Your car has plenty of moving parts, but how often do you consider the ABS? Your anti-lock braking system is a genuinely essential piece of safety equipment that you rely on each and every time you take to the road.
Its main job is to help your car stop moving as quickly as possible, but in a way that you still have control of the car. It’s all about making sure that your car stops smoothly, and that you can react in time to any emergency situations.
How Exactly Does the ABS Work?
It’s a little complex, but let’s consider the basics. Your ABS revolves around an element known as its ECU. This is a central control unit, a little bit like a central computer for your braking. The ECU receives information on what’s happening with your wheels, so it knows how much pressure to apply via the brakes.
The ECU then calculates this information and sends an instruction to your ABS modulator. It’s this part that actually does the braking work – it’s an air valve. This helps to keep your wheels from slipping around.
Your ABS will kick into gear as soon as it’s assumed that your wheels are going to skid. However, it’s also got a fantastic brake assistance response. This means that the ECU will help you to brake harder, if needed, so that you can get your vehicle to slow down to a safe halt. There’s a good chance you’re not pressing down hard enough on your brakes, and that’s where your ABS comes in.
The ABS actually helps to reduce the amount of pressure you’re pressing into the pedal, too. With brake assist, ABS will help to create balance and stability. This allows you to slow your car down safely, and to keep your brake pedal from wearing out underfoot.
But What if There’s a Problem?
No need to panic. You’ll find there’s a light on your dashboard that alerts you the moment there’s a problem with your ABS. You’ll still be able use your brake, but your wheels might skid or lock in an emergency stop.
Therefore, if you do see the ABS light come on, get your car to a service centre as soon as you can. Any brake problems should need to be addressed by a trained mechanic as soon as possible. Your ABS is crucial in wet conditions, for example, when wheel spinning may be at higher risk than usual.
Problems might arise if you need to replace the whole ECU. Or you may find that the modulator, the pump, sensors, drive shaft or ABS rings need changing out.
Is the ABS Important?
Yes! Your ABS might not do the whole of the braking job for you, but in emergency situations, it’ll help you regain stability on the road. Don’t ignore that ABS light – get your car into a service centre or seen by a mechanic as soon as physically possible.