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What is ABS? And how does the system help to save so many lives around the world.

When someone asks you what ABS stands for or when you read it online, you’ll most likely say “yeah I know what ABS stands for or It has ABS ” but really most people don’t know what ABS is and what it does.

This blog will allow you to ACTUALLY be able to answer that question when someone asks and maybe show how knowledgeable you are. We will tell you about:

  • What does ABS stand for?
  • How does ABS actually work?
  • Does my car have ABS?
  • ABS warning light on the dashboard

What does ABS stand for?

ABS stands for anti-lock braking system. ABS is a safety feature that is added to all new cars which automatically disengages and re-engages the brakes at high speeds to help regain traction when the system detects the wheels are skidding. This system gives you more control over your vehicle and allows you to see out of harm's way.

This system started to be put on higher-end cars back in the 1970s and then in the 80s it became widely fitted but was originally invented and applied to aircraft in the early 1920s.

How does ABS actually work?

The functionality of an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) revolves around the car's ECU (Electronic Control Unit), often referred to as its "brain”. This ECU is intricately linked to speed sensors installed on each wheel.

When one of these sensors detects a significantly lower speed compared to the others, the system assumes that the particular wheel is on the verge of locking up. When this happens, the system intervenes by momentarily releasing the braking force and quickly reapplying it so that the wheel can regain traction.

This process happens approximately 15 times per second until the ABS knows that traction has been restored and that you have full control of the vehicle again.

Should the ABS engage while you're driving, you'll experience a distinct sensation transmitted through the brake pedal. It will pulsate rapidly, accompanied by the audible indication of the ABS system engaging in a rapid cycle of pump activation and deactivation.

Does my car have ABS?

After 2004, all cars in Europe have to have ABS - so yes! ABS is fitted as standard to all cars produced after this date. However, some cars were fitted with this system before 2004, so the best way to find out if your car has ABS is check your owner’s manual.

ABS warning light on the dashboard

When starting your vehicle, if your car is fitted with ABS, the ABS light will come on and then go off. If the ABS light remains on your dashboard, this will indicate that there is an issue with the system. This will more than likely have deactivated the ABS system and will not automatically assist you in braking, should you skid. You’lll still be able to drive the car but it’s not advisable.

One thing to note, your car's MOT test will fail if the ABS remains on.

If your ABS light remains on after starting your car, it will need to be seen by a mechanic as soon as possible. Contact us online today or visit us in branch and speak to a member of the service team who will be happy to help.

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