Your Brakes Are Supposed To Shake

I just bought a used 2003 Ford Taurus from a local dealer. The first time I hit the brakes on wet pavement it scared the devil out of me! The pedal bounced back and there was a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle that sounded like a motorboat. What is wrong with my vehicle? It doesn do it on dry pavement. Should I take it back to the dealer?

Sharon from Dallas,pandora necklaces TXThere is nothing wrong with your Ford Taurus. As a matter of fact, that exactly how the system is supposed to operate. This car is equipped with ABS brakes. You can take it back to the dealer just to give you peace of mind, but I think you will find that nothing is wrong.

This is a common concern so let take a closer look at how ABS brakes work to enlighten you and put your fears to rest.

A Brief Explanation of How ABS OperatesABS uses wheel speed sensors, a hydraulic control unit, and a computerized electronic control module, which is the “brain” of the system. When the brake pedal is applied, the electronic control module monitors the speed of the wheels through the wheel speed sensors. If the control module detects that one or more wheels are about to lock up, the module signals the hydraulic unit to control hydraulic pressure to that wheel(s). This varying of pressure is much like “pumping” the brake, only with the ABS system the wheel that is locking up (which creates a potential loss of control) is the only one being controlled, the rest of the wheels are free to roll. This maximizes vehicle steer ability.

Why Does This Happen On Wet Pavement Only?Wet pavement can cause one or more of the wheels to slip and lock up. The ABS system senses this action and is activated to stop it. There is no need for the system to operate on dry pavement unless the wheels are slipping when stopping, which can happen when we drive on a gravel covered road.

If you have never driven a vehicle with ABS brakes you may notice some marked differences from vehicles with conventional braking systems. These are:

Remember two important things when driving a car with ABS brakes:

Maintain the same safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead as with conventional brakes. ABS will not make the vehicle “stop on a dime.”

Do not pump the brake. Just apply firm, constant pressure and let ABS do the work for you. You may feel a slight vibration or hear noise as the hydraulic control unit functions. Be ready to push the pedal further if it travels closer to the floor.