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ABS Brakes Troubleshooting

Fatima Rangwala
Timely repair of the anti-locks braking system (ABS) will save a lot of money and effort. Although ABS works with the help of a computer, its troubleshooting depends on specific equipment.
The basic function of an anti-lock braking system is to supervise the speed of the wheels, and release brake pressure to any wheel, if it feels that it is about to lock-up. The common components that constitute this intricate system are wheel speed sensors, solenoid valves, and a functional on board computer system.
Hence, to actually go forth and conduct a whole ABS repair test is really not a layman's job. If you are not a mechanic, it is best to give your car to a professional for repairs.

When to Repair the System

When your vehicle starts showing the following signs, you need to repair the ABS, so that the problems do not escalate.
  • Grinding of the brakes.
  • Heavy brake pedal.
  • Squeaky brakes.
  • Stopping of the car.
  • Crunching of the brakes.
  • Loose brake pedal.

Troubleshooting the System

You will need to retrieve the trouble codes of your vehicle's ABS system, using a scan tool. Every wheel sensor has a specific code. You will need to contact the code information section and then proceed with the diagnoses of your ABS brakes.

Test the Wheel Speed Sensors

ABS chiefly operates on wheel sensor systems, whose job is to indicate the unit that the wheel is slowing down and may possibly skid on wet and slippery roads. So, checking the sensor for normal continuity and equal resistance values is the first priority. If you don't see any, the whole sensor is faulty.

Reboot the ABS system

There are chances that the dashboard warning lights remain on for a long time. So if this happens, turn the car off, wait for a while, and turn on the ignition again. This shows that the system has been rebooted. If the lights still remain on there's definitely some problem with the unit, and if the lights go off, you had a bad-reading.
Another possibility can be dirt and grime stuck inside the computer system for long, resulting in overall malfunctioning. Make sure you clean all the dirt using a cleaner.

Check the ABS Rotors and Brake Pads

If your vehicle's brake pads haven't been replaced for more than a year, the brake pads would be worn out resulting in friction between the rotors and the metal disc brake, creating a sharp sound every time you brake. This action terribly spoils the rotors causing a great amount of damage.

Electrical Problems

There can be issues with low battery charge, or improper electrical grounding, wire corrosion, etc. Any of these problems indeed causes an error in the ABS.

Check the Solenoid Valve Assembly

A two-way control system of the solenoid valves helps in testing the valve assembly accurately. That equipment is a bit overboard on terms of price, but if you can get one, run a test by choosing Special Function Tests and then Rehome. This will activate all the solenoid valves and will run a self-test with the support of the on-board computer.
If anytime further you face any sort of ABS system malfunctions, it'll be wise that you make a stop over at a service station for further assistance.