No matter where or how often you drive your Volkswagen, there’s a chance that you may someday need it to brake on a dime. When that day comes, you’ll want your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system to be ready for the challenge. The anti-lock braking system, also known as the ABS system, is a group of components designed to keep your vehicle from skidding or hydroplaning when you hit the brakes.
This system is quite sophisticated, but it also requires maintenance to ensure it is there for you when you need it. As such, all Volkswagen owners should know the ABS system’s purpose, the symptoms of ABS system failure, and the steps to take to solve ABS system issues.
How the ABS System Works
The ABS system is made up of five main components: the ABS module and 4 sensors (one for each wheel). The sensors monitor your vehicle’s wheel speed, and if they sense that one or more of the wheels has started to skid, they relay that information back to the ABS module. The module then rapidly pumps your Volkswagen’s brakes, which helps bring the wheels back under control. This process is especially important in instances of heavy braking, as it allows the vehicle to decelerate quickly without the wheels seizing up.
Common Causes of ABS System Issues
Unfortunately, because the ABS system consists of several sensitive electronic parts, it can fall prey to a number of problems. For example, one common cause of ABS system failure is contamination of the ABS sensors. Because these sensors sit very close to your Volkswagen’s wheels, they can easily become coated in dirt and debris. This may prevent the sensors from properly reading your Volkswagen’s wheel speed, which can cause the ABS system to shut down entirely.
Another common cause of ABS system failure is low battery voltage. Like all of the other electrical components in your Volkswagen, the ABS system requires electricity from the vehicle’s battery in order to work properly. Therefore, if the battery experiences a short or a loss of voltage, the ABS system may cease to work properly. As such, it is vital that you regularly examine your vehicle’s battery and have it replaced as necessary.
Finally, a third potential cause of ABS system failure is a flaw in the wiring harness. Even if your Volkswagen’s battery is operating at full capacity, corrosion in your vehicle’s wiring may divert electricity away from the ABS system. Similarly, shorts in the electrical system may fry the ABS module or sensors. Accordingly, you should be sure to follow your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule as closely as possible, as doing so will help you identify any wiring issues before they grow severe.
Signs of ABS System Failure
By preventing your vehicle from skidding out of control, the ABS system helps keep you, your vehicle, and your passengers safe. As such, you should strive to identify and fix any issues with the ABS system as soon as they pop up. Luckily, because the ABS system is so central to your vehicle’s proper functioning, its failure tends to present several clear symptoms.
Often, the first of these symptoms will be the illumination of the ABS light on the dashboard. This light holds a similar purpose to that of the check engine light, as both lights indicate problems within their respective systems. Additionally, these lights are similar in that neither of them should be ignored. If you notice that your Volkswagen’s ABS light has turned on, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible.
In addition to illumination of the ABS light, another common sign of ABS system failure is irregular brake behavior. When the ABS system fails, it will likely cause your vehicle’s wheels to lock up when you press down hard on the brake. However, depending on the type of issues the system is facing, it may also cause the brakes to seize up randomly, which can lead to very dangerous consequences. Again, if you encounter this symptom, you should have your vehicle examined by a professional as soon as you can.
Daniel’s European: Fixing System Problems
If your Volkswagen’s ABS system has started to fail, you’ll need an expert to help you fix it, and that’s where we come in. Since 2013, our team here at Daniel’s European has provided exemplary care to customers in Brea, Fullerton, La Habra Heights, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, and La Habra, CA. We would love to help you keep your European vehicle running smoothly, so give us a call today to find out what we can do for you.