What does abs mean on a car?

Estimated read time 4 min read

So you are new to cars and the powerful machines called automobiles! On your first day of driving school, you were taught about absolutely everything related to cars. You learn what all the dials on the dashboard mean, some common car parts like windshield wipers, car seats etc. But one question remains unanswered in your mind when taking a test, “What does ABS mean on a car?” Well, it’s not your fault. Nobody tells you the meaning of ABS. So you are still wondering what does ABS on a car stand for?

What does abs mean on a car?

What does abs mean on a car

ABS stands for “Anti-lock Braking System.” Modern day cars have this feature. ABS senses when a tire is about to lock up due to excessive braking and automatically releases the brake pressure from that particular wheel momentarily. This allows the driver to steer the car during an emergency situation, while still applying full force on the brakes. In simple words, ABS prevents your car from losing its grip during emergency braking.

So let’s put it this way:

ABS on a car is a safety feature that automatically applies and releases the brake on a wheel to prevent skidding.

Advantages of ABS:

Prevents skidding and helps the car maintain its grip on the road. Assists steering during emergency braking. Minimizes stopping distance.

Disadvantages of ABS:

Brakes can lock up after long continuous braking. Higher chances of crashing in water, if the wheels are not set correctly while driving in water. May need fine-tuning when it is installed at a service center.

How does it function?

ABS works with the help of sensors that measure wheel speed (as you know, speed = distance/time). The computer senses when a tire is about to lock up and releases pressure for a short duration of time to prevent lock-up.

Generally, ABS is used on the front wheels only. But some cars have it on all four wheels too!

Types of ABS for cars:

There are mainly three types of ABS:

1. Electromagnetic systems 2. Hydraulic systems 3. Combined hydraulic and electronic system (electronic brakeforce distribution)

Electromagnetic system ABS:

This system holds a magneto rheological brake fluid. When the pressure is applied, the electromagnetic field in this fluid causes particles to align and it thickens due to which you can not pass through it smoothly. In simple words, this type of ABS senses when a wheel is about to lock up and increases brake pressure rapidly at that particular wheel. This helps the car maintain its grip on the road and increase braking force during an emergency situation.

Hydraulic system ABS:

This system is a little bit complicated. The brake fluid in this system has a servo valve attached. When you apply brakes, oil pushes the caliper piston backward so that brake pads clamp onto the disc from both sides. In simple words, the brake fluid is pressurized using a servo valve to control the front and rear wheel lock-up.

Combined system ABS:

This type of ABS is fitted on top of a hydraulic braking system that uses a pump. The high-pressure output from this pump can also be used to power the electronic stability program (ESP). The wheel speed sensors are attached to the electronic control unit, which monitors wheel rotation speeds. This system detects when a wheel is about to lock up and releases the pressure rapidly at that particular wheel for avoiding wheel lock-up.

You know what does ABS mean to a car, if your next question is how it works, well, we can easily answer that too. It simply prevents wheel lock-up using brake pressure and helps the car maintain its grip on road. For emergency situations, it increases braking force at a particular wheel by releasing brake pressure from that wheel.

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