There’s a common misconception that anti-lock brakes (ABS brakes) help you stop faster. That’s not always the case on loose gravel or snowy surfaces.
In fact, the role of ABS brakes is to help you maintain control of your vehicle in an emergency braking situation.
Imagine you are driving on a snowy CO road.
You need to slam on your brakes and your rear wheels lock up. Chances are good that the rear end of your vehicle will try to pass the front end, and you can easily lose control.
What would happen in the same circumstance if your front wheels locked up?
Well, you certainly wouldn’t be able to steer properly, and your vehicle’s front end would go wherever momentum leads it.
The Role of ABS Brakes
The ABS modulates your brakes on and off as many as 15 times a second. This keeps your wheels from locking up while providing the greatest amount of braking power possible.
You are better able to steer your vehicle and maintain control. People often talk about the 3 S’s of ABS: Stomp – Stay – Steer. Stomp on the brake, Stay on the brake and Steer normally.
Modern ABS utilizes a computer to receive information from sensors and control the anti-lock brakes. There are wheel speed sensors at each wheel reporting back to the computer, which can then decide when to activate the anti-lock brakes on the wheel or wheels in need.
So, What Affects How Well ABS Brakes Work?
First, the condition of your brakes: If your brakes are worn or not working properly, the ABS will not be able to do its job as effectively.
A brake inspection from Dakota Ridge Auto in Littleton will let you know if your brake shoes/pads are in good condition, if there are any mechanical brake problems and if your brake fluid and power brake system are in need of service. We can also find problems with the various sensors and the wiring that sends the messages to and from the computer.
And, of course, your tires need to be in good condition in order to have enough traction to start, stop and steer. Worn tires are a big problem for ABS and stability control systems.
The role of ABS brakes is vital. It’s the foundation of stability control systems, providing the information needed for stability control as well as to strategically brake a wheel when needed, so making sure your ABS is working well is very important.
Also, the rolling diameter of your tires is one of the factors on which the computer uses to base anti-lock decisions. If you buy tires that are more than 3% larger or smaller than the tires that were installed at the factory, the ABS and stability control systems will not work properly.
The pros at Dakota Ridge Auto can recalibrate the computer for the new tire size so that the systems have the correct information.
When you start your vehicle, the ABS light will briefly illuminate on the dash. If the system is having a problem, the light will stay on to let you know that service is needed.
That is your cue to take your vehicle to Dakota Ridge Auto for an inspection to determine the problem. We’ll make sure your vehicle is repaired and the role of ABS brakes can be fulfilled.