Anti-lock brakes

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

Anti-lock brakes are a safety feature available on many new cars. They are designed to help you keep control of your car even when you brake hard. With conventional brakes, your wheels can lock up when you slam on the brake pedal. This locking prevents you from controlling the movement of your wheels and affects steering during a swerve or skid. Anti-lock brakes, however, automatically release and reapply your brakes, so you can maintain control of your car. The anti-lock brake system, also called ABS (A-B-S), is much like the pumping technique used with conventional brakes, but ABS relies on a computer to do it much faster and more accurately than any driver can. This leaves you free to focus on steering clear of the obstacle. If you haven't driven with anti-lock brakes, you may need time to get used to them. Instead of pumping, brake firmly and keep your foot steady on the brake pedal. ABS does the rest while you steer out of danger. You can expect a certain amount of noise and vibration when ABS is in use. This means the brakes are working properly. ABS systems work in conjunction with a vehicle's regular brakes, so if ABS fails for any reason, the normal braking system will take over. For more information about anti-lock brakes, consult your owner's manual or a car dealer.

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