Do All Cars Have ABS Braking Systems? (Basic Facts)

An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety anti-skid system used on vehicles that allows a driver to have steady control of the wheels during hard braking in emergencies.

This system restores the grip to tires while maneuvering the wheels.

Do all cars have an ABS system? Let’s find out.

Here’s the short answer to whether all cars have an ABS System:

All cars sold in the United States from September 1, 2012 are required to have an ABS system. However, older vehicles may lack the feature. All vehicles produced now come with the technology as standard equipment.

Is the ABS Braking System Standard on All New Cars?

All modern cars have this safety system as it became a legal demand for manufacturers to include it in all cars.

Note that some sport cars may not have an ABS system and even power steering to give drivers total control over the vehicle’s handling and behavior.

When Did ABS Become Legally Required In New Cars?

As early as 2004, this ABS system was legally required for cars in Europe. In the United States, ABS became a legal requirement in cars on September 1, 2012.

It had to be this way because of how crucial it was while driving and, ultimately, in emergency situations.

Is It Safe To Drive Without ABS?

This relatively depends on the skill of each driver.

In the absence of emergencies, you will not need the ABS, but on the contrary, if there’s any case of mishaps, the majority may not know how to maneuver the wheels and reduce the speed of a non-ABS car.

Hence, it is required and advisable to drive an ABS vehicle as there will be no need to be taught to ‘pump the brakes’ when the wheels are locked, which is quite a difficult skill to use in a challenging situation.

What Is the Main Purpose of the ABS Brakes?

These systems are basically installed in cars to stop the wheels from locking during hard braking.

In this case, it is much easier to steer the car to safety when the driver can still control the wheels.

Will Your Brakes Still Work Without ABS?

Car brakes are still very much functional without it. This safety system is not always needed except during emergencies.

It is just more logical to drive with an ABS system because you can never tell when exactly you’ll be needing it.

Is Driving Without An ABS Braking System Illegal?

Using a car without a braking system is not a serious crime. However, if you are without it, you might be stopped by the vehicle inspection officers and definitely you would have to repair it.

Is It Legal to Disable Your Brakes?

Disabling any safety system is a very surprising thing to do, as it is not logical to disable a system designed for your own safety.

However, in this case, the legality of doing such can be argued to be criminally irresponsible if you purposely disabled your ABS and the car had an accident.

Hence, if there’s no reason for disabling your ABS (i.e. to diagnose a problem), it is sensible to leave your ABS.

Can ABS Be Switched Off In a Car?

Nowadays, car manufacturers make it almost impossible to disable the whole ABS system, but there are a few hacks to go about it.

First, you can disable it by pulling out the fuses that are connected to your grip control. It is more advisable to read out your manual and fuse diagram to guide you on which fuse to pull out.

Another way around it is to unplug your sensors. If you dislocate your wheel speed sensors, the safety system is likely to go off.

You could also try removing your ABS module, though that could have an adverse effect on your car’s performance.

What Are the Last Cars That Were Produced Without ABS?

This safety control was not a standard equipment required in vehicles.

When it debuted, it was relatively expensive and under test trials. As a result, a lot of car manufacturers excluded it from their production.

However, according to research, the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt was the last car manufactured without an anti-lock braking system.

How Do I Know An Older Car Has ABS installed?

The only way to find this out in an old car is to test drive the vehicle.

The easier way is to find a plain and quiet road, then perform a sudden and hard stop. If your vehicle stops without locking its wheel, the ABS is present. 

On the contrary, if there’s no safety control, your car might likely skid without you being able to control the wheels, leaving you in a precarious situation.

Another way is simply to ignite your engine and check for the ABS light, but this is rare to see in older cars.

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade to An ABS Braking System on a Car?

Ordinarily fixing the ABS isn’t on the high side, as it ranges between $300 to $1000.

However, upgrading to an ABS is entirely a different thing. Many car experts do not recommend that you add it if it wasn’t manufactured with your car because it is very expensive and ultimately, the success of it is not guaranteed.

What Should You Never Do When You Have An ABS?

In a situation that warrants hard braking, you should never take your legs off the brake, but rather press it down while you continue to maneuver the wheels till you get to safety or come to a halt.

Related: 9 Popular Cars Without Hatchback (Sorted By Brand)

What Can Cause Your ABS to Stop Working?

More often than not, the ABS could stop working if the sensors become clouded with dirt or when one or more of the wiring gets spoiled. Here are common reasons your ABS won’t work:

  • The ABS won’t work if it’s turned off. Before concluding the system is faulty, check that it’s not turned off if your vehicle has that feature.
  • Your ABS won’t work if the ABS module is malfunctioning, and you may need to repair or replace it to restore functionality.
  • The ABS may not work if the level of the fluid in the brake fluid reservoir is low. In that case, you have to top up the fluid to the recommended level.
  • The ABS system might malfunction if the wheel speed sensors are damaged or dirty.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace ABS Sensors?

The prices vary depending on each car model and the cost of labor. The average price ranges from about $200 to $400 per sensor, according to Mechanic Base.

Do ABS Brakes Make Noise?

In hard braking, you will most definitely hear a sound like grinding. In some other vehicles, you may feel a slight vibration when pressing the pedal. 

Irrespective, in any situation, do not take your legs off the brakes, as this will only put you in a more uncontrollable situation.

Related: Do All Cars Have Power Steering Today? (Basic Info)

What Causes the ABS Light to Come On?

This usually happens for certain reasons. They will be explained below.

Malfunctioning ABS module 

Your ABS system is directly connected to your traction control system, which helps to keep your tires grounded.

If it detects that one or more wheels start to move irregularly, it will remove the power from your engine until such traction is fixed.

Since your module and traction control have a common system, interference with any of them can cause your ABS light to come on, but in most cases, it will come on if the issue is directly connected to your ABS.

This, however, can be fixed manually, hence you will need the help of a vehicle professional to sort it out.

Low Level in the Fluid Reservoir

For a brake system to function, it needs a consistent amount of fluid because all brakes are hydraulic, which means it uses the pressure of a cylinder to apply the fluid to your brakes, which makes the car stop.

If there’s no or low fluid, the vehicle will usually detect this and make your ABS light come on, so you can get it fixed.

Broken Wheel Speed Sensors

This wheel sensor tells you how each wheel functions (i.e. if they are properly grounded)

If the wheel speed sensor stops working, it will totally disable the whole ABS system until fixed.

The ABS System Is Turned Off

Accidentally, you might have turned off the ABS system. It will show an indicator light on your dashboard to alert you. 

This can be done manually. It is safer to read through your manual guide first.

Related: Do Radial Tires Really Make A Difference? (Solved)

How Do You Know Your ABS Is Getting Bad?

There are some major signs that tell you this, including:

Tire Locking

When the fuse controlling the ABS is blown, it won’t supply the necessary electricity needed.

This, in no small measure, directly affects the anti-lock system, as it will start receiving the wrong signals and the tires could jam suddenly in motion.

No Braking

Once you find out that you’re unable to perform a hard brake, it is a sign that your anti-lock system is failing or has failed, especially if the fuse has blown out because they are responsible for the circulation of electricity.

Longer Braking Distance

Increased distance on hard braking is another major sign. An ABS system is programmed for deceleration and increased friction. 

Once this is absent, you need to visit the mechanic, as your anti-lock system has probably gone bad.

Warning Light 

The most common signal is the warning light the vehicle gives. Whenever the fuse is blown, the light will illuminate the dashboard. 

If the ABS light on your dashboard is on, get your car to an experienced mechanic or your dealer for a proper diagnosis and resolution.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike
Great!

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)