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Poll: Are Anti-lock brakes a waste of money?
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Are Anti-lock brakes a waste of money?

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Old 09-28-2002, 11:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
Unit 5302
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Default Do Anti-Lock Brakes Suck?

In study after study the only time anti-lock brakes are more effective at slowing a car down faster than conventional brakes is on dry, well conditioned pavement.

On dirt, ice, snow, and wet pavement, anti-lock brakes take up to 60% further to stop a vehicle.

Were poor conditions not part of why anti-lock brakes were truely developed? On dry pavement, better braking isn't as important in my opinion as that characteristic can be modified by the fitment of better, high performance tires.

It's my belief that conventional brakes actually have a plane of travel that goes beyond "lock-up" and "not in use." In fact, you can even turn the wheel of the car while braking with conventional brakes. My experience with anti-lock brakes is scary. I know my 2002 GT comes with them, but quite frankly, they are just about the single scariest part of my car to me. Anti-lock brakes don't stop under poor weather conditions. On slippery pavement, the ABS computer becomes confused in many cases almost refusing to apply any brake pressure. Rear anti-lock trucks are the scariest. The front brakes lock up, and the rears do nothing because the computer is constantly reading lockup.

What do you people think? Are they another couple thousand dollars of unnecessary expense on our new cars? Could Ford sell the Mustang GT for under $20k, fully loaded by getting rid of the two technologies?
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Old 09-29-2002, 12:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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yes, i hate the abs system , a ricer did a fly by on me , i caught him & he locked up his brakes, i almost hit him, yes my stupidity for getting on his a--- but when the brakes let off, well i think this sum's it up- , i almost pushed him down the freeway, scary.
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Old 09-29-2002, 12:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Manually operated barkes are always shown to be superior when operated by an expert. Only when a neophyte, are antilock brakes better. Now this assumes a properly operating proportioning valve FOR SURE.

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Old 09-29-2002, 07:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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They are expensive as heck to repair too. When I bought my used '94 van from a Chevy dealer, the ABS light was on. The Ford dealer charged almost $900 to fix them, and they used remanufactured parts. Good thing it was under warranty, or the ABS light would still be on.
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Old 09-29-2002, 08:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Unit, from what i have studied is Anti-Lock brakes were designed to help you brake into and out of a turn in poor conditions such as rain, dirt or snow. they originally not designed to stop less distance, but allow the driver in an emergency situation to brake when turning without the wheels completely locking up. Oh btw, on dry pavement going straight, most conventional brakes will stop shorter than ABS due to friction.

To those who don't know, ABS is used on airplanes, so when they put the landing gear down and apply the brakes, it doesnt lock up and have the plane crash on the runway. Mostly that is where we got the information from.

Do Anti-Lock brakes suck? depends. IMOP, i think they do. I seem to have better control over a car with conventional brakes rather than with ones with ABS. Maybe i am just a good driver. ABS is useful, but i don't think anyone was "trained" on how to use them correctly. Next thing you know over half of the cars being made in the early 90's had them. People weren't used to this style of braking which can cause accidents.

So for me? Thumbs down on ABS!
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I disagree with conventional brakes being superior to anti-lock when dry pavement straight line braking is concerned. Take a look at road tests and reviews. The stopping distance on ABS cars is much shorter because it's just too hard to modulate braking pressure perfectly on most production cars to keep the brakes applied to the maximum capability without lockup.

To back this up, I submit the Dodge Viper. At 3300lbs, shod with massive, ultra-high performance tires it should have been one of the best performing cars in stopping distance. It was the poorest in it's class. Review after review cited it was too hard to bring the Viper down to a stop under heavy brake application without lockup.

There was a full article on the subject I read where they tested 2 identical cars. One with the optional 4 wheel ABS, and one with conventional brakes. All the other specs on the brakes were the same. I believe it may have been Mercedez Benz.

The results were favorable on ABS for stopping only on dry pavement, where it did enjoy a marginally better performance. On any weather condition other than dry pavement, the ABS was significantly to massively worse. Snow and ice being the worst case scenerio. 60% longer stops with the ABS system. They also said ABS was superior because it allowed them to turn to miss objects while the brakes are being applied. My question is, would they have even had to turn at all if they would have had conventional brakes?

The article was shocking, as all the articles I had ever seen said ABS would be so superior to conventional brakes on snow/ice because it would be able to modulate the pressure, and pulse the brakes way faster than any human. My experience before I read the article said the complete opposite. ABS cars were just plain dangerous as the computer would get too confused on slick surfaces, and attempt to avoid lockup by applying almost no braking pressure. The article mearly backed that feeling up with numbers.
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Old 09-29-2002, 12:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well Unit do this. Serioiusly try it. Take your new Stang. Go lets say 60mph. hit the brakes as hard as you can and mark the spot. then diconnect the ABS and try it with conventional. give me the results. NOT all cars act the same way. weight distrubution has a big role in it. if you have a 60/40 weight ratio car, it is going to take longer to stop at a given weight as one with a 50/50 with the same given weight. also many other factors are involved, like tire material, width of the tire, tire pressure, tire heat and heat of the surface, brake fade, yada, yada, yada. you get the point. some cars do stop better with ABS, should have made that clear first, sorry. i drove alot of cars from experience with RWAL, 4WAL, and other types. all i have to say, the higher end vehicles with ABS compared to the lower end priced vehicles, seem to stop better with the ABS on dry pavement. Not all vehicles with ABS are created equally. Their is pro's and con's about ABS. like i said, for me, i like it without ABS. i feel i have more control than the computer does.

