Friday, November 02, 2007

Anti-Lock Braking and its importance

By Dennis James

The ABS (Anti-Lock Braking) in one of the most important elements of a modern vehicle’s braking system. It works by a specialized computer activating the brake pumps so that during a powerful deceleration the wheels will not lock-up and you will be able to steer the car under such a circumstance. The situation was different before this system’s introduction. When you used to press powerfully the brake pedal, the system was fully activated permanently and the wheels blocked. This resulted in very numerous crashes, and a popular method among drivers to avoid brake lock-up was to pump the brakes.

With the introduction of ABS however these problems were solved, because the electronics does everything. An ABS fitted braking system will pump the brakes up to 15 times per second. You have to admit that no driver could match this performance.

You might ask yourself how ABS works.
Each wheel is fitted with sensors. They scan continuously the movement of each wheel and when they sense that a wheel has stopped, which is the case with a powerful braking, this sensor will transmit the ABS computer a signal. The computer will regulate the pressure in the braking system for all four wheels accordingly and this way wheel lock-up is reduced.
The computer will direct the braking pump to increase and reduce pressure in the system a few dozen times per second all the time the brake pedal is pressed. The driver can steer the car almost normally, because he will have control of the wheels in avoiding an obstacle, for example.
You can hear and feel the ABS when it enters the scene, you will feel some short movements in the brake pedal and you will hear a distinct sound.

Your breaking distances will not be reduced if your car is fitted with ABS. It has other purposes, to allow you to handle the car in a case when a powerful brake is necessary. There may be situations when ABS braking will actually increase the braking distance of the vehicle. If you have to brake forcefully and an obstacle appears in front of you, you will be able to drive around it and not crush into it.

The entire job is done by specialized computers and sensors. The driver is not obliged to do anything special, just to use the brakes in the normal way, braking and keeping the brake pedal pushed. Do not use the pumping technique when driving an ABS fitted car, because the actual pumping is being done by the system.

The early systems were rear-wheel ABS, which pumped only the rear wheels. They have been used quite some time ago in SUVs and pick-up trucks and are no longer produced. Today almost all cars are manufactured with four-wheel ABS as standard equipment. In this case, the system uses the sensors at each wheel to pump them all, individually, according to the situation. It is the most efficient system, the more precise, but it is the most expensive one to implement. Some less expensive cars are fitted with a three-channel system.

Dennis runs Car Dealer Check a website dedicated to providing honest car dealer ratings and providing a consumer car dealer survey service.

2 comments:

mcqueen said...

I bet this Anit-lock braking device will really help cars avoid accidents. Aside from this, attaching grill guards to cars will also help.

diesel performance guy said...

the Anti-Lock Braking is really a great feature to be added in any car it will surely lessen some accidents that are happening on our streets. So I am thinking of buying an ABS first before another diesel performance product.