Anti-Lock Brake Systems: What Are They And How Do They Work?

Brake Repair in Clarksburg, MD

What do you need to know about anti-lock brakes?

Pumping your brakes to stop your vehicle is a ubiquitous piece of advice. In the past, slamming your brakes to stop quickly meant risking wheel lock and skid. Pumping the brakes-–pressing and releasing the brake pedal as you slow down—helped to avoid wheel lock.

Today’s Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS) handle the pumping of the brakes for you, automating safer stops for newer vehicles.

What is ABS?

ABS uses your engine control module and brake systems to slow your vehicle safely every time. In essence, the ABS automates pumping your brakes for sudden stops. ABS became a part of a vehicle’s options in the late 1970s when Mercedes Benz began using it in their vehicles. In the 1980s, Mercedes made ABS standard in all their vehicles.

How Does ABS Work?

Using sensors placed on each wheel, ABS monitors the movement of the wheels and engages when the sensors indicate a wheel has locked up. The system then uses the brakes to continue allowing braking to work on all four wheels of your vehicle. Because ABS automates this process, you should not pump your brakes anymore. Let the system do its job instead!

ABS may mean re-learning how to handle skids when you brake suddenly. If you learned to drive on vehicles older than the late 1980s, you likely learned to pump your brakes. Unlearning that behavior may take time and concentration, but allowing your ABS to do the job it was designed for and get the safer braking you need to avoid crashes is worth it.

If you have questions about ABS, your car’s braking system, or anything connected with the mechanical workings of your vehicle, call the qualified mechanics at AutoStream Car Care in Clarksburg, MD. Their mechanics can help you better understand your vehicle’s systems and workings.

Written by Doug Grills