ABS VS Non ABS: Which is better?

In an emergency, the brakes of a car can be the difference between you surviving or getting injured or even perishing. Brakes are meant to slow down and stop a car. Hence, a car should always have functional and reliable brakes.

Over the years, the need of reliable brakes has lead to the creation of anti-lock braking system, on top of the normal brakes that has been present for years. Everything you need to know about ABS and Non-ABS braking systems has been outlined in this articles for you.

History of ABS (anti-lock braking system)

The antilock braking system was first introduced in the 1970s. Even though a good number of its basic concepts still remain, the ABS has continually been developed into a more efficient system. The ABS system became popular in the 1980s and was more common in the luxury car models. But from 2012, all passenger cars are fitted with ABS. Although, some old car models still use the normal braking system.

Pros of ABS:

  • Ability to steer a vehicle under intense braking – ABS enables the driver to maintain grip on wheels, hence they can still steer a vehicle around obstacles even when in emergency scenarios.
  • Capability to stop on a wet or icy surface – antilock brake system prevents your tires from locking up, thus braking on wet surfaces is very possible.
  • Ability to avoid skids and crashes – the chances crashing your car are greatly reduced as ABS assists the car to maintain traction.
  • Lesser stopping distance – ABS enables the wheels of the car to stop wasting distance skidding, hence, the antilock brakes are capable to minimize braking distance.

Cons of ABS:

  • Increases complications to the vehicle’s electronic system – the addition of the ABS into a vehicle’s electronic system may heighten the chances of system damage.
  • Increased expenses – the cost of maintenance increases as sensors on wheels need regular inspection. Sensors may require to be recalibrated from time to time.
  • Inconsistent stopping distances – the capability of ABS to offer sure footed braking may as well experience inconsistencies when it comes to stopping distances on different road surfaces under different driving circumstances.

Braking with Non-ABS brake system

The normal or traditional brakes function in a very simple way. All you have to do is to push the brake pedal, then the brake pads apply pressure, and the car slows down slowly. But on a slippery or wet surface, it’s simple to clamp the brakes hard enough that the wheels stop turning and start to slide on the surface of the road. This is can turn out to be dangerous as it causes the car to skid unpredictably out of control. Thus, drivers learned the skills for preventing that kind of uncontrolled slide.

The skill is to firmly pressure the brakes until the tires are just about to break loose, then let off slightly to enable the tires to resume rolling. This procedure is repeated in rapid succession, pumping the brakes to acquire maximum braking grip without skidding. It takes some practice to master this skill, but it generally functions very well the moment drivers have practiced and mastered the skill.

Braking with ABS system

The Non-ABS system functions very well but it is not very reliable. The ABS is almost similar in function but faster and reliable. The ABS pulses the whole brake system several times per second, utilizing a computer to determine whether any of the wheels are about to slide and unleashing brake pressure at exactly the ideal time, thus making the braking process to be much efficient.

For the driver to brake well using the antilock braking system, the driver passes down hard on the brake pedal and holds it there. This might seem strange to a driver who is not familiar with it, as the brake pedal will pulsate against your foot, and the brakes themselves create a grinding sound. There is nothing to worry if you hear such a sound as its normal. But unlike the normal brakes, the driver shouldn’t attempt to pump the brakes as this will mess with the antilock brake system performing its work.

Whether your car is equipped with ABS or normal braking, it is important as a driver to learn the basics of braking. After looking at both the ABS and Non-ABS braking systems, it is clear that the cars with antilock braking systems are much safer and reliable as they can function in all weather conditions unlike normal braking system. But with proper skills and techniques, all the braking systems can be relied on.

Summary of Contents

Kevin Nicholas is an automotive technician who is a genius at software and hardware-related issues. He manually tested more than a hundred OBD scanners and gave his honest opinion on whether the device was worth the money or not. His in-depth OBD review articles help people choose the right product, whether it is a European, American, or Asian vehicle. He completed his Automotive Specialized Training Course at Universal Technical Institute and has more than 15 years of experience in the field.

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