What is ABS?

In today’s world of the automotive industry, abbreviated terms are far too common now. These words are usually terms for electronic aids that function to make your car safer and easier to drive, TCS, HSA, BSM and ABS (I made some of those up) are now standard, if not mandated in cars today. But let’s start back with the original “three-worder”, as I call it, ABS. What is ABS?

Surprisingly, quite a number of people still don’t know what it is or what it exactly does. Malaysians have created their own meaning by calling it Abang Brake Sendiri, which to some extent, is quite accurate to what ABS is. ABS is Anti-lock Braking System, which in the most crude meaning, stops your car safely, though ABS is more than that.

The history

Back in the old days, crashing your car resulted in almost instant death, always, and one of the causes of death is not braking in time, poor brake technology and lack of ABS. If you slam the brakes of a car that doesn’t have ABS, the wheels will instantly lock up, causing you to lose control. So how did ABS came along? the history of ABS dates just over a hundred years ago when early systems were used for rail and aircraft. ABS continued to be developed for planes in the 1950’s mainly by Dunlop Maxaret, which was one of the earliest ABS available. Dunlop Maxaret eventually used their ABS system on cars, though price and reliability issues made it a very rare feature on cars.

Jensen Interceptor FF: First car with ABS
Source: classicmotorhub.com

The first modern ABS system was created by Mario Palazetti, known as Mr ABS, Bosch bought the patent and officially named it ABS. Beginning in the 1970’s, manufacturers teamed up with other companies to produce their own ABS system, Chrysler, General Motors, and Nissan all had their own version of ABS with different names. ABS was gaining popularity and by the late 70’s, Mercedes was the first production car to use an electronic ABS system as an option. This was a huge deal because with ABS, the risk of accidents is dramatically

Mercedes-Benz W116: First production car to have ABS option
Source: drivespark.com

reduced. From there on wards, Anti-lock braking technology improved with Honda making their Prelude coupe the first car to be delivered to Europe with standard ABS, Ford’s Scorpio offering the feature on all of their trim levels. Motorcycles too were slowly beginning to have ABS fitted with BMW being the first. Today, ABS is standard on all cars, and it’s probably illegal to sell a car without it, though older cars (and some newer mid 2000’s) cars still don’t have it as standard (early Perodua Vivas) and are still on the roads today. Modern ABS now work with other electronic management systems such as Electronic Stability Control or brake distribution systems. How does this all work? Here’s a basic rundown.

How does it work?

As I’ve mention before, ABS in its simplest meaning is to stop you from having an accident. This is done by the system doing things to your brakes to stop it from locking up. If you have never driven an older car, the brakes work differently, today you can slam it all you want and the car will stop, but on cars without ABS, slamming the brakes results in your front wheels locking up due to high pressure, which leads to you not being able to control your car.

Mercedes-Benz W116 ABS vs no ABS test
Source: drivespark.com

To simplify it, an ABS uses an Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which is the the brain of the system, speed sensors, pumps and valves. The ECU, along with the sensors can sense and predict the speed and movement of your wheels to adjust the valves which then controls the pressure within your braking system. With this control, wheel lock up will not happen, because the system is continuously predicting what will happen. More modern ABS systems can have pressure applied to individual wheels for maximum efficiency. As I said above, the system works with various sensors and other electronic systems in a car to make sure the driver can control their car in the event of loss of control. Systems like Traction Control System (TCS) and Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) all work with ABS to ensure the balance of pressure when you slam the brakes.

Most European cars are equipped with TPM and all of these three-word abbreviated systems, though newer cars from around the world are adapting these as standard features. With more electronic things stuffed in your car, the higher the risk of electronic failure, especially cars that are coming to age, can ABS fail?

What if it breaks?

You might have seen this light up along with other instrument lights when you’re turning on your car, the problem is when the light is still lit. ABS failure is not very common, because the technology has been perfected for so long, building an ABS system shouldn’t be that complicated for any manufacturer. However, if this light does come up, here are a few things that you might need to consider.

