Proper Steps for ABS Brake Repair

January 27, 2012

ABS brake repair should be left to a professional brake installer. Engaging in brake repair on your own with no prior experience working with brakes can lead to deadly results. If it is a repair that you insist can be done on your own, enlist the assistance of a friend who has verifiable experience working with car brakes. This is not an area for a casual do-it-yourselfer to simply try their hand at.

Repairing or replacing worn and used ABS brakes requires a series of steps that must be done properly. Failure to follow these steps can result in the failure of your ABS system and lead to an unsafe driving situation.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Support stands
  • Floor jack
  • Mask
  • Brake shoes
  • Brake lining
  • Replacement hoses
  • Brake fluid
  • Tire wrench

If you are planning to perform a complete brake job, you will need a set of front and rear brakes pads and linings and 4 support jacks. You need to complete the work one wheel at a time. Do not rush the job; spend the required time to make sure that it is set up completely before moving to another tire.

Step 1: Depressurize the Brake System

Before you remove anything or hoist the car, get in the car and pump the brakes 24 to 40 times while the key is in the off position. This will relieve the ABS system of any build up pressure and make the repair easier to accomplish.

Step 2: Hoist the Vehicle

Use the floor jack to hoist the car and place the support stands on the metal frames on both sides.  Do not use a block of wood or some other item to support the weight of the vehicle. Never crawl under a vehicle that has not been properly supported. Failure to do so may result in the vehicle crashing down on your body while you are underneath it.

Step 3: Remove the Caliper

Remove the tire and to reveal the rotor and caliper. Remove the caliper. Take care not to get any dirt on the rotor, as it will affect the performance of your brakes.

Step 4: Replace the Pads and Check the Brake System

Remove the old pads and replace them with the new pads. Check the master cylinder, brake lines and vacuum hoses. Have an assistant pump the brakes while you look to make sure that the hoses do not expand when pressure is applied. If this happens, replace the damaged hose.

Step 5: Bleed the Brakes

Replace the brake fluid and pump the brakes to remove any air that may have entered the lines during your repair. When there are no bubbles forming in the brake fluid, the brakes have been bled.

Step 6: Test the Brakes

Reattach the caliper and put the tires back on the car. Lower the vehicle off of the supports and pump the brakes several times to rebuild pressure in the ABS system. Move the key to the on position to see if the ABS warning lights come on. This indicates that the system is active. Turn the car on and gently back up, applying the brakes lightly. If the brakes feel soft or spongy, the pads or lining may need to be re-inspected.

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