Antilock Brakes and What Their Benefits Are

The ABS or AB System (Anti-Lock Braking System) is a safety feature for modern cars that prevent the wheels on your car from locking up. They're useful during conditions where you suddenly slam the brakes or if you're on a slick surface like on ice or puddles and you require more maneuverability as you do your brake.

A non-skidding wheel has more traction compared to a skidding locked-up wheel. ABS brakes keeps wheels from skidding while your car slows down, which is an important safety feature to have. If you're able to steer while putting on your brakes, you'll be able to stop faster.

The Components of the ABS That Require Constant Maintenance

There are components of ABS brakes that your technician or mechanic should keep an eye out for.

1. Speed Sensors: These sensors are located in the differential or at each wheel. They deliver a warning signal every time the wheels are about to lock up to the other parts of the AB System in order to prevent it from happening.

2. Valves: These parts are found on each line at the brakes. It's through them that the brake fluid passes through, stops, or released into the AB system. It regulates brake fluid by opening and closing. When the brake fluid is released from the master cylinder, that's when the ABS is activated.

3. Pump: The AB system pump helps control the release of brake fluid from the master cylinder as well, particularly when it comes to pumping the fluid unto your wheels as regulated by the controller and the speed sensors.

4. Controller: The controller of the ABS is the computer of the car that's also responsible for dealing with the other numerous sensors under the hood and displaying error messages when something is wrong with the system.

How Do You Know Your Antilock Brakes Are Working?

You know you have a working antilock system if you feel a pulsing on the brake pedal.  The pulsing comes from the valves opening and closing. The fastest of AB systems can cycle up to 15 times every second.

Per wheel revolution, the fastest valves can do 60-100 times of pumping action. The whole point of ABS is to help you stop your car better, because when your wheel locks your car tends to skid out of control and whatnot.

When your brake pedal lacks this pulse, get a mechanic to get a look at it immediately; ditto when getting an error message on your computer display relating to the speed sensor. As long as you still have control of your wheels you'll be able to shorten the stopping distance even on the most slippery of surfaces.

The wheels that can spin while breaking can make your brakes more effective since when the wheels are spinning, it could give traction you wouldn't otherwise have when they're stopped.

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