ABS standing for “anti lock braking system”. Most modern vehicles come standard with ABS. This safety feature is an incredibly important part of your braking system, as it keeping your wheels from seizing up. This means that this system helps you maintain control of your vehicle and help prevent skid-outs. 

ABS was first developed in the 1950s and was used to keep aircraft from skidding. Anti lock braking systems were adopted by vehicle manufacturers Chrylser and Ford in the 1970s. 

Your ABS is key to keeping you safe. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize when there’s an issue. But first, let’s take a quick look at how your ABS works.

How ABS Works

Your ABS monitors your vehicles wheels for pressure changes through sensors located at each wheel. When these sensors detect an issue, they tell the ABS module to brake. This, in turn, helps to prevent traction loss and skidding. 

Without our ABS your wheels have the potential to lock up, leading to serious possible issues. 

Does ABS Work In All Weather?

ABS works best under normal driving conditions on smooth road surfaces. Though ABS will kick in whenever necessary, it typically doesn’t work as well as it normally would in snowing conditions or on look graven. 

Signs of ABS Trouble

  1. A Light. The most obvious sign of ABS trouble is when a light comes on on the dashboard. An AMS light will typically say ABS in big amber letters, much like (some) check engine lights. If your ABS light comes on it is a good idea to head to a mechanic right away, as an issue with your ABS can have devastating consequences. It’s important to keep in mind that an illuminated ABS light doesn’t always spell disaster. In some cases an ABS light may be computer issues, a blown fuse, a faulty wheel sensor, or even low tire pressure. Regardless, it is still a good idea to bring your car in ASAP to make sure that the problem isn’t more serious. 
  2. Locking brakes. Issues with your brakes may mean you already have an issue with your ABS. If you have to pump the brakes or your brakes suddenly lock up when you’re driving normally you likely have an issue with your anti lock braking system that should be addressed immediately. 
  3. An unresponsive brake. An unresponsive brake pedal can be scary. If there is an issue with your ABS, a sign is a brake pedal that becomes partially or totally unresponsive. For obvious reasons this is concerning and should be addressed immediately. In this case, it is wise to have your vehicle towed into the shop versus driving it in yourself. 
  4. You need to press the brakes harder to slow. When there is an issue with your braking system you may not be able to brake as easily as usual. Normally, you shouldn’t have to work too hard for the brake to start taking effect. If you need to make an extra effort to get the same braking effect, it is time to bring your car into the shop.

If you notice any of these signs of ABS trouble it’s important that you come in to a trusted mechanic right away. Trouble with your anti lock braking system can put both you and other drivers in danger.


At Beetlesmith’s Valley Auto Service of Renton our goal is to provide you with excellent service. If you’re having car trouble, request an appointment with our knowledgable staff. We’ll get you back on the road safely in no time.


Planning a summer road trip? Check out our Summer Weather Vehicle Maintenance Checklist for tips on how to prepare your vehicle for your next adventure!

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