How do Anti-Lock Brakes work?


Traditionally, slamming on the brakes would cause them to lock up, making your car occasionally lose control. With older vehicles, it was hard to maximize the stopping power of your brakes. You either were not braking as hard as you need to, or you hit the brakes too hard, causing a skid.

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) give you the ability to stop faster and steer your car while you do it. ABS provides any driver with the ability to brake with full power, allowing the technology to do the heavy lifting. That catch and release vibrating pedal you feel after you slam on your brakes are the ABS at work. With bad weather such as rain or icy roads, ABS even allows you to brake on mixed surfaces with control.

The anti-lock brake system comes with four main parts: the speed sensor, valves, pump, and controller. The sensor communicates with the wheels (or differential) to know when to lower the tire speed. Each brake line connects to a valve controlled by the ABS. This valve has three positions that control the amount of pressure passed from the master cylinder. The pump works opposite of the valves to restore the pressure. Finally, the controller acts as the brain of the ABS, controlling the valves and sensors. Unless you are driving on gravel, ABS brakes almost always provide more control than the old system.

Overall, the ABS has made driving safer and is becoming more prominent with different vehicle types. If you’re in the greater Richmond area and have any concerns with your brakes, call Ferber’s Tire and Auto for a brake inspection today!