The anti-lock braking system or ABS has been available in the auto world for over a decade now, so it has become a standard feature for modern vehicles. You’ll find it listed in car brochures, but is it just marketing hype, or is it a crucial safety feature?
The ABS is a lifesaver on the road because it prevents your wheels from locking up when you suddenly press the brake pedal. In doing so, it keeps your car from skidding or losing grip on the road. All vehicles in Australia made after 2003 are legally required to have ABS.
This guide will help you understand why the anti-lock braking system is such a crucial feature and how it can save your life when driving on the road.
What Is an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)?
If you’re a car buyer and find yourself asking, “What is an anti-lock braking system?” this article is for you. Don’t worry, it’s a pretty straightforward system, and the name tells you everything you need to know.
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety feature that prevents your brakes from locking up whenever you press on the pedal during emergencies.
Suppose a dog runs across the road, sending you to step on the brake pedal as hard as you can. The system has a sensor that will recognise when you do that, triggering the system to activate. As a result, the ABS will pump your brakes several times a second until your car comes to a safe stop.
Anti-lock braking is a lifesaver, so it's a standard feature worldwide. The Australian government and many others have made it a legal requirement for cars produced after a specific year.
What Do Anti-Lock Brakes Prevent?
An anti-lock braking system significantly reduces the risk of severe road accidents. As the name suggests, the system prevents your brakes from locking up. But what does that mean?
Well, whenever you slam on your brakes, there’s also a strong chance that your wheels will lock up. When that happens, you’ll lose traction or grip on the road, and your car will skid. Worse yet, if you panic, you’ll lose your ability to turn your vehicle and avoid dangers on the road ahead.
The ABS prevents that from happening. Even though your foot pushes the brake pedal down, the system ensures that it pumps the brakes repeatedly instead of engaging it the whole time.
Firstly, that prevents your tyres from locking up and your car from skidding all over the place. It also helps you maintain some control over your car’s direction.
Are Anti-Lock Brakes a Standard Feature in All Cars?
No, not all cars on the road have ABS as a standard feature, but the Australian government has made it mandatory for all news car after 2003 to have ABS as standard. So, if your car or truck is relatively new, you can assume that you have it.
If you’re unsure about your car model, check the user manual or look on the instrument panel for an anti-lock braking system light. Cars that come with ABS will also have the warning light to tell you if the system is experiencing any problems.
Besides that, some cars will also have an ABS sticker on the windscreen or elsewhere.
Pros and Cons of Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS)
The ABS is a safety feature that promises to keep you safer on the road. Still, it has pros and cons just like any other feature in your vehicle.
Here are some you’ll want to be aware of.
Benefits of ABS in Cars
- Prevents Traction Loss: An anti-lock braking system is a safety feature because it ultimately prevents you from getting into accidents. The system does that by ensuring that your wheels can grip the road at all times, particularly when you hit the emergency brakes.
- Works on Icy Surfaces: ABS systems don’t only work on well-maintained paved roads but also on icy roads. That’s fantastic news as it provides assurances for people who are scared to drive during winter.
- Reduces Insurance Costs: The ABS feature isn’t just some marketing hype manufacturers include in the car brochure. It is a widely recognised safety feature that even your insurance company prefers that you have it. Since it reduces your risks on the road, you pay auto insurers less if you have it.
- Increases Resale Value: Savvy car buyers look for this feature, especially when buying second-hand cars. In other words, having ABS on your vehicle helps you get a better price when you decide to sell it.
Drawbacks of ABS
- Extra Costs: The anti-lock brake system works alongside a sensor and pump, not to mention the computer that controls how it works. Those additional components mean that you’re paying an added cost to have them on your vehicle. In addition, when the system gets faulty, repairs and replacements will also cost you money.
- System Malfunctions: We’ve seen that the ABS has plenty of fantastic value to offer. Unfortunately, this intelligent system isn’t always so bright. Like any other driver-assist feature on your car, the system can malfunction. When it does, you’ll likely face problems with braking or hear loud noises coming from the pump.
Is An Anti-Lock Braking System Necessary?
Yes, legally speaking, anti-lock braking systems are necessary in Australia for all new cars after 2003. Even if you’re driving an older car, for which the law doesn’t require ABS, it’s still a good idea to have one installed for your sake and other road users.
Are you having trouble with your anti-lock braking system? Find a qualified technician through the Directory at CarPart AU. Find automotive technicians and workshops in your area to help you solve your problem now!
By Ray Hasbollah