Your vehicle has many warning lights on the instrument cluster. We are going to cover the ABS light this week. It isn’t safe to drive with the car’s ABS light on since it means the system isn’t working properly. Your vehicle’s braking may not work if you need to stop your car quickly or in an emergency.
What is ABS?
ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System
The anti-lock braking system helps the tyres on your vehicle maintain contact with the road while you are braking. It functions by preventing the wheels from locking up, which can result in uncontrollable skids. The main purpose of the Anti-lock Braking System is to improve vehicle control under heavy braking, especially on loose, wet or slick surfaces. It does not necessarily decrease stopping distance, although it can help.
Here are some things you need to know about safety:
- The ABS system does a self-test every time you turn on the ignition. Once you start your vehicle, the light will briefly come on, and if the computer finds a problem, the light will stay on. If you notice the light flash immediately after starting the vehicle, that is just your vehicle doing a self-check.
- If the warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working properly. Your brakes will still work, but the ABS might not engage if you need to make an emergency stop. If the light remains on, you need to have a mechanic diagnose the ABS light issue as soon as possible. Since the ABS helps with vehicle control and stopping distances, it is an important safety feature to maintain – you never know when you’ll need it.
- If both the ABS and brake system light (your handbrake light on instrument cluster) come on at the same time, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive. This means there is a serious problem with the braking system, and continuing to drive puts yourself and others at risk of a car crash.
- As you are braking heavily and your Anti-lock Braking System engages, you will notice the brake pedal pulsating. This is completely normal and it means the ABS system is working normally. The Anti-lock Braking System works with your braking system to create this pulsating so the wheels do not lock up. Once you feel this pulsating, keep your foot on the brake pedal and let the ABS system do the work for you. All you need to do is concentrate on steering safely. In basic terms the braking system is applying the brake and in a split second releasing pressure and then reapplying the pressure as to prevent the tyres from skidding or locking up on the surface. This happens multiple times a second.
Driving with the ABS Light on is not a good idea because it means your Anti-lock Braking System is not working properly. This means your vehicle may not handle like it is designed to under heavy braking. If both your Anti-lock Braking System Light and brake system light come on, this is an emergency and you need to stop driving right away. Have your entire brake system inspected by a certified mechanic, such as one from e-CAR. Click here to find a workshop near you