Your Vehicle’s Anti-Lock Brakes and ABS Warning Light

Is your ABS warning light on? Call Trojan Auto Care, Troy, OHMany of today’s vehicles are equipped with an anti-lock braking system. In taking care of your car or truck, it’s important to know how each component operates. By doing this, you’ll be able to easily recognize when something isn’t functioning properly and can schedule an appointment to have it fixed before it becomes a major repair. In this article, we’ll cover the anti-lock braking system (ABS). The ABS makes it possible to safely stop your motor vehicle in circumstances that are less than ideal, like when you’re driving on slippery roads or you must stop quickly to avoid an accident. As its name aptly implies, the ABS prevents the wheels on your car or truck from locking up so it doesn’t go into an uncontrollable skid.

What makes the Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) work?

The anti-lock braking system was created to keep the wheels from skidding when you decelerate quickly or abruptly. Once the ABS becomes engaged, you not only stop faster, you’re able to steer while you stop. So how does the ABS know when a wheel is about to lock up? There are 4 components your vehicle’s ABS - the speed sensors, valves, pump and controller. The controller is continuously tracking the speed sensors looking for unordinary or rapid decelerations, like when a wheel locks up. When this happens, the controller reduces the hydraulic pressure to the brakes. The hydraulic pressure will continue to be reduced until the controller notices an acceleration. This permits the tires to decelerate at the same rate as the car or truck. If you’ve ever felt a “pulsing” sensation when you applied your anti-lock brakes hard, you were experiencing the ABS at work.

What is the ABS Warning Light communicating?

With so many of lights on the car dashboard, it can get a little confusing when one comes on. Listed here are answers to some common questions about the ABS warning light.
  1. What is the ABS warning light? When you turn the key in the ignition to start your automobile, the computer for the anti-lock braking system performs a self test. You’ll see the light illuminate briefly, and if the system is operating properly, it will go out. If the computer finds a problem (e.g. a hydraulic pump or valve isn’t responding), the warning light will stay on. If this happens, you should bring your vehicle in to have the anti-lock braking system evaluated.
  2. Exactly what does it mean when the ABS warning light turns on while I’m driving? If the ABS light illuminates while you’re driving, it signifies a problem with the anti-lock braking system - it’s not functioning. When this occurs, you are still able to utilize your brakes, but without the added benefit of the anti-lock feature. In many instances, the light will turn off the next time you start your car. If, after it cycles through its self test, the light remains on, it is best to schedule an appointment with Trojan Auto Care, in Troy, OH. We’ll check the computer and perform a diagnostic to find out what is causing the issue.
  3. Is it safe to operate my vehicle when the ABS warning light is illuminated? Yes, your automobile is safe to drive; however, you should have us look it over if the light stays on. It’s also important to note that if both the ABS and Brake System warning lights come on at the same time while you’re driving, you must stop your car or truck as quickly and safely as you can and call for a tow.

Techniques for Driving with Anti-Lock Brakes

The pulsing sensation from the anti-lock brakes can feel somewhat disturbing. Remember, it’s normal. Even so, we think it’s a good idea for you to know how to use your anti-lock brakes. The National Safety Council provides several tips for driving with ABS. You can click here to download and read their information sheet “Tips for Driving with ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems).” If you are worried about your vehicle’s braking system, have it checked without delay (see our page on Brake Repair to educate yourself on several of the signs you might need a brake job). The technicians at Trojan Auto Care in Troy, Ohio, can inspect your braking system for indications of rough spots or damage. We’ll also inform you of how much remains on your brake pads and will examine the brake lines for cracking and corrosion. Click here to schedule an appointment for a FREE brake inspection with Trojan Auto Care in Troy, OH.
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