  1. Bad bulb: This is by far the most common case of ABS warning light lighting up. Go to your local mechanic and have the system reset or fixed.
  2. Bad speed sensor: This is a more serious case if the light continues to light up, meaning there is a problem. One of which could be a speed sensor which needs a replacement. Prices vary between cars.
  3. Low brake fluid: A bottle looking thing in your engine bay that says brake fluid, if it gets too low, your ABS light might light up. Any shop can top it up.
  4. Bad Pump/ABS module: Pumps are like any other car parts where it will worn out as it gets old while the ABS module would need replacement if it breaks or corrodes. ABS module corrosion is the most common serious fault. This needs to be addressed immediately.

It’s normal for the ABS light to light up when you start your car, because the computer is running its check to see if there’s anything wrong. You can still drive your car with the ABS light on BUT you must have it checked at your local mechanic. You can still operate the brakes normally though heavy breaking might be compromised depending on how bad your ABS has malfunctioned, you might not be able to do emergency stops because your wheels are going to lock up. In even worse circumstances, if your brake system light (handbrake light) pops up too, this means you REALLY have to see a mechanic, drive very slowly to the nearest shop or have it towed because your breaks might not actually work anymore.

Despite being a component that rarely has any serious issues, it’s important to know how ABS and other electronic things work and relate with each other. Cars today can be diagnosed easily with a computer, but you also have to be cautious of your brakes, meaning your brake pads and discs maintenance. Always keep your pads thick so that it won’t scrape and ruin your disc, have your mechanic check and clean your brakes with an air hose during your service visits. If you start hearing loud screeches and metallic noises, chances are it’s too late and you might have to replace your discs, more on this in another article.

Stay safe and brake safe!.

FYI this is what an ABS module looks like in case you want to see one. look out for a box with tubes coming out of it.

What Is Car Spotting?

The hobby that unites us

It’s literally the description of our blog, but we haven’t talked about it, this hobby among us car enthusiast gives us the opportunity to seek cool, rare and classic cars and share them for the world to see, it’s called car spotting. Car spotting is what we at Maximum Torque Malaysia are doing, in fact, our first social media presence started as an Instagram page.

What is car spotting?

What is car spotting, well in fact there’s Wikipedia article about the definition. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory, it’s a hobby for automobile enthusiast to seek and snap photos of cars they see or “spot” on the road, similar to plane spotting. Car spotting is done either professionally with DSLR’s, consistent and amazing shots, while us, we do it at amateur level, which is when we’re free and can get a good shot of the car. Once a car has been spotted, the photos or videos are uploaded on social media websites to show what cool car is rolling around their area. Some car spotters also search certain areas to find cool cars, such as Beverly Hills or in front of fancy hotels.

Is this a common hobby?

Very much so, car spotting is becoming more common everyday, similar to van life people (we’ll talk about that another time). Look up on Instagram and you can see tons of pages about car spotting, with some even specific to just their own neighbourhood. This brings us to our general list of the types of car spotters out there.

  1. Spotters who spot ultra luxury, super cars.
  2. Spotters who spot older cars.
  3. Spotters who spot a specific type of vehicle (off-roaders, only Ford cars)
  4. Spotters who spot mundane everyday cars, abandoned cars, niche cars and just old stuff.

We’re number 4! because our blog/page can’t afford to go to rich places with super expensive cars, and we believe there’s a lack of the number 4 type of car spotting in Malaysia, though there has been a surge in abandoned vehicle Instagram pages. This is why our page is only filled mainly by clapped out cars, normal cars and sometimes, quirky cars, it’s just more interesting to see them and they don’t get enough appreciation. Whenever we can, we try to contact the owners of the cars to get their story, which is why all of our cars spotted, unless stated, have blurred plates for privacy reasons.

Is it fun?

Very much so (for us at least) because even if you’re not a car person, suddenly seeing an old Volkswagen Beetle parked in a street is going to catch your eye and might be a part of your photo op. There are plenty of interesting cars hiding or just left on various streets across Malaysia, which is why we rely on our followers to provide photos if they spot any cool cars worthy for our post.

Brennen: Our major car spotting contributor

Shout out to Bren! for providing lots of our content.

Our page is very new, pages like plankhond and carsofhongkong are legends in the car spotting world. One day, we hope to achieve that fame, being the number 1 Malaysian car spotting page! Check out our Instagram page below.

