Brake Maintenance

How to Maintain Your Anti Lock Brake System


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An anti lock brake system is designed to help you to maintain the best control possible when braking in rough conditions or at high speeds. Generally, when you're driving on water, snow or other unusual substances, or if you're trying to brake at high speeds, you'll run into problems with the handling of the car. An anti lock brake system uses a speed sensor, a hydraulic braking system and a computer to cut down on the total distance it requires for you to reach a stopping point. In order for this system to work as smoothly and carefully as it should, however, you'll need to take the time to maintain your anti lock brake system. Read on for a guide on how to do that.

Step 1 -- Avoid Use

The single best thing that you can do to help maintain the anti lock brake system integrity in your vehicle is to avoid using it if at all possible. The anti lock braking system is designed to be used primarily as a last resort for those who need it in emergency situations. If you make use of it at other times, you're putting the system to the test when it doesn't necessarily need to be. Therefore, ensure the anti lock brake light is always off on your vehicle. If it comes on at unusual times, the system may be engaging when you don't need or want it to, and you should take your vehicle to the mechanic in order to have it checked out.

Step 2 -- Keep the Brakes Clean

Manually clean the brakes on your car and ensure they have adequate brake fluid at all times. This will help to maintain the overall integrity of the brakes, which is crucial to the continued success of the anti lock braking system. Cleaning and maintaining the brakes themselves is not a difficult task, although you'll have to prop up the vehicle on a jack and remove the wheel in order to do so. Replace the brake fluid as often as recommended by your vehicle's owner's manual.

Step 3 -- Recalibrate the Speed Sensors

The speed sensors that help the anti lock braking system to judge how quickly the car is moving can become misaligned over time, particularly as the system itself is used. Each anti lock brake system will have a slightly different method for recalibrating the system, but it involves accessing the computer and then driving the vehicle at different speeds in order to gauge the speeds for the sensors anew. This is a good task to complete every year or so, or as often as the anti lock brakes seem to be responding somewhat poorly.

If you have any other concerns about maintaining your anti lock braking system, or if you're unsure of what the problem with the system may be that causes it to not function as well, take your vehicle in to a mechanic.

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