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Anti-lock Breaks?

  • Yea!

    Votes: 85 84.2%
  • Nay!

    Votes: 12 11.9%
  • I abstain, courtiously.

    Votes: 4 4.0%

  • Total voters
    101
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Discussion Starter #1
Either I don't get out much, or ABS as an option is pretty rare on a car these days... and I am torn on if I should spend the $400 and get ABS.

One side says get ABS because since this is my first manual transmission, in the event of possible skidding, I will be worrying about other things other than pumping the breaks. Also, most people under normal circumstances can stop faster with ABS than without.

The other side says don't get ABS, because in central Indiana I will have to deal with snow, and many times ABS can actually cause stopping to occur slower with ABS in snowy conditions. Also, it is $400 I won't know exists 99% of the time... not to mention all the neat tricks you can do without ABS (although I most likely will not engage in such activities). I know my father doesn't care for ABS, but he admits it is because he learned and grew up without it.

Since you have the choice, what have you decided and why? I really am seriously torn over this option more than any other.
 

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Fortimir said:
Since you have the choice, what have you decided and why? I really am seriously torn over this option more than any other.

this will be redundant for some people as i have said this before. i live in texas so i don't deal with snow. and i do the deer in headlights thing and just stand on the brake pedal. so getting ABS is not an option for me. I must have it. it will save me thousands in the long run.
 

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Moobs said:
this will be redundant for some people as i have said this before. i live in texas so i don't deal with snow. and i do the deer in headlights thing and just stand on the brake pedal. so getting ABS is not an option for me. I must have it. it will save me thousands in the long run.
I actually remember you saying that, and I know a few have mentioned it... but I was curious as to how many would choose each, and I wanted a number of views in one place so I could seriously make a decision from it. Also, seeing as we know officially the price, more people may have now made up their minds than before.
 

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i don't think $400 is really that bad of a price. if i remember correctly from when i was researching buying a mustang, ford wants about $1000 for their ABS option.
 

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Fortimir said:
Either I don't get out much, or ABS as an option is pretty rare on a car these days... and I am torn on if I should spend the $400 and get ABS.

One side says get ABS because since this is my first manual transmission, in the event of possible skidding, I will be worrying about other things other than pumping the breaks. Also, most people under normal circumstances can stop faster with ABS than without.

The other side says don't get ABS, because in central Indiana I will have to deal with snow, and many times ABS can actually cause stopping to occur slower with ABS in snowy conditions. Also, it is $400 I won't know exists 99% of the time... not to mention all the neat tricks you can