We’ve all heard of the ABS, but I don’t know how many know how it works and what is it’s purpose. In this article, I will try to explain as clearly as I can how the ABS concept works, what are its components and what are the ups and downs.

Understanding the ABS Concept

Ever got stuck on ice? If yes you have accelerated and realized that the cars doesn’t move at all. The part of the tire that is in contact with the ground is called skidding part. As you have already realized the skidding part/wheel has less traction as opposed to a non-skidding one. This is because the contact part of the tire is sliding relative to the ice. Now that I have set an example, time to get back to our sheep. By avoiding skidding while breaking you are able to do two things – stop faster and steer while breaking. This can be done with the help of the Anti Blocking System.

The Components and how are they fitted together

The ABS is made out of four main components

  • Speed Sensors
  • Pump
  • Valves
  • Controller


The speed sensors, located in each wheel and/or in the differential, provides information regarding the speed and when a wheel is about to block, to the ABS. Each wheel that is set to break with ABS has a valve with three positions( open, block, release). When opened, the pressure from the master cylinder is passed right through to the breaking disc. When blocked, the breaking line is isolated from the pressure form the master cylinder, preventing other pressure if the driver should push the break pedal even harder. In position three, the valves release some of the pressure from the break. This is necessary for protecting the disc. The pump gets the pressure dislocated by the valves back up. Finally, the controller is the “head” of the system. It’s a computer integrated in the ECU, that watches over the speed sensors and controls the valves and the pump. The controller monitors the speed sensors at all times. It is looking for decelerations in the wheel that are out of the ordinary. Right before a wheel locks up, it will experience a rapid deceleration. If left unchecked, the wheel would stop much more quickly than any car could. It might take a car five seconds to stop from 60 mph (96.6 km/h) under ideal conditions, but a wheel that locks up could stop spinning in less than a second.

There are different types of ABS. Four-channel, four-sensor ABS , three-channel , three-sensor ABS and one-channel, one-sensor ABS.


Stopping a speeding car on a wet road can be a challenge even to experienced drivers. On a slippery road, a professional driver will have more difficulties in stopping a car without ABS rather than an average one driving a car that has the system.  


What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: