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Avoid Problems Becoming Routine During ABS Brake Service



Antilock braking systems have had more of an impact on brake servicing than may seem obvious. And although most jobs are routine and your customer leaves satisfied, on occasion somebody will come back in to your shop with a complaint. The most successful installers have mastered the art of quick - but complete - installations. Most comebacks aren't the result of something intentionally done wrong, but may be caused by something overlooked.

According to the The Bendix® team, they get the following call at least once a day: "I just did a routine front brake realignment and now the vehicle's:

  • ABS light is on.
  • Brake pedal is low.
  • Brakes are dragging.
  • ABS system self applies at low speeds.
  • Pulling to the left/right."

Most, if not all of these problems can be avoided by adopting some simple and very effective practices when performing brake service on an ABS equipped vehicle.

The number one cause of four of the problems listed above is very simple; and to prevent it from happening, technicians need to modify the way they are currently doing a brake job. It is extremely important to open the bleeder screw when compressing caliper pistons or wheel cylinders during routine brake maintenance.

When a caliper piston is pushed in, brake fluid gets forced backward, up into the system. Since the caliper is the lowest point in the system, dirt and corrosion naturally accumulate there. When this grime and dirt finds its way into the HCU portion of the ABS system, it can cause valves to stick, which leads to a vehicle pulling one way or another; accumulators to stick open, which leads to low pedal; compensator ports to plug which leads to dragging brakes; and of course, it can make the ABS light come on leading to all of the above.

If installers get in the habit of opening the bleeder when they compress the caliper piston, as well as selling customers a brake fluid flush, these problems will more than likely not occur.

The fifth problem installers seemed concerned with is when the ABS applies itself at low speed. Wheel speed sensors are magnetic. They can collect large amounts of debris from the road. Freshly turned rotors can also leave metal filings on the sensors, especially if an on-car brake lathe is used. Some OEM's actually recommend removing the sensors during rotor machining. The Bendix® team recommends that installers get in the habit of cleaning the wheel speed sensors and tone rings during a brake job. This can help prevent false signals that can actuate the ABS system during low speed stops.

Brake technology, like everything else on a vehicle, is changing constantly. By keeping up on changes like these, you're likely to avoid unwanted comebacks.

This documentation was provided by Bendix®.

If installers get in the habit of opening the bleeder when they compress the caliper piston, as well as selling customers a brake fluid flush, these problems will more than likely not occur.

The fifth problem installers seemed concerned with is when the ABS applies itself at low speed. Wheel speed sensors are magnetic. They can collect large amounts of debris from the road. Freshly turned rotors can also leave metal filings on the sensors, especially if an on-car brake lathe is used. Some OEM's actually recommend removing the sensors during rotor machining. The Bendix® team recommends that installers get in the habit of cleaning the wheel speed sensors and tone rings during a brake job. This can help prevent false signals that can actuate the ABS system during low speed stops.

Brake technology, like everything else on a vehicle, is changing constantly. By keeping up on changes like these, you're likely to avoid unwanted comebacks.

This documentation was provided by Bendix®.

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