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Q: ABS not working

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When I was driving in the rain I ran into a traffic jam going 70mph. I hit my brakes and felt my front wheels locking up. I heard my tires screeching up front and the car was sliding! But luckily I didn't hit anyone. The Anti-lock braking system wasn’t activated on the dash and there were no pulses in the brake pedal. They definitely were not working. I took it to the dealership and they said everything was fine. But I've driven cars for years with anti-lock braking systems, and know what they are like. What do you think about this?

A: Hey there, thanks for writing in about your...

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 2010 Lexus HS250h. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is designed to prevent wheel lockup during emergency braking. The ABS control module monitors the vehicle wheel speed sensors to determine when lockup may occur. If the module detects a lockup event, it will operate solenoid valves to hold, release, and reapply pressure to the brakes. This is the pulsation that is felt in the brake pedal during ABS operation.

If the ABS did not engage during your incident, it's because the control module did not sense a lockup event. This may or may not have been the correct conclusion for the module to come to. Also, the ABS light should only come on when there is a problem in the ABS system, not during emergency braking. If you feel there is something wrong with the ABS system, I suggest having a professional, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect the brake system in order to have the correct repairs made.

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