ABS (aka Antilock Brakes) utilize three (3) main components to most effectively control and ultimately stop your vehicle:
- wheel speed sensors
- a hydraulic control unit
- electronic control module…the computerized “brain” of the system.
In the early years of ABS brakes, an annoying problem of the infamous idiot light on the dashboard that illuminates as either ‘ABS’…’Brake’ or ‘Antilock’…when there was no apparent or real problem…caused confusion for many vehicle owners. While the phenomenon can definitely still occur, by the early 2000’s model years…most of the previous issues had been eliminated.
Never experienced antilock brakes in action? Here are several characteristics to be aware of when you hit the brake pedal of a car with ABS…or when ABS is activated for some other reason:
- The pedal may feel “harder” than usual (this is normal)
- The pedal may seem to vibrate or pulsate…or a combination of these two sensations (this is normal)
- A noise sounding similar to a motor boat engine is likely to be heard…this is the hydraulic control unit operating (this is normal)
Adjust your driving technique when driving a car with ABS brakes by remembering two (2) important points:
- ALWAYS maintain the same safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead as with conventional brakes. ABS will not make the vehicle “stop on a dime.”
- DON’T pump the brake pedal. Just apply firm, constant pressure…letting ABS do the work for you. Be ready to push the pedal further if it travels closer to the floor.