Discover the Incredible Benefits of ABS – Find Out What It Does for Your Car

Your car’s dashboard can be littered with flashing, bright lights that mean nothing to you. The lights can look pretty, but sometimes you need to consider what they could signify.

Empty the fuel tank, check out the oil level, and ABS; all lights you might have seen but paid little attention to. So what is the ABS?

And is it safe to drive with the ABS light on? We’ve got all the information you need- so worry not. Keep reading to learn more.

ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System and works to control the braking pressure. It allows your car to slow down to a stop without skidding or losing steering control.

As a result, ABS saves many drivers from the risks of major road accidents. 

What Is ABS?

ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System and is a system to stop your braking from locking up. The system prevents you from applying too much pressure to your brakes which may cause the axle and the wheels from stopping to turn entirely. 

The ABS system helps you steer in an emergency by ensuring you retain traction in the tires. You can find ABS systems on aircraft, cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses.

ABS is an automated system that utilizes the principles of threshold braking and cadence braking to ensure the car does not skid. As a result, the ABS system operates much quicker than most drivers can manage and, as such, significantly improves vehicle control.

Whys Is ABS important?

The ABS system stops cars from skidding. And as such, it improves the following:

  • Decreases stopping distance
  • Improved performance on dry and slippery surfaces.
  • Improves performances on loose gravel or snow-covered roads.
  • Improves steering control

Since its introduction, ABS can become a standard facet of all production vehicles and has improved the safety of cars. 

ABS systems have improved in recent years and have become increasingly effective

How Does ABS Work?

ABS helps you drive in emergencies. Here is a quick guide to how you need to use them:

  • Apply firm pressure to the brake pedal. 
  • Press and hold pressure on the pedal- do not pump the brakes.
  • Steer to safety.

How does ABS work?

The four-wheel anti-lock brakes help you steer while you break during an emergency. 

The wheel sensors detect when the car’s tires begin locking. As a response, the ABS system will rapidly apply and release the brakes to stop your car from skidding. 

Tips for using ABS

  • If you hear your ABS vibrating, firmly press and hold the break as your steer to safety. 
  • If your car doesn’t have 4-wheel ABS or the ABS has failed, you must pump the brakes as your vehicle starts to skid manually.
  • Ensure your tires are correctly inflated and in good condition for the ABS to work properly.
  • A common cause for a failing ABS is worn brake linings, which lead to air and dirt getting into the brake fluid. 

How To Keep Your ABS In Working Condition

Don’t Brake Excessively

Obviously, you should use the brakes as and when needed. However, overuse, when it’s not necessary, may cause the ABS to fail over time. When the brake is stepped on too regularly, it sends frequent signals to the ABS sensor, essentially shortening its lifespan.

Clean The Sensor

Clean your ABS sensor every few months, if possible, to ensure it runs optimally. Clean it using a special spray you purchase at an auto parts store. Regular cleaning also allows you to inspect the sensor for damage, so you can get repairs done immediately.

The ABS sensor is on the brake caliper, so be careful when finding and cleaning it.

Regularly Change The Brake Fluid

If your brakes aren’t functioning properly, the ABS won’t work properly, either. Make sure you regularly check the brake fluid to ensure it’s always at the correct level. Also, ensure the brake fluid has not expired to ensure the quality of the fluid is good too. 

What Does The ABS Light Mean?

Under normal circumstances, the ABS light will turn on when the car is turned on, and will automatically turn off when the vehicle starts.

However, if the light doesn’t turn off when the car starts, it indicates a problem with the braking system. 

One of the common problems with the ABS is that the brake fluid level needs to be higher. Check the brake fluid level or take the car to a repair shop.

If the brake fluid is at the correct level, you must take your car to a repair shop. In case of an incident, your ABS system must be in full working order. 

Can I Drive My The ABS Warning Light On?

Yes, you can drive with the ABS warning light on. A malfunctioning ABS does not impact standard braking. However, we recommend getting your car seen as soon as you can, as it helps with stopping control and can be dangerous without it. 

How Much Does a New ABS System Cost?

ABS systems are complex and, unfortunately, pretty expensive. It costs around $1000 to replace an ABS control module and an additional $200 per wheel sensor. Therefore, in total, an entire system will cost about $2000. 

What’s A Control Module?

The control module element is the central control unit for the system. The control module is a miniature computer that detects and analyzes the information from the wheel sensors and, as such, determines when to apply and release braking pressure. 

Here is a short price guide for control modules for some common car types: 

  • Honda Civic- $1,460
  • Honda CRV- $2,210
  • Toyota Camry – $1,050
  • Toyota Corolla-$750
  • Ford F-150- $800
  • Ford Mustang – $720
  • Nissan Altima- $850
  • BMW 3 Series – $1,700
  • Audi A4- $1,900

What Are Wheel Sensors?

The other component of the ABS is the wheel sensors. These detect the speed of the wheels and relay this information to the control module. The control module then decides whether or not to engage the brake calipers.

Here’s a quick price guide for common car types: 

  • Honda Civic- $180
  • Honda CRV- $200
  • Ford F-150- $230
  • Ford Fusion- $150
  • Ford Mustang -$200
  • Nissan Altima -$270
  • Audi A4- $230

Most cars will require one sensor per wheel, so you must quadruple the above price. However, some older models only have ABS sensors on two wheels. 

What Affects the Cost of ABS Repairs?

  • Car makes and/or models. The make and model are the most significant factors influencing the cost of ABS repairs. Different car types will require special tools or skills. For example, luxury brands such as Audi and BMW are generally more expensive. 
  • Type of ABS. There are three main types of anti-lock braking systems. Four-channel systems, three-channel systems, and one-channel systems. The four-channel systems are the most expensive and considered the best. Whereas the one-channel variety is the cheapest
  • Age of car. Very old cars may be more expensive to repair, as compatible car parts may have been discontinued. However, if your vehicle is over ten years old, it’s a good idea to consider replacing the ABS system. 

Signs of a Breaking ABS System

Locking Brakes

A clear sign your ABS system is failing is noticing your brakes begin locking. For example, if you slam on your brakes and see that your wheels lock, the problem is likely your ABS.

If only one tire is locking, the issue may be with the sensor on that wheel.

Brake Pedal Not Engaging

If your brake pedal doesn’t engage properly, it may be due to an uncalibrated ABS sensor. 

The speedometer Won’t Work.

Although the ABS module is not responsible for the speedometer, it is connected to the speedometer to register speed changes in the wheel. So if you notice an issue with your speedometer, it may be due to the ABS.

To Summarize

Your ABS works to control the brake pressure, ensuring that your vehicle can slow down to a stop without skidding. This is particularly useful on loose gravel, ice, or sweltering conditions.

The ABS is comprised of sensors on each wheel and a control module. Over time, these components can wear away and eventually warn you with an ABS light on your dashboard.

Although it’s safe to drive with an ABS light on, getting it seen at your earliest convenience is recommended, as it improves stopping distance and car handling.