learning about auto repair expenses

Brake Repair? Answers To Common Questions About ABS Systems

Much is written about engine repair and all the things drivers need to do to keep their car running reliably. But anyone who drives a car understands that it is equally important to be able to slow and stop the car on command.

The components that make up the vehicle's braking system, including brake pads, rotors, drums, calipers, master cylinders, and more, must all be working properly for the car to slow and stop safely, whenever the driver commands it to do so. Drivers who want to learn more about their car's braking system may find the following information helpful. 

Understanding the antilock braking system 

Most cars driven today are equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS) that helps to keep the car's wheels from locking up and going into a dangerous skid when the brakes are applied. This safety system was developed to help reduce the number of crashes by helping drivers retain the ability to steer and control their cars during an emergency braking situation. 

Potential reasons for the ABS warning light to be lit

The ABS system is equipped with a warning light on the dash of the car to alert drivers that a problem exists in their braking system. Although it is common for the ABS light to flash on briefly when starting the car, drivers who notice that their car's ABS light comes on and stays on must determine why it is happening and resolve the problem. 

Some of the most common reasons for a vehicle's ABS warning light to light up and remain lit include: 

  • low brake fluid levels 
  • worn or malfunctioning brake pads or components
  • ABS or traction control switches have been turned off 
  • missing, dirty, or damaged wheel speed sensors 

Recurring low fluid levels can mean that a wheel cylinder or the car's master cylinder is failing or that a leak has occurred in one or more of the lines that feed brake fluid from the master cylinder to the braking components on each wheel. 

If drivers think the ABS or traction control system may have been switched off, they can find directions for locating the switch and resetting it in their car's owners manual. However, if the ABS light continues to be lit on the dash after resetting the switch or any other reason for its appearance is suspected, drivers will want to immediately take the car to a brake repair shop so the underlying problem can be diagnosed and repaired.