Why did they turn? Lets just say your are going straight down a paved road. You are doing 50, its raining and it is daytime. All of the sudden out of nowhere a deer jumps out in front of you. You slam hard on those brakes and try to steer out of the way of the deer. Now if you have 4 wheel ABS chances are you wont hit the deer head on while you tried to swerve out of the way, you may just miss him or clip him head on. meanwhile while all this is going on, your brakes arent fully locked up, making you able to steer the car in the direction you want to go. Conventional brakes you would be going straight and BAM! you have venicine(sp?) for dinner.

Believe it or not, it really isnt the computer gets confused, it is the lack of knowledge or instinct of the driver of how he/she uses the brakes. If the person hits the brakes and makes an ABS stop and releases the brake and then applies it again, ABS is going to think it doesnt need to use its braking assistance any longer, return to normal mode and then try to attempt another ABS stop in the middle of the braking mode. all the fluid in the ABS resvoir is being pumped back up so it can have the pressure again for another ABS stop. since no pressure is really built up, the brakes lock up and you lose your ABS. so basically if you have ABS, dont pump the pedal or when you are doing ABS braking, let is go through its cycle or when you have control of your vehicle, let go of the brakes.

I have used ABS brakes before. Testing and through personal experience of emergency situations like the snow. i have more control without it on slippery surfaces than i do with it.

Unit, i hope i answered something!?
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Old 09-29-2002, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You're preaching to the wrong guy. I'm an ex-FedEx guy. We got rentals in, and we performed these braking tests again, and again while in the snow and ice, just goofin off. I can say with enthusiasm depressing the brakes fully with ABS results in poor stopping due to the brakes either not being applied or being applied too lightly. ABS was scary to use. It had nothing to do with us not knowing how to operate the systems as we would purposely perform the braking manuevers as we were supposed to. Yes, all your technical informatin matters, but different ABS systems will perform differently, too. 4 wheel ABS vs rear wheel ABS, and how advanced the ABS system is matters too. As far as me trying to flat spot my tires thanks, but I don't really have anywhere around here that wouldn't draw just a little too much attention, lol.

As for your comment about avoiding the deer, yes, the ABS helps those who do the wrong thing by slamming on the brakes and trying to turn. They slam on the brakes, and ABS basically takes the brakes away as they input steering direction into the wheel. I fail to see the benefit of ABS in this scenerio overall though, as you've basically stated you're going to hit the deer one way or the other, and a conventional braking system doesn't somehow lock the steering wheel into a straight up position when the brakes are applied.

Let's take my scenerio. You're driving down a snowy street and there is a sudden accident in front of you that occupies both lanes and you have 150ft to stop. Conventional brakes can do it in 130ft. ABS brakes can do it in 208ft, but you can swerve into the snow filled ditch (taking your chance on hitting road signs and needing a tow out) or either blocked lane of traffic while you have your brakes depressed.

How about an accident that takes up only one lane, otherwise same scenerio. You can either stop 20ft short of the accident or with ABS you can swerve into the other lane avoiding the crash and continue past them 3 1/2 car lenghts hoping there is no oncoming traffic or you can again choose the ditch.
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Old 09-29-2002, 02:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll take manual brakes over ABS in my 'stang any day... and I'll take power-assist over ABS in the 'ol pick 'em up truck, too bad the Z71 already has ABS

I hate the spongy pedal... and the pulsating pedal when applying the brakes over a rough road, of all things... I can live with ABS, but would rather not have it.
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Old 09-29-2002, 07:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Unit, i was preaching i was explaining. Also this reply wasnt just meant for you only. Others here really dont know how ABS works. Just thought i would give them some facts and opinions on it.

Yeah you can hit the deer either way, but you may kill yourself or hurt yourself badly if you hit it head on.

As for an accident taking 2 lanes on snowy roads, you can still be part of that accident reaguardless of ABS or not.

Like i said Kell, there is pro's and con's about it. Every car is different. A very good driver can reduce accidents or even avoid them.

People actually need to be trained in order to use ABS correctly. Its a whole new ball game and we are throwing the bat boys in to play.

If you were a FedEx driver, chances are you drove vans. they can't stop worth of schit with or without ABS anyways. They are terrible in the snow, rain, dirt or what have you. I assume you drove the vans.

Just had to make myself clear.

