The anti-lock braking system (ABS)on a vehicle is a safety feature found on millions of motor vehicles today. The ABS system was designed to help in preventing wheels from locking during heavy braking conditions and situations, preventing the vehicle from skidding. Your vehicle’s ABS system is made up of the ABS control module or ABS control unit as it’s also called, and ABS sensors at each of the four wheels. The sensors detect the speed of the wheel and will send a message to the ABS control unit to rapidly pump the brakes when it detects that your vehicle has lost traction or is skidding.
When your ABS system isn’t working properly, then loss of traction, skidding, and hydroplaning are far more likely to occur under sudden braking situations. Your vehicle’s ABS system is usually designed to give you plenty of warning signs when there is any trouble with it.
Signs of a defective ABS system
1. An Unresponsive Brake Pedal
In some cases, and depending on the model of vehicle, when the ABS control unit fails, the vehicle’s brake pedal may become unresponsive. An unresponsive brake pedal is obviously a very serious problem as you will not be able to stop the vehicle in time nor in a safe manner.This will gradually happen over time in most cases though. Over time, the brake pedal will become increasingly hard to press until it’s no longer responsive.
2. Brake Pedal Requires More Effort To Push
When your braking system is up to par, the pedal should require very little effort to push down. Once pressed, the pedal should have an immediate effect of slowing down your vehicle. If you notice over time your brake pedal requires more effort in order to achieve the same amount of braking force, then it’s possible that your ABS module maybe faulty.
3. The ABS Light Is On
Probably the most obvious sign of an issue with your vehicle’s ABS system is the ABS Light coming on and staying on. The ABS Light will show an amber color, and is the equivalent of a Check Engine Light, except it is only to diagnose problems with the ABS system. Some older vehicles equipped with older ABS systems might not show a designated ABS Light or symbol, and might instead just show a Check Engine Light. So if your light comes on, then get your vehicle checked ASAP. It could be a matter of life or death, literally!
4. Your Brakes Are Locking Up
A 100% properly functioning ABS system was designed for the purpose of preventing your wheels from locking up during heavy braking, preventing loss of traction. There can however be circumstances where a faulty ABS control unit can behave like madness and making your brakes lock up even under normal driving conditions. If you experience erratic and sporadic behavior from your brakes, then your ABS module maybe at fault and will more than likely need to be replaced.