Your ABS, or anti-lock braking system, is very important. It ensures that your car can stop as quickly as possible without it affecting steering and control while braking. Essentially, the ABS ensures that a driver is able to maintain control of steering, while enabling smooth and safe braking - it does this by regulating the air pressure in the car’s wheel brakes.
But this is only scratching the surface – what else do you need to know about your ABS?
How Does ABS Work?
A clever and central part of the ABS – which is crucial to its performance - is its Control Unit ECU. This is a highly advanced computerised part. Its function is to control the main hub of a car’s ABS, making sure that it is working as expected.
Sensors on the car wheels monitor the speed at which they rotate, measuring the amount of hydraulic pressure needed. This information then feeds back to the ABS Control Unit ECU, which then sends a message to the ABS modulator. This is an air valve located close to the engine and near the fuel filter.
The ABS modulator receives the instruction and adjusts the brake pressure accordingly. This stops the car wheels from slipping and swerving around. This action repeats constantly and can be felt by the driver as a vibrating motion in the brake pedal.
Essentially, when a wheel is likely to lock and skid, the ABS modulator adjusts the pressure in the brake chamber. Effectively, the chances of this happening are now next to zero. The ABS pump also plays a part in this process by pumping the pressure released from the brakes back up.
Frequently Purchased ABS Parts
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Do I Need ABS?
In 2004 the EU legislated that every car sold in Europe must have ABS as standard.
So Why Is ABS That Important?
The ABS improves overall driving stability, and the brake assist control unit, working alongside, is just as crucial. The ABS plays an important part in the system by providing the most effective braking performance possible in an emergency whilst giving the driver the ability to continue steering the car.
Worryingly, studies have revealed that most drivers do not brake hard enough in an emergency situation. This vital electronic device is, therefore, an intelligent and crucial safety feature. It helps a car to slow down and come to a halt as quickly as possible, assisting the driver to brake safely and evenly.
The ABS came into effect to help improve overall braking stability. It does this by minimising the level of pressure needed to apply on the brake pedals. It then enables the driver to brake quickly – if they need to - over the shortest possible distance. It therefore also allows the driver to maintain steady control of the steering.
The brake assist control unit works by recognising that brake pressure needs to increase. It maintains a healthy level of pressure until the ABS system takes charge, which then stops the wheels from locking. This significantly reduces the braking distance and regulates the overall stability of the car when braking.
How Do I Know If My ABS Stops Working?
If any ABS component develops a fault, the ABS alert light will show on a car’s dashboard and the ABS will stop working altogether. This won't affect your ability to apply the brakes, however, as the automatic locking system has been disabled, it won't prevent the wheels from skidding or potentially locking up when you brake.
It's therefore important to check your ABS Control Unit ECU as soon as you can if the warning light comes on. If possible, avoid using your car in rainy conditions - when the risk of swerving is high - and when your potential braking distance dramatically increased.
If the ABS warning light shows, if your brakes are not working correctly, or if the brake pedal is very stiff to work, these are key signs that you need to speak to a mechanic. You may potentially need to replace the ABS Control Unit ECU, or another vital component of the anti-lock braking system on your car to bring things back to full health.
Always keep a keen eye on your ABS – as you never know when you’re going to need it the most!
Are ABS Parts Cheap?
You can buy all your good quality used parts at Breakeryard to fix any component of your ABS breaking system by clicking on the links below or by completing our partfinder for fast and friendly unique no obligation quote.