How ABS works

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One of the most unnerving things that can happen in motoring is that you brake and one or more of the wheels locks up. This has two possible effects. It can make the car slew to one side or, if the car happens to skid in a straight line, the steering becomes useless and you lose all directional control.

Electronic anti-lock braking Disc brake Pedal de freno Brake master cylinder Toothed disc Connected to the wheel hub and rotates at the same speed as the road wheel.. Speed sensor Detects the speed at which the toothed disc rotates. Hydraulic control unit Receives messages from the electronic control unit that a wheel is about to lock up and reduces hydraulic pressure accordingly. Electronic control unit Fed with information from the speed sensor, it decides whether a wheel is about to lock up.

Electronic anti-lock braking

Virtually all modern cars are fitted with microprocessor-controlled anti-lock braking systems (ABS). These can react very quickly to the wheels locking, interrupting and reapplying the brakes up to 25 times a second to ensure the vehicle doesn't skid.

The best way to prevent skidding is to apply a form of braking called cadence braking. A driver who is skilled at this can usually avoid wheel lockup, but an anti-lock braking system does the job automatically and usually more efficiently. More and more cars are now being fitted with such a system.