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Posted On: April 2nd, 2016    To  Auto Info, Automotive Technology, Car Parts

Just Imagine you are happily driving your precious car in a less busy road with a macho speed and suddenly a vehicle swerves in front of your car or any obstacle appears unexpectedly. What will you do? Definitely you will do the same as everybody does. Slam the brake at a heavy rate violently!

But what will happen to this? Will everything be remained quite Car Collision unharmed and you will evade the hurdles successfully? The answer is a big NO (unless you are a stunt expert) because doing so will eventually lock the wheels and initiates a skid. Hence the car continues to move straight ahead due to the loss of steering control and ultimately collision occurs with the front vehicle or obstacles.

So, what’s the solution?

Nothing but get a car equipped with the ABS and you can easily evade the hurdles (don’t need to be a stunt expert). ABS is the abbreviated form of Anti-lock Braking System which is introduced as standard on many cars during the period of mid-1980.

Go through the below lines to know everything about ABS.

What is an ABS?

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) is an advanced safety feature equipped in the modern cars. As the name suggests, Anti-lock Braking System does accordingly.

  • It helps to prevent the car wheel from locking up whenever the driver slams the brake suddenly.
  • But in cars without ABS, the wheels get locked after the sudden brake and render the vehicle to skid. Ultimately the car loses tractive contact with the road surfaces and causes the driver losing his control over the direction of the vehicle.
  • This is designed to help the drivers to have great steering control in some unavoidable situations where hard braking is necessary to escape from there safely.

Types of ABS

All the ABS setups are not the same. These setups are varied depending upon the

  • No. of channels (how many valves are individually controlled)
  • No. of sensors used. (senses when the wheel locks-up)

So according to the no. of channels and the no. of sensors used, this ABS system is divided into different types. They are

Four channel, four sensor ABS

This is probably the ideal type of ABS as one sensor and one valve is equipped on each of the four wheels. So here the controller monitors all the four wheels separately to figure out the exact braking force of all wheels. It’s widely used in most of the today’s modern cars.

Three channel, three sensor ABS

In this setup, each of the front wheels comes with an individual sensor and valve but the rear two wheels have a common sensor and valve equipped with. So they are monitored together. This type of ABS commonly found in the pick-up trucks with four-wheel ABS.

One channel, one sensor ABS

Here the rear two wheels share one sensor and one valve. So in this setup, the real wheels only get monitored. This type of ABS found only on the trucks.

How ABS works?

Anti-lock Brake System works far better than the normal braking system. Before knowing the working mechanism, we must know about the different components of ABS. They are:

  • Speed sensors
  • Pump
  • Valves
  • Controller

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

Working mechanism

The working mechanism varies up to some extent in different types of ABS. However, below there is a basic pattern of working procedure explained.

  • The controller constantly monitors the speed of each wheel through the speed sensors connected with the wheels.
  • If any wheel is monitored running slower than other wheels, the controller sends appropriate signals to the corresponding valve connected to the slower wheel.
  • Then the corresponding valve gets engaged in reducing the pressure in brake lines which as a result reduces the braking force applied to the wheel and prevents the wheel from locking-up.
  • This allows the slower wheel to again return back to the exact speed of the other wheels.
  • Also if one of the wheels found to be accelerating quicker than the other wheels, the controller sends signal to the valve for increasing the braking force to bring the wheel back to the speed of other wheels.

In this way ABS prevents the wheel from locking-up by modulating the braking pressure at each individual wheel and as the wheels get prevented from locking-up, it ensures the driver both steer-ability and stability control over the vehicle with the shortest possible braking distance.

Pros and cons of ABS

Some drivers find downside of this ABS system despite of its several advantages. So let’s find what are the pros and cons of this braking system:

Pros

  • Saves lives by preventing the wheel lock-up and skidding even on slippery conditions.
  • Lower insurance costs than the normal brakes.
  • Resale value is higher.
  • Steer under braking.
  • Provides shortest stopping distance.

Cons

  • Costlier than the vehicle without ABS.
  • Adds complexity to the engine.

Conclusion

The ABS technology was there in the past 80’s. Since then many technical amendments have been made in the technology and the improvement is still going on. Today most of the vehicles provide an option for the ABS braking and yes it is gaining popularity in the automotive market. Though it has several advantages to the user, its lone intention is to prevent the brakes from locking up and skidding when braking hard or when braking on wet or slick surfaces and better control over the steering to evade the obstacles.

Certainly it’s an essential requirement in every car as it provides a significant margin of safety to your life. So if you don’t drive an ABS equipped car today, note down this requirement to look for, whenever you rush to the Auto showroom to grab a new one.

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2 Comments

  1. Aaron Botton says:

    Is not it funny that we are using cars everyday but still not even aware of the common things that we need to know about it. I guess, we all know the term “Anti-lock braking system” but not much more about it. Well, thanks for your post. It’s presenting the complete details about it. I got the graphical part more interesting to read. So nice of you sharing it!

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