I had a few moments this morning to get back to reading my Jeep Wrangler manual specifically the Electronic Brake Control System section. When did our vehicles begin thinking for themselves. It is a little scary, and I am not sure how much I like it. For the general masses it is probably a good thing, but maybe I would rather be in control.
The Electronic Brake Control System includes:
ABS, TCS, BLD, BAS, HSA, ERM, ESC, TSC, HDC.
It's like an alphabet soup, and what the heck does it all mean.
I will start with ABS -- Anti-Lock Brake System. This computer system helps the wheels from locking up and skidding during slippery conditions.
What I learned ... Do NOT pump my brakes.
TCS - Traction Control System
This system monitors the amount of wheel spin, and if wheel spin is detected brakes are applied to that wheel.
BLD - Brake Limited Differential
This system controls wheel spin across the driven axle. Again if there is a wheel spinning faster then its partner, the brake will apply. This will give more power to the wheel not spinning.
This feature remains active even when you turn off the Traction Control System and the Electronic Stability Control system.
BAS - Brake Assist System
Basically this is extra braking during emergency situations. The computer system is capable of figuring out what constitutes an emergency system.
HSA - Hill Start Assist
Basically this system knows when you are on a hill incline or decline. It will keep your vehicle braked for the split second to get your foot from the brake pedal to the gas pedal.
There is the potential to turn off this system if your vehicle is equipped with EVIC. Don't ask me what that is because that is later in the manual.
ERM - Electronic Roll Mitigation
This system anticipates the potential for wheel lift. So... if the vehicle senses you are going to fast in a turn, it will slow you down to prevent the Jeep from tipping over. But... this only occurs during severe or evasive driving maneuvers.
ESC - Electronic Stability Control
Basically this system can tell which way you intend to drive, and if the vehicle's path is not going that way, it will apply the proper brakes to get you back on the right path.
This ECS system has 3 different modes you can control with a button on your control panel under the radio -- On, Partial Off and Full Off.
When you are in 4 high you want this system ON.
For the partial off mode the Traction Control System is disabled but not the Brake Limited Differential. You want to be in this mode if you are in deep sand, snow or gravel, and you need more wheel spin then would normally be allowed.
If you want ESC in Full Off you need to press and hold the switch for five seconds. This turns off the engine torque reduction, and the enhanced stability control. You will want to use this mode while off-highway or off-roading.
Now... if you forget to turn this system back on when you get back on the highway... it's okay... because the computer thinks for you. Once you hit 40 mph it automatically goes into partial off mode.
And good news again folks... No worries about pushing the button when you shift your Jeep into 4 low. The computer automatically knows to switch off the ESC to Full Off.
All of this sounds pretty good and keeps us all safe... But when a vehicle can sense... anticipate... and figure out our intentions... I begin to wonder if we are on the verge of an era of Terminators.
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