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The Anti-Lock Braking System

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Best Western Transmission

If you have ever had to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision with another vehicle or object, your vehicle was working hard to protect you and your occupants.  One mechanism in particular, your anti-lock braking system, was functioning to stop your vehicle from having a serious accident.

In this month’s blog post, we examine the anti-lock braking system and how it is designed to protect you in a hard braking situation.  We also describe some typical problems you may have with the anti-lock brakes and what to do in case you experience an issue.

What is the anti-lock braking system?

The anti-lock braking system, or ABS, is a mechanism that prevents your wheels from locking up when you are braking.  This is important because if the wheels lock up during heavy braking, the driver loses control over the steering or direction of the vehicle.

The ABS was introduced into American vehicles in the late 70s and has continued to be an important safety component for vehicle manufacturers.  Over time, ABS became standard to most vehicles because of its ability to protect the vehicle and its passengers.

How does the anti-lock braking system work?

In the most simple terms, the ABS is a mechanism of the vehicle that continuously pumps the brakes during heavy braking.  By pumping the brakes versus holding them down continuously, the wheels can continue to rotate and give the driver more control of the vehicle.  This keeps the vehicle from skidding out of control.

The ABS is comprised of four main components that work together during heavy braking:

  1. Speed sensors: these sensors measure how fast the wheels are rotating during operation.
  2. Valves: the valves are connected to the brake lines and stop and release pressure on the brakes during use.
  3. Pump: the pump applies hydraulic pressure on the calipers.
  4. Controller: the controller reads the sensors for information to control the pumping of the brakes.

What type of problems does the anti-lock braking system experience?

The ABS is designed to alert drivers of any problems with an illuminated warning light on the dashboard.  If you notice that this light is illuminated after all of the other dashboard lights go out when starting the vehicle, there may be an issue.  There are times that the light may remain lit but eventually go out, it is still advisable to have the vehicle checked by a service professional.

For the most part, the anti-lock braking system does not experience failures.  Most problems you may experience are primarily related to the sensors.  Typical issues for the sensors may be faulty wiring or sensors that have been damaged from dirt or metal shavings, causing them to malfunction.

If your ABS warning light has illuminated, contact us today at Best Western Transmissions to schedule an appointment.  Our service professionals will inspect your vehicle to determine the source of the malfunction and make recommendations for repairs or replacement.