Chances are that you have an anti-lock brake system, or ABS, if you have a newer car, even if you have old-style drum brakes on your rear wheels. Anti-lock brake systems help you retain control over your car in slippy conditions by reducing skidding. They eliminate the need to "pump" your brakes as you would with traditional brakes. However, like any car component, they can break down and stop working. This can make braking very dangerous
Fortunately, most anti-lock brake systems show signs of trouble before they completely fail. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of impending anti-lock brake failure so that you can get your car into a brake repair shop before you have a serious problems.
The ABS Light Stays On
Warning lights are something you should never ignore, and the "ABS" light is one of them. In many cases, your brakes could still work fine, but the light is a sign that there is a problem and brake failure may be imminent. In older models, your "check engine" light may illuminate instead and a code will be stored on the car's computer.
The Brakes Lock
Anti-lock brakes are supposed to do what their name says—keep the brakes from locking when you press on the pedal hard. If they lock, then that's a clear indication that a component is not working. This problem may be intermittent at first. You may also hear strange noises or notice pulsations even when you are not braking.
The Brake Pedal Feels Hard
The brakes may feel either hard or non-responsive when there is something wrong. If you are fortunate, this problem will come on slowly and gradually, and you will notice the brakes getting harder and harder to push rather than failing completely right away.
The Speedometer Is Acting Strange
It would seem to the average person that these two systems are not connected. However your speedometer may either give a wrong reading or stay stuck at zero when you have anti-lock brake problems. At the same time, your ABS warning light or check engine light will be on if you are dealing with a brake problem and not a speedometer problem.
Take your car to a brake repair shop like Heritage Auto Pro any time your brakes don't work as well as you think they should. The possible causes for anti-lock brake issues can range from minor, such as dirty or broken sensors, to serious, such as the entire module being bad. In any case, if you have brake problems, then you need to have your vehicle checked out so that you can continue to drive safely.