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Anti-lock brakes are the most important active safety system obtainable in an automobile today.

The History of ABS Like other areas of the auto industry, ABS comes from the aviation industry. The very first system available on cars was introduced by Bosch and equipped around the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 1978. Over the last 2 decades, ABS has marched down market and is now available on virtually every vehicle bought from North America. Each successive generation has become more efficient and quicker to react in emergencies.

ABS pump is always running

How it works Speed sensors are located at each wheel. When these sensors 'sense' that a tire has stopped moving (the wheel is locked under braking) the sensor sends a note to the controller that in turn regulates the brake pressure to lessen lock-up. It 'pumps' the brakes over a dozen times per second by increasing brake pressure and reducing it, again and again. Since the wheels aren't locked up, a driver can swerve to prevent an obstacle while under hard braking.

Types of Anti-lock Braking Systems There's two system designs, four-wheel ABS and rear-wheel ABS. Rear-wheel systems were offered on pick-ups plus some SUV's in the early and mid nineties. They only pumped the rear wheels.

Today it is not easy to find this system. Four-wheel ABS has become the mainstream. But there's two variations of four-wheel ABS. You will find four-channel anti-lock braking systems and three-channel.

Both systems have speed sensors at each wheel but a three-channel system pumps the trunk brakes in the same speed and also the two front wheels pump individually.

A four-channel system pumps all four brakes individually as they may be on several surfaces such as ice, gravel, pavement or grass. A three-channel product is cheaper to create and is typically offered on less expensive cars. The four-channel product is a better, more precise system, though a 3 channel product is still far better than no ABS whatsoever.

The misconception ABS is not designed to reduce your vehicles braking distance. Actually depending on the road surface, it may slightly increase your braking distance. ABS is designed to give the driver full control in desperate situations situation. Because the wheels won't lock, you've full control of steering to be able to avoid an obstacle. On slippery surfaces, ABS pays dividends as possible now steer away from an obstacle instead of sliding right into it.

Using ABS When ABS is automatically activated in an emergency braking situation it can make a sound and pulses through the brake pedal. This is normal. Don't pump the brakes. This will render the machine useless and will cause dramatically increased braking distances. The machine will do its job however, you have to be confident and get on the brakes as hard as you possibly can. Get on'em, and stay on'em!!