic pressure to the wheels. You stomp on the pedal and the ABS system senses the rapid deceleration and starts rapidly modulating the hydraulics. Sound Greek to you? In a nutshell, if you could pump the brake pedal on and off fast enough in a panic, you wouldn’t need an ABS system. Panic equals one thing – stomp the pedal! Stomp it and let the ABS system pump the system on and off for you, provided you do one thing – DO NOT try and pump the pedal yourself, nor release the pedal – even if the pedal is sinking to the floor. You must maintain firm pressure to the brake pedal for the system to work. It will feel “wrong” and you will probably feel the need to release the pedal and try stomping it again. DON’T!

How do I maintain it?

ABS maintenance is very important if you want to trust your life to it.The brake fluid involved needs to be changed every 30,000 miles to maintain its quality. Brake fluid naturally absorbs moisture. It’s Hygroscopic – cool word huh? As the brake fluid absorbs moisture, the boiling point gets lower, thus reducing its capacity to work safely. Some manufacturers even recommend replacing the high-pressure brake hose(s) every 60,000 miles.

Word of caution here
Some of the ABS hoses are under a VERY high pressure and can be dangerous! Leave this system to your service technician…(that is if you value your safety!)

More to explorer

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