Is it normal for ABS brakes to pulsate with even the lightest touch of the brake?

I thought they were only supposed to pulsate when you pressed hard down on them

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Correct, when you press hard on them, not when pressed lightly.

    HOWEVER, your brake pads may now need replacing, how many miles are on the car ? The pads wear down and the rotors (the brake "disc" that the pads clamp onto when braking) may be warped due to the use of the brakes and excessive heat that builds up when braking. The brake pedal will "pulse" when that happens as well, because the rotor and pad aren't meeting and braking together 100% of the time while your foot is on the pedal (a "caliper" presses on both sides of the rotor, like a clothespin, and the pads are under that).

    It is a slower "pulse" feeling but not the rapid ABS pulsing.

    Replacing brake pads, rotors (and sometimes calipers) are normal wear-and-tear items to pay for on your vehicle.

    If you get your car serviced, the pads may need replacing and the rotors may only need to be "turned," meaning that there is some good rotor left for re-installing onto your car. However, even rotors wear out and sometimes need replacement too, especially if they've already been turned.

    Ask around and find out who does good basic brake work in town--don't go to a dealer or a place like Goodyear. You'll get reamed on expense. Ask a mechanic who he would take his car to for repair, if he wasn't doing the work himself.

    Make sure that only the pads, rotors and calipers are checked/serviced/replaced BEFORE you even utter the words "ABS" or they even ATTEMPT to say that anything is wrong with the ABS sensor system. The ABS system will cost about 6 times the amount to repair as the pads, rotors, and calipers. An ABS system requires a slippage sensor at each wheel and a computer module that the sensors talk to. Very expensive to replace if they go out.

    I have also had the "pulse" feeling happen because my front-end suspension was so badly out of alignment, it caused uneven tire wear and brake wear.

    BTW i am currently driving my car with the ABS system inoperable. It's ok to do that, if you can't afford the ABS repair right now (if needed). The brakes work just fine, just the old fashioned way, where you personally would have to pump the brakes if slipping and sliding on ice,etc. It's not as "safe" as ABS, but ABS is required for stopping a car. The stopping distances may be lengthened slightly, however.

    GOOD LUCK (don't you just hate cars, expenses right before the holidays. Dang.)

  • 1 decade ago

    Two things come to mind. If the brake pedal pulsates on dry pavement every time you apply the brakes, even softly, something is wrong. It could be a problem with ABS or it could be a warped brake rotor or brake drum. I would get a professional opinion on this one, especially if you suspect the ABS. Incidentally, if the road surface is very slick, such as with ice, the ABS will come on even with a light application of braking. Remember only one wheel has to be near lockup to trigger the ABS.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    How sure are you that the pulsating is coming from the ABS, if your just feeling a vibration when you hit the brakes you could have a warped rotor.

  • 1 decade ago

    In any type of slippery condition, even those you can't see, yes.

    If it's a nice bright sunny day and the roads are dry and clear, and you get ABS plusations at a slow stop, then there might be a problem.

    The ABS kicks in where the system detects a difference in the vehicle speed and the wheel speed. It really doesn't take too much to make that happen.

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  • mick
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    This depends on the make of car it is normal for some European systems its the brake modulator valve pulsating to check system operation.This should not continue for more than a few seconds .Regards Mick UK

  • 1 decade ago

    They pulsate when the ABS sensors detect wheel slippage or when you 'press hard'.

    Have the unit checked out. I'm assuming your pads/shoes/calipers are in order and that's not the problem.

    What is the year, make and model?

  • 1 decade ago

    NO. you are correct. the pedal shouldn't pulsate until the sensors feel that pedal pressure is about to lock up the brakes.

  • 1 decade ago

    it is probably normal if it only does it slightly and especialy on slick road surfaces, but if it does it VERy noticeably and no matter what roaad surface then it can be faulty ABS system and/or warped brake rotors

    do you feel it in your steering wheel at all ?

    if so then definitely is warped rotors

    commonly happens, especially with factory rotors

    good luck

    Source(s): mechanic since 1994
  • 1 decade ago

    If they pulse you know they're working. Go down a gravel road and slam on them. If the wheels lock up there's something wrong, if they don't they're fine.

    I have a Durango that does that to the extreme, but mine has warped rotors. Might want to check that.

  • Lab
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    This will only happen if you were driving on ice. If one or more of the wheels locks up, under any condition, the ABS will kick in.

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