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How Antilock Brake Systems Work

Understanding what Antilock Brakes are and how they work.
» Part 1: What Is ABS?
» Part 2: How It Works
» Part 3: More How It Works
» Part 4: Rear Wheel ABS
» Part 5: More RABS
» Part 6: Conclusion

Since most cars on the road today have some form of Antilock Brakes (ABS) I think we should take a look at how they work and clear up some mis-information about them.

As always, what I describe here is how most systems work in general. Since different manufactures have their own versions of ABS their values, specifications and part names will differ. If you are having a problem with the ABS on your vehicle you should always refer to the specific service and repair manuals for your vehicle.

The ABS is a four-wheel system that prevents wheel lock-up by automatically modulating the brake pressure during an emergency stop. By preventing the wheels from locking, it enables the driver to maintain steering control and to stop in the shortest possible distance under most conditions.

During normal braking, the ABS and non-ABS brake pedal feel will be the same. During ABS operation, a pulsation can be felt in the brake pedal, accompanied by a fall and then rise in brake pedal height and a clicking sound.

Vehicles with ABS are equipped with a pedal-actuated, dual-brake system. The hydraulic system consists of the following:

  • ABS hydraulic control valves and electronic control unit
  • Power brake booster
  • Brake master cylinder
  • Necessary brake tubes and hoses
» Part 1       »
Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5       » Part 6
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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