Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) 

Your Jeep's anti-lock braking system keeps your wheels from locking up when on wet or slippery roads, or during a short-stop. You may lose traction and control, causing your Jeep to spin, so the ABS brakes help your Jeep maintain directional control around hazards even if you can't make a complete stop in time. In this article you'll learn about anti-lock braking systems; how they work, what's in them and why you need them.

How Anti-lock Brakes Work 

ABS works with your regular braking system by automatically pumping them. In Jeeps equipped with ABS, your foot remains firmly planted on the brake pedal, while ABS pumps the brakes for you so you can concentrate on steering to safety. More specifically, ABS automatically changes the brake fluid pressure at each wheel to maintain optimum brake performance just short of locking up the wheels. There is an electronic control unit that regulates the brake fluid pressure in response to changing road conditions or impending wheel lockup.

Types of Anti-lock Braking Systems

Four-wheel systems are designed to keep all four wheels from locking up. Rear-wheel-only systems keep the vehicle from spinning out of control, but the front wheels may lock up, resulting in a loss of steering control. When ABS is activated, you may experience a slight vibration or rapid pulsation of the brake pedal almost as if the brakes are pushing back at you. At times, you will feel the pedal suddenly drop. The valves in the ABS unit may make a grinding, scraping or buzzing noise. This means your ABS is working. Continue to apply firm pressure and steer. Do not take your foot off the brake pedal.

Anti-Lock Braking System Components

There are four main components to an ABS system:

  • Speed Sensors
  • Valves
  • Pump
  • Controller

Speed sensors, located at each wheel, tell the ABS system when a wheel is about to lock up. There is a valve in the brake line of each brake that controls the release of pressure from the brakes. There has to be some way to put that pressure back. That is what the pump does; when a valve reduces the pressure in a line, the pump is there to get the pressure back up. The controller is a computer in the car. It watches the speed sensors and controls the valves.

Test Your ABS System

How effectively you can stop your Jeep can be influenced by road conditions, the condition of other Jeep parts on your vehicle, and driver reaction time. By giving your ABS system a mini road test you can diminish the impact of these factors. In an unobstructed parking lot, drive your vehicle at a speed above which the ABS system activates (usually above 10 mph) and apply the brakes firmly. The antilock brake system is speed sensitive and will not activate at very slow speeds. Also, it's easier to activate ABS on a wet and slippery surface. The antilock system should prevent the wheels from skidding. Practice NOT pumping the brake.

Anti-lock brakes really do help you stop better. When used properly, a Jeep parts antilock brake system (ABS) adds an important measure of safety to your driving, under all conditions. Read your Jeep owner's manual for more details on the complete operation and benefits of ABS, as well as details on all the Jeep parts and Jeep accessories your vehicle is equipped with.