How to Tell if a Car Has Anti-Lock Brakes

by Jody L. Campbell

Anti-lock brakes have become an integral part of the braking system in vehicle standards. It means driving and braking in a completely different fashion then most people were taught. Getting used to the brakes is a little tricky. With a little bit of education and a lot of practice, you can begin to learn the benefits of ABS or Anti-Lock Braking Systems on your car. The easy part is finding out if you car even has them.

Step 1

Turn the ignition key to your car to the on position. You can either turn it two clicks to engage all of the equipment and alert lights or you can start it up. Take note of the lights on the dash. If your vehicle is equipped with an ABS or anti-lock braking system, an alert light is going to illuminate every time you turn your key to the power or on position. This alert light will be yellow in color and will display the words "anti-lock" or "ABS" on the display of the alert light. ABS or anti-lock brakes are computerized sensors attached to the fundamental braking system of your car. These sensors comprehend the braking and driving conditions of the vehicle and communicate to the vehicle. If something goes wrong with the ABS system, the alert light will illuminate and stay illuminated after the car remains running to alert you that you may have a problem in the ABS system that should be looked at.

Step 2

Read the owner's manual of the vehicle. That would tell you if the vehicle is set up for rear wheel ABS (anti-lock brakes are only present in the rear braking system), front ABS (anti-lock brakes are only present in the front braking system), or four wheel ABS (anti-lock brakes are present in the front and the rear wheels).

Step 3

Physically lie down near the front or rear tires and look for a thin cable (about half as thick as a television cable) that runs along the strut or shock and inserts into the back of the wheel. Do not confuse this with a hydraulic brake hose (which is a little thicker than a television cable). An ABS cable will not conjoin a steel tube or line as a hydraulic brake hose will eventually.

Step 4

Disassemble a tire or look behind a wheel to see if you see a cogged ABS ring with a computerized sensor touching it. This sensor would be attached to the aforementioned cable and the location of this ABS ring would be on the back of where the wheel meets the hub. If there's a cable running there, you probably don't have to crawl under to see if there's an ABS ring that it runs to. It'll be there.

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