574 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton ON, L8L 5X3

What Is The Anti-Lock Braking System? (And Is It Important?)

What Is The Anti-Lock Braking System? (And Is It Important?)

You’ve likely heard of the anti-lock braking system, or ABS for short, before, but just what does this system do and how important is it to your vehicle?

What Is The Anti-Lock Braking System?

If you’ve ever skidded along an icy or wet road, you know the horrible heart-in-mouth feeling it induces. It’s awful to feel as though you’re not in control of your vehicle, even for a second.

One of the things that makes driving a lot safer is the anti-lock braking system. ABS are designed to stop your car from skidding over patches of ice or snow, or otherwise slippery roads and surfaces. When your wheels skid, they’re not providing your vehicle with the traction it needs. Your cars ABS system allows you to stop faster and steer while you are braking.

How Anti-Lock Brakes Work

The four main components of an anti-lock brake system are the speed sensor (or sensors), pump, valves, and controller. They all work together to help stop your vehicle from skidding. Here’s what each component or set of components does:

Speed Sensors

Your ABS needs to know when your wheel is about to lock up. The speed sensors are installed on your wheels, provide this information. By judging sudden changes in speed, they can anticipate locking.


Each brake controlled by the ABS has a valve in its brake line. In some systems, the valve has three positions. In position one, the valve is open so pressure from the master cylinder can pass through to the brake. In position two, the valve blocks the line, cutting that brake off from the master cylinder, preventing the pressure from rising further, even if you push the brake pedal harder. In position three, the valve releases some of the pressure from the brake.


Because the valve is able to release pressure from the brakes, there needs to be a way to put that pressure back. This is what the pump does. When a valve lessens the pressure in a line, the pump can get the pressure back up.


The controller is a computer in your vehicle. It monitors the speed sensors and controls the valves.

ABS In Action

Different systems can work in slightly different ways. But in the simplest method, the vehicle’s controller watches the speed sensors, looking for odd decelerations in the wheel. Wheels experience a rapid deceleration just before locking up. You don’t want your wheel to stop that much faster than the rest of your vehicle, so your controller reduces the pressure to that brake until it senses an acceleration. At that point, it increases the pressure until it sees the deceleration again.

The goal is to get the tire to slow down at the same rate as the rest of the vehicle. When the ABS system goes into action, you’ll feel a pulsing in the brake pedal. This is caused by the rapid opening and closing of the valves. All said they ABS provides essential safety to your vehicle.

Come To Putney’s For Anti-Lock Braking System Service And Repair In Hamilton, ON.

If you’re concerned about the status of your ABS, come to Putney’s and we’ll inspect it. To book an appointment for ABS repair, or for any other service, please click here. To learn more about ABS, or our other services and products, you can contact us via our website or call us at 905-523-7535.

Locations Served
Verified by MonsterInsights