Auto Repair: Checking Anti-Lock Brakes

Auto engine repair on creeper.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) vary from one vehicle to another, and most require no special maintenance. Manufacturers install a warning light — usually yellow or amber in color — in the instrument panel that, under normal circumstances, goes on briefly during engine startup and turns off in a short amount of time. If it goes on while you're on the road, the ABS system isn't working properly and your vehicle is using only the normal brake system. In this case, get the ABS repaired as soon as you can.

Remember: If you want to test the operation of your anti-lock brakes, find an empty parking lot on a rainy day. While traveling on a slippery surface at about 30 mph, with no obstacles in front of you, firmly press the brake pedal. You should hear some clicking and feel some pulsing of the brake pedal while the vehicle comes to a stop without sliding. If the warning lamp stays on, or if you suspect that the ABS isn't working properly, take your vehicle to a professionalwho specializes in brake systems.

From Auto Repair for Dummies, copyright © 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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