How Do I Know If My Car Has an ABS System?

by K.K. Lowell
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Designed to help prevent skidding and loss of control on slippery surfaces, anti-lock brake systems (ABS) can be found on many of today's cars and trucks. These systems work independently of driver control to control the force to those wheels which the control module senses are locking up when the brake is applied. This information is sent to the control module via speed sensors located at each wheel.

How to know if your car has ABS brakes

While ABS brakes are very common now, not all cars and trucks are equipped with them. You can determine if your car has an ABS system in four ways. The easiest method is to read your owner's manual. The next method is to look at your dash's instrument panel when turning the ignition key to the "ON" position, but not all the way to the start position. All of the warning and informational lights will be illuminated and any car equipped with an ABS system should display an "ABS" or "Anti Lock" light at this point. If you do not see a light for the ABS system, two methods remain to determine if your vehicle has ABS brakes. The first visual check is to look for an ABS pump under the vehicle hood. This pump is located near the brake master cylinder and will be connected to the master cylinder by one or two metal brake lines. Additionally, the pump itself will have several other brake lines attached. The final method for determining the presence of ABS brakes is to get in a position from which you can see the back of one of the front wheels. Turning the steering wheel all the way to one direction or the other will make it easier to see behind the wheel. If the car has ABS brakes, there will be a flexible rubber brake hose attached to the brake caliper and a wire attached to the speed sensor in the hub area. Cars without ABS brakes will only have the flexible brake line.

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