In most of the modern vehicles, many of the manufacturers have added anti-lock braking systems (ABS) to the host of safety features available in today’s newer model vehicles in a bid to enhance safety of the same.
The ABS incorporates a computer or controller to analyse the rotation and traction of each wheel. In the event of slippage, the computer takes over the pumping action and fluid system of the brakes to improve stopping ability and vehicle control.
In the USA, Canada and Japan, about 72 percent of all new cars and 94 percent of new light trucks have ABS fitted unto them.
The presence of ABS in a vehicle can give you the confidence and peace of mind as well as greatly increase the ability to safely drive your vehicle more certain of your safety.
In addition, this knowledge is important when performing repairs or requesting service through franchises or independent repair garages.
First and foremost, check your vehicle owner's manual to determine whether your vehicle has ABS.
A number of owner's manuals are quite standard and may include information that doesn't apply directly to your vehicle.
You can turn the ignition on your car without starting the vehicle. Look at the lights displayed on your dashboard. ABS often shows up as an amber coloured symbol on the instrument panel.
If still not sure, take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. ABS features a separate controller and pump under the vehicle that will be readily visible to a skilled professional.
Your mechanic will be following your brake lines to the engine compartment. If your vehicle has ABS, the brake lines will enter a control box located near the engine.
Alternatively, write down your full vehicle identification number (VIN).
The VIN can be found on a plate affixed to the dashboard near the lower corner of the windshield or on the sticker attached to the driver side door panel.
The VIN contains every bit of information about the features available on the vehicle when it was originally produced.
In case of doubt, contact the appropriate vehicle dealership and provide them with the VIN number to determine if the vehicle has ABS.
The ABS will certainly come handy in cases of driving on slippery surfaces or the need to abruptly apply the brakes!
If you are an experienced driver, have you ever felt a pumping or vibrating motion in the brake pedal when driving on slippery surfaces?
If you have, the ABS, may have been engaging to regain traction. Some anti-lock braking systems make a buzzing or grinding noise when engaged.
If renting a vehicle, first consult the rental agents for full information about the safety equipment available on any rented vehicles.
Brake application during loss of traction with an ABS vehicle is very different than with non-ABS vehicles.
ABS requires firm pressure on the brake pedal to allow the system to work. Brake systems without ABS require the more traditional pumping of the brake pedal to resume control and vehicle traction whereas the ABS applies its own pump!