What you should know about ... Anti-lock Braking System: How do I use ABS?



How do I use ABS?

Apply steady and constant pressure - do not take your foot off the brake pedal until the vehicle has stopped and do not pump the brake.

How to use ABS


What is that noise and vibration?

This is normal and indicates that the ABS is active. Various ABS sound or feel differently. Some of the effects, for example are:

  • a groaning noise
  • a rapid pulsing of the brake pedal
  • a periodic dropping of the brake pedal
  • a hard (non compliant) brake pedal
  • a light that turns on to say "low traction".

You should familiarize yourself with how your system functions by first reading the "Owner’s Manual" and then testing your ABS in an empty parking lot under various climatic conditions i.e. dry, wet, snow and ice.

Pulsating brake pedal
Brake pedal will pulsate
As the ABS engages, you may feel the brake pedal pulsating. This is caused by the system applying and releasing pressure to the brakes.

The noise associated with ABS when it is functioning should not be confused with brake squeal. If your brakes squeal under normal braking, this may mean the brake pads are worn and need replacing. A pulsing brake pedal every time you apply the brakes may mean warped brake rotors and/or seized brake calipers that require servicing.

REMEMBER...WHEN IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT. Transport Canada recommends that if you are experiencing any abnormal braking, have it checked out at your dealer.



Is the stopping distance shorter with ABS?

No! From early commercials, it may have looked like you could stop on a dime. That instantaneous stop is not realistic. When braking on dry or wet roads your stopping distance will be about the same as with conventional brakes.

You should allow for a longer stopping distance with ABS than for conventional brakes when driving on gravel, slush, and snow. This is because the rotating tire will stay on top of this low traction road surface covering, and effectively "float" on this boundary layer.

A non ABS braked vehicle can lock its tires and create a snow plow effect in front of the tires which helps slow the vehicle. These locked tires can often find more traction below this boundary layer.



Winter tires

Braking and steering are limited by the amount of traction your tires can generate. Testing has shown that good winter tires reduce the stopping distance of an ABS equipped vehicle in winter conditions.

Rather than installing only two winter tires on the drive wheels, it is RECOMMENDED that you install four winter tires to maintain equal traction on each wheel. This will help you to steer, stop, and accelerate.



<< Previous | Next >>

Date modified: