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What do anti-lock brakes do?

11th September 2020

What are anti-lock brakes?

An anti-lock braking system – also known as ABS – is a safety feature which is standard in all modern cars. It is designed to prevent the wheels from locking, which helps to maintain control and grip of the vehicle on the road. The ABS system takes over from when you apply pressure on the brake to avoid a collision – ensuring that the control of the vehicle is maintained, and preventing skidding on the road.

How do anti-lock brakes work?

The ABS system works by having a sensor attached to each of the wheels, enabling the system to effectively monitor the wheels’ braking. This is conducted through an electronic stability control system, which releases the brakes for a moment if the sensors detect that the wheel is about to lock up.

ABS systems are clever – as they will then continue to apply just the right amount of braking power to ensure the brakes do not lock, but the vehicle does come to a natural halt in order to avoid the collision on the road. This process reduces skidding on the road, and helps maintain control and stability of the vehicle. However, it should be noted that although ABS is a significant safety feature, the system itself does increase your car’s braking distance – so you need to ensure you still brake in plenty of time behind the vehicle in front of you.

Which cars are fitted with ABS?

All modern cars are fitted with anti-lock braking systems as part of standard manufacture. However, if your vehicle is older, you may not have ABS brakes on your vehicle. The process of how anti-lock brakes work can, however, be simulated – simply apply the brake and release it repeatedly to emulate the ABS effect.

However, it’s recommended to purchase a vehicle with ABS already installed – as it’s an extremely effective safety feature. ABS is associated with reducing the likelihood of cars being involved in fatal accidents, as well as reducing the likelihood of frontal collisions on wet and dry roads.

For more information about anti-lock braking systems, visit our dedicated car brakes section. Here, you can find out more information about how you know if your brakes need maintenance, how brakes fail and information about booking in your free brake check. Locate your nearest Merityre Specialists to book in today.