All you need to know : Engine Oil

IS ENGINE OIL IMPORTANT?

Have you ever wondered sometime when you browse through mudah.my or used car website you saw several new cars having a very cheap price tag on them. Further along your reading you found out the car has been severely damaged in terms of the engine and transmission. Why is that happen? It’s a new car isn’t it? It should have at least 3 year of heavy usage without problem. And sometimes you see an ancient Perodua Kancil still running swiftly on the Plus Highway. Simply it doesn’t make sense. This is most likely because of the maintenance. Like everything else in this world, car need care and attention from time to time.

When you purchased a new car, you best need a specific way to drive the car. This is because the car is brand new and it needed a proper engine braking. You can learn more about how to drive new car on Youtube (Conquer Driving). After your car hits 1000 Miles, you best need to do a few things such as engine oil change, oil filter and many more. This is important as after hitting 1000 miles, your car produced a lot of carbon and what we call as metal flake in the cylinder. It also cools down an internal combustion engine, which creates a lot of heat. And it cleans engine parts, which can get dirty. Engine oil turns dark mean they are doing their job perfectly of capturing dust and many more nasty thing.

If you ask your mechanic, they say you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or less, but today technology in lubricant advancement, I think you can get away with changing it every 5,000 miles. Engine oil is very important as it is the main lubricant that keep every single part in your mechanical engine oiled and reduce the friction significantly. Without a proper care of the EO, your car will have the common problem such as burnt gasket, burst valve and many more expensive fixes which can even lead to overhauling your engine. This could easily cost you thousand when you can actually save that by changing your EO on time. Change the EO when it hit the recommended miles or when the duration of the services is overdue. Whichever comes first. How to read the number on the label? You often see number like SW 40 and more. The number represent the viscosity of the oil. Take a look at this chart,

img_techinfo03

Basically, choose the number according to your environment and the style of driving. About the brands? It’s a never-ending fight of words, curse and tears. Choose what you think best. Everyone has their own favorite brand. For me, I choose the Castrol EDGE 5W-40. This is because every time I change the oil, the oil is still in a good condition and you can feel the performance of the oil.

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Also you need to choose between mineral, semi synthetic and fully synthetic. The best is fully synthetic but it is a bit pricey. But hey, its your car so why not spent a few more dough for your baby.

Type-of-engine-oil

How to change your EO?

Well if you do not want the hassle of having oil all over your body, getting down on the dirty floor, the fear of being below your car and many more  fear, just send it to your nearest workshop and watch your car being service while you can sip the free mineral water in the waiting bay. But, if you are the type of person who likes to get dirty and really want to know your car better, you can change it yourself. In this way you get to know your car better and improve your relationship. But beware as this need a few crucial steps to complete. Without it you may damage your car.

  1. Before you get under the vehicle, the best activity is warm it up temporarily by having a brisk drive around or leave it sitting idle for around five minutes. This can help to make the oil less thick and easier to drain.
  2. You’ll have to jack up your car, so make sure you’re qualified to handle the jack and please make sure you find the right spot to jack up your car. THIS IS IMPORTANT as it can damaged the body frame and damage your body panel or even can slip over when you are doing the services.
  1. Find your car drain plug and unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into your oil pan. Be sure to use the correct tool and make sure you have a place to hold the oil when you open the plug. The oil will come right away
  2. Once all of the oil is drained, Clean the drain plug and install the drain plug back securely.
  3. Go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter with your oil filter wrench. Use the right tool and note that they will be a little oil inside the filter itself. Keep a rag cloth near you.
  4. Lubricate the oil filter rubber gasket with some new motor oil. This help to make the gasket more durable
  5. Screw in the new oil filter. Do not over tight the filter as it could loosen by time.
  6. Fill in the oil using the correct funnel. Check the oil level after you have fill in the oil. Be sure not to over fill it. Use the recommended oil level depending on your car.
  7. With a dipstick, double check your oil level to be sure you’ve added enough.
  8. Start your car and check for any leakage and then check the oil level again.

You are good to go now. And that is all you need to know about the engine oil of your car. Have fun driving around and be sure to check other posts from us.