Consider a scenario – you’re out with your family on a glorious day of sunshine up on Hill Road. The kids are happily chirping, and you’re in a driving trance on the mesmerizing Denver countryside. You take the next turn and watch a swarm of lined-up vehicles ahead. You apply the brakes, and your car stops at the right time. Thanks to an amazing automobile technology called ‘brake assist.’
As technological progress seeps into every aspect of our lives, it’s no surprise that modern automobiles are equipped with advanced features that make life easier for the driver. One such safety mechanism is the ‘service brake assist,’ a crucial feature for emergencies.
This brake assist system is designed to safeguard against brake malfunctions or issues, assisting in quicker stops outside the pressure the driver applies to the brake pedal.
In this article, we’ll look at what a service brake assist means, why it is essential, and how to fix service brake assist malfunction.
What is a Brake Assist?
Brake assist is designed to make braking more efficient by providing additional pressure beyond the driver’s manual braking operation. Computer software and sensors monitor the amount of pressure put on the brake pedal by the driver. In case of an emergency like an imminent collision, this state-of-the-art system provides additional pressure as needed. An electric motor, pumps, and a hydraulic valve apply this additional braking force.
The software detects the driver’s behavior when braking and applies additional power if it detects any inadequacy in this manual braking operation. This cutting-edge system works simultaneously with the anti-lock braking system to increase braking efficiency.
Why the Need for a Service Brake Assist?
We’ll get into the difference between a service brake assist and ABS in a while, but in reality, all modern vehicles are equipped with service brake assist, and for a good reason. Here are the top benefits of the service brake assist system:
Essentially, the service brake assist is a safety feature that is only activated if the driver doesn’t put the required pressure on the braking pedal. This could be due to hesitation or slow reaction time – an essential feature safeguarding human error.
Service brake assist applies hydraulic pressure on the brake as soon as it detects an emergency of a collision or an accident. It drives more power to the brakes sooner than the driver does.
The advanced sensors study driver behavior during an emergency, so the brake assist isn’t going to work every time you de-accelerate at a stop sign. The system has advanced sensors and programming to differentiate between stop signs and obstructions on the road.
Last but not least, the brake assist is a driver-adaptive system that monitors driving patterns, including braking.
Difference Between a Service Brake Assist & ABS
Even though the mechanisms differ, service brake assist and ABS aren’t separate standalone systems. In fact, brake assist relies on ABS sensors to identify emergencies. If one arises, both these systems work together to prevent collisions.
But while the ABS slows the car down and brings it to a halt, brake assist ensures that the right amount of pressure is applied to the pedal.
So here’s how the brake assist comes into play.
The ABS requires manual action from the driver to apply the right braking force in order to function properly. But sometimes, the driver may panic or be distracted to react in time, leading to inadequate pressure on the brake pedal. Service brake assist ensures that the maximum force is applied on the pedal to enhance braking efficiency.
What are Service Brake Assist Issues & How to Fix Them?
Just like any other mechanical system, the service brake assist may also malfunction. If you see the brake assist warning light flashing on your dashboard, you must take your car to the shop to fix it immediately.
But before calculating the costs involved, you should double-check with some DIY. This includes:
Resetting the Lights
There’s always the off chance that the brake assist warning accidentally came on. You can reset the light using an OBD2 scanner or manually remove power by disconnecting the negative cable from the battery and pushing the brake to flush out the remaining power. The light should be off as you reconnect the wire and restart your car. If not, it’s time to take it to the shop.
Read the Trouble Codes
Modern cars come with a plethora of features. In case of any issue, you should always check the trouble codes in your car’s computer system. However, this data isn’t always reliable, so purchase an OBD2 scanner and read the trouble codes to diagnose and troubleshoot accordingly.
If you still can’t diagnose the issue on your own, you should head to a garage as soon as possible and get your car diagnosed by certified mechanics.
Here are some of the most common causes of service brake assist failure, with a detailed explanation of how to fix them:
Brake Pressure Sensor Failure
This is the most common cause of brake assist failure. The sensors regulate the amount of power applied to the brake. If your sensor malfunctions, the whole system will stop responding.
How to Fix: Most cars have the sensor on the ABS unit. You’ll have to replace the sensor altogether or have it changed by a mechanic in case of any fault.
Faulty Brake Boosters
Brake boosters are vacuum pumps that apply power to the brake. This complex system has numerous connectors, hose clamps, and a check valve. Any loose connection, vacuum leak, or check valve damage may lead to your service brake assist light popping up.
How to Fix: While a car technician can look after minor issues like a loose connection or vacuum leak, you may have to replace your brake boosters in case of any damage to the check valve.
Due to the complex connections, it’s advised that you rely on an expert to replace your brake boosters.
Old Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is the hydraulic fluid that puts pressure on the brake pedal. The brake assist utilizes this system to respond instantaneously in emergency situations.
In case of inadequate or dirty brake fluid, the required pressure won’t be applied to the brake.
How to Fix: You can check the brake fluid level and determine if more is needed from the indicator. In case of dirty or contaminated fluid, you’ll have to flush it out and replace it with fresh brake fluid.
Replacing brake fluid needs professional intervention. Regardless of the brake fluid level, it’s recommended that you replace your brake fluid after every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever is earlier.
Faulty ABS Parts
The ABS consists of a sensor, ring, and pump. Any fault with either of these parts may lead to a brake assist warning by your car’s system. If you see the ABS lights along with the brake assist warning, your ABS is likely at fault rather than the brake assist.
How to Fix: Another issue where you shouldn’t DIY. Get a professional mechanic to diagnose and replace the faulty ABS part from your vehicle.
If moisture seeps into your car’s electronic system, it may lead to corrosion, impairing the brake assist system to function correctly.
How to Fix: Electrical issues in modern cars need a precise hand and minute attention to detail. Take your vehicle to an authorized shop to repair or replace wiring.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix Serve Brake Assist?
The amount of money you need to shell to repair your service brake assist depends on the model and reason for the malfunctioning.
If you need to replace brake boosters due to loose clamps or damaged valves, it’ll cost you $200-$500 for the part plus labor costs.
In case of inadequate brake fluid level, the shop may charge you around $100.
For brake pressure sensor malfunctions, you can have it replaced by a professional mechanic for $100-$200.
However, much depends on your car’s make and model.
Brake Assist Repair Near Me in Denver, CO
If you’re unable to diagnose any issues while the brake assist warning persists, don’t hesitate to take your ride to a certified mechanic.
At AutoImports of Denver, we have the equipment, experience, and expertise to diagnose and repair sophisticated technology such as the service brake assist.
We can dial down on the core reason for the malfunction and have your car ready quickly so that you can hit the roads with confidence again.