Me, dont like ABS!
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Old 09-29-2002, 08:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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geez...i think of them as a blessing! my new GT stops on a dime at nearly any speed...ive driven non-abs and all i did was slide when i had to stop fast, it was horrible...even after having the brake redone and new tires!....bleh! i love my abs!
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Old 10-01-2002, 04:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I have RABS in my '95 F-150, and I like it. The weight in the bed of my truck varies by up to 1000 pounds day to day, and my rear brakes never/very rarely lock-up, which is nice. Other trucks I have driven are notorious for locking up the rear brakes.

As far as other apps, I have mixed feelings. Drivers that are not accustom to them have problems, and they can be a PITA to bleed, but seeing as it never snows here, and only rains a few inches a year, I think they do a decent job.

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Old 10-01-2002, 01:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i've been driving cars with ABS since november of 1996.......

and i've never activated the ABS *knocks on wood*
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Old 10-04-2002, 02:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't understand the point of rear wheel anti-lock brakes. My truck uses rwabs and the lousy front wheels always lock up in a hard stop. If ABS is supposed to help you steer, why are they on the rear tires???

Another thing is in the ice or snow, normal brakes will just lock up and you will slide foooooooooooreeeeeeeeever and probably crash anyway. I know my truck does NOT stop in the ice or snow, and I can't steer worth a damn because the fronts always lock up. I was driving in the wet pretty fast and had to slow down for a turn, thought I gave myself lots of room, well even with a bit of brake pressure the fronts locked up and I went /straight/ into the median, bounced off, thank god I regained control and avoided the ditch and the other lane.
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vector
I don't understand the point of rear wheel anti-lock brakes. My truck uses rwabs and the lousy front wheels always lock up in a hard stop. If ABS is supposed to help you steer, why are they on the rear tires???

Another thing is in the ice or snow, normal brakes will just lock up and you will slide foooooooooooreeeeeeeeever and probably crash anyway. I know my truck does NOT stop in the ice or snow, and I can't steer worth a damn because the fronts always lock up. I was driving in the wet pretty fast and had to slow down for a turn, thought I gave myself lots of room, well even with a bit of brake pressure the fronts locked up and I went /straight/ into the median, bounced off, thank god I regained control and avoided the ditch and the other lane.
I guess ABS slides fooooooooooreeeeeever + 60% then, because in numerous tests ABS took 60% longer to stop than full lockup on snow and ice.

Here's what I've found from experience with Fed Ex rental vehicles with Rear ABS. Fronts lock, can't steer. Rears do nothing, vehicle doesn't stop in reasonable amount of time, let alone quickly. Fed Ex trucks may see the weight differential of 1000lbs from time to time too

If you're not activating the ABS system, you're not using the ABS system, and you cannot possibly know how good it works.
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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If you can't modulate your brakes, ABS ain't gonna save your ***. PKRWUD may have a point about variable rear brake pressure depending on variable weight distribution. Personally, I'd just rather do it myself.

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Old 10-04-2002, 11:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Im in the GM ASEP program at my local community college. We are about to complete the brakes portion of he program. The professor told us that the point behind RWAL in the trucks is to keep the rear end from sliding around to the front. He also said that ABS isn't designed to shorten braking distance. It is there to help the driver maintain directional control under hard braking. This definately makes sence to me, but the guy is a GM guy so consider the source.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Straight line stability

I think straight line stability can be maintained, even in a pick up truck , without ABS. Is it easier with ABS? Yes. Does it take longer to stop? Yes. My $.02.

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Old 10-27-2007, 01:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do Anti-Lock Brakes Suck?

i personally have never felt the need to have abs brakes on any of my cars. i have driven my vintage cars around the country in various weather conditions including ice and snow, and through the remnants of a hurricane, and i have never had any problems with stopping, even pulling a trailer.
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Old 10-27-2007, 03:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do Anti-Lock Brakes Suck?

I'm not an expert but my '90 LX never gave me any trouble stopping from high speeds with it's allegedly undersized brakes and without ABS. I avoided driving it in snow or on slippery surfaces so I can't attest to it's ability in those situations but I can believe that ABS would be a hindrance on slippery surfaces.

I now have an '06 Honda which is a 365-days-a-year daily driver (with ABS) but I haven't experienced a problem with it stopping on wet or slippery surfaces. Of course, I also avoid making hard stops in those conditions, so I may not be the best judge of this.

I suspect that ABS - which has been around a long time - was designed for the average (clueless) driver, not the tuned-in performance-oriented driver that usually pilots a Mustang V-8.

ABS literature mentions that braking may be compromised under 'certain conditions' which is a sly way of telling you that it isn't 'foolproof'. However, I doubt many grocery-getter drivers ever notice that disclaimer in the fine print that follows the description of ABS on their new or used car. In any case, despite it's shortcomings, I doubt that ABS is going away and in fact, it is likely to remain standard equipment on most vehicles for the foreseeable future.
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