6 Common ABS Problems

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a safety feature installed on most modern passenger vehicles. Simply put, ABS brakes work by preventing the wheels from locking up in case of heavy braking. In turn, this prevents uncontrolled skidding and improves vehicle control especially on wet and slippery surfaces. Like other mechanical systems though, it is vulnerable to problems. Common ABS problems happen due to normal wear and aging.

Indicator Light Malfunction

An indicator light on the dashboard is a quick way to find out that something is wrong with your ABS. However, it does not say what exactly is the problem. It could simply be a simple issue or serious mechanical trouble. Either way, it is recommended to play it safe and have it checked.

Wheel Speed Sensor Problems

ABS is an automated systems that relies on sensors for input. They tell when the wheels are about to lock-up. Failed sensors are a common cause of many ABS problems. Metal particles may be attracted to the magnetic sensors which could disrupt signals. This causes indicator lights to light up and error messages to appear. In severe cases, sensors may crack due to particle and dust buildup.

Incorrect Tire Size

Aftermarket wheels may look nice on your ride but they do have a bad effect on its ABS. ABS problems like premature lockup and inaction can be traced to incorrect tire sizing. Mismatched tire sizes also cause inaccurate readouts on your speedometer. If you must change wheels, try to stick to the factory size as close as possible. Another option is to recalibrate the computer to account for the change.

Damaged Wiring

All major components of anti-lock brakes are connected by wires. In effect, it is the backbone of the entire system. Exposed or damaged wires are not good and will definitely cause ABS problems. Worst, it could stop your car’s ABS from working entirely. Damage to wiring has to do more with wear and tear or contact with sharp objects.

Broken ABS Controller

The brains of the entire operation is the ABS controller. It takes signals from each wheel sensor and brings the ABS to life whenever it is needed. The breakdown of such a major component will definitely cause ABS problems and the entire system may fail. In such a case, it needs to be fixed or even replaced entirely.

Corrosion in the Valve Assembly

The brake fluid in your car should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Failure to do so could lead to moisture buildup. When this happens, brake valves may stick to a particular position and malfunction. Valves control the flow of brake fluid into your brakes providing the critical anti-lock feature. Check your owner’s manual and see that you have the necessary items checked and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Anti-lock brakes are an important safety feature in every vehicle. They help drivers keep control in emergency situation which helps prevents accidents. This is why it is important to keep them in top shape. Avoiding ABS problems means regular checkup for critical components such as the sensors, controller, and valves.