If you have ever driven on a slick surface, you may have noticed the tires lost traction. As the momentum continued, you may have veered off the road as the car took longer to stop.
This is an instance where the anti-lock brakes system could be helpful to you.
An anti-lock brake system or ABS is a handy safety mechanism. It prevents your car wheels from locking when you slam the brake pedal.
It also halts the wheels from drifting off the road as you change the direction.
Skidding wheels have less traction. If you can prevent them from sliding on the road, you can maintain better car control and slow down in a breeze.
This article will learn how the anti-lock brake system works and how it can be beneficial. You will also gain skills on how to steer your vehicle effectively.
How do Anti-Lock Brakes Help You
The Anti-lock brake system’s core purpose is to enhance the safety of your vehicle. It comes with four integral components to help you decelerate and steer. They include the speed sensors, valve, pump, and controller.
1. Special speed sensors regulators
The special speed sensors detect the wheels’ motion and relay the information to your car’s computer controller. They also coordinate and regulate brake pressure to operate in a similar range on the road.
2. ABS module controller valve kit
The module controller valve kit checks and analyzes your car wheels’ speed to determine when they are about to stop rotating.
Anti-lock braking systems come in three schemes depending on the number of valves and speed sensors in use.
One-channel ABS: This scheme has a one-speed sensor and valve in the rear axle to control the wheels. It is less effective since one of the rear wheels can fail to lock before the ABS kicks in.
Three-channel ABS: This scheme has one valve and speed sensor at the rear axle. Each of the front wheels has a separate speed sensor and valve. This helps to achieve optimal braking force using the front wheels.
Four-channel ABS: This scheme is the best to ensure you achieve the maximum braking force. It uses four-speed sensors and valves for each of the four wheels of a vehicle.
In a four-channel ABS, the controller signals the valves and the actuator to squeeze and release the wheel’s brake pads in rapid succession, assuming you want to stop faster. The tires slow down without spinning, skidding, or turning, thanks to the conversion of kinetic energy into thermal energy. This maximizes road traction, boosting the stopping power as you control the steering wheel.
Advantages of ABS
a) Increase stopping power
ABS is a life-saving technology that helps you control and avoid dangerous scenarios. If your car doesn’t have an anti-lock brake system, you may be forced to pump the brake, assuming it starts to skid.
This will be more prevalent in slippery conditions such as ice-packed roads. Even so, it is worthwhile noting that ABS is effective when the tires are in good condition and inflated.
b) Insurance discount
The ABS is a tried-and-tested mechanism with an excellent track record. Most insurance companies offer discounted policies to vehicles fitted with an anti-lock brake system from the factory.
c) Resale value
Anti-lock brake technology raises the resale value of a vehicle. In most of today’s cars and trucks, having the ABS is a standard issue. If yours lacks, you may sell it for a lower price.
Frequently Asked Questions on Anti-Lock Brakes
1. When do you need to use the anti-lock brake system?
The system is necessary to help control and decelerate the vehicle in road conditions where you need hard braking. Nevertheless, the stopping time and distance will depend on the ABS-channel scheme in use and tire condition.
2. Do you need to pump the brake pedal of the anti-lock brake system?
No. Press the brake pedal extender firmly, and the system will slow down the wheels. But again, disorientation of the system can fail or cause the vehicle to shudder.
3. Are anti-lock brake systems standard on all vehicles?
The brake systems aren’t standard. This is often because of the extra cost some drivers wish to evade. Even then, it is worthwhile to install the technology in your car for safety purposes and a chance to get a discounted insurance policy.
4. How often do you need to repair your anti-lock brake system?
The longevity of the system depends on your driving conditions. In most cases, it can last for over 100,000 miles if maintained well. The good news is you can check out a warning blink light on the dashboard to detect a failure.
5. When will you need to replace the anti-lock brake system?
Only one or two components fail—not the entire system. It is wise you consult a trustworthy dealer or mechanic before making a replacement.
Achieving this will help you analyze the damaged parts such as the seals, valve, and sensors. Note, repairing an anti-lock brake component is cheaper than replacing it, provided you seek advice from a specialist.
6. How can I maintain the anti-lock brake system properly?
The anti-lock brakes system uses hydraulic brake fluid that picks contaminants over time. It also encounters excessive heating at the wheels, which can cause the sensors to malfunction.
It is wise you assess the dashboard indicator and add the fluid if necessary. Also, you can ask your mechanic to check the system every time you take the car for servicing.
Stopping or decelerating a speeding car on a slippery road can be a daunting challenge for most drivers. But with a functional anti-lock brake system, you can stop faster during an emergency.
Slippery surfaces often increase the stopping distance for a 4-wheel ABS. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, hold on to the brake pedal and wait for the car to halt.
Don’t pump the pedal even if you feel a slight vibration and a buzzing sound. Pumping the brake only makes the car take longer to stop since the wheels will lock.