What to Know About Anti-Lock Brakes

Do you have anti-lock brakes? If you have a newer car, chances are pretty good that you do. It is a fairly common feature in modern cars. Here’s a look at what anti-lock brakes are and why they’re a preferred choice:

What Are Anti-Lock Brakes?

Anti-lock brakes are a safety braking system found on cars, trucks, motorcycles, and busses. Anti-lock brakes help to prevent skidding. Anti-lock brakes prevent the wheels from locking-up during braking, which helps them maintain traction with the road. This is especially helpful when the conditions on the road are wet and slippery. Anti-lock brakes benefit you in two ways: you will be able to stop faster and you’ll be able to steer while you brake.

How Do Anti-Lock Brakes Work?

There are four components in an anti-lock braking system: speed sensors, valves, pump, and controller. Speed sensors are located at each wheel and will let the anti-lock brakes know when a wheel is about to lock up. In the brake line of each brake controlled by the ABS, there is a valve. Some anti-lock brake systems have three valve positions: open position is when pressure is passed from the master cylinder to the brake, position two is when the valve blocks the line preventing pressure from rising if the driver pressed the brake harder, and third position releases some pressure from the brake.

The pump is able to put pressure back that was released by the valve. The controller is a computer that watches the speed sensors and controls the valves. The controller looks for decelerations in the wheels that aren’t normal. When this deceleration happens, the anti-lock braking system will reduce pressure until there is an acceleration, and then increase pressure again for deceleration. This is a rapid process, which causes the valves to open and close very quickly. That is the pulsing you feel in the brake pedal. Some anti-lock braking systems can cycle up to 15 times per second.

Types of Anti-Lock Brakes

The four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brake system consists of a sensor on each wheel and a separate valve for each wheel. This setup ensures each wheel is monitored individually and brakes to the best of its ability. The three-channel, three-sensor anti-lock brake system consists of a sensor and valve for each of the front wheels and one sensor and valve for the back two wheels. Because the back wheels don’t have individual sensors and valves, it is possible for one of the wheels to lock up during braking. Most commonly seen on pickup trucks with rear-wheel ABS, the one-channel, one-sensor anti-lock brake system operates the same as the three-channel system, but only with the rear wheels. Again, this means that a rear wheel can lock up. The most effective anti-lock brake system is the four-channel. But they all work better than no ABS system at all.

Studies have shown that cars equipped with anti-lock brakes are less likely to be involved in fatal accidents. If you live in where the weather conditions are often wet and slippery (rain and ice), you will have more control over your car while braking. They are a good choice because it is an enhanced safety feature for your car.

you have more control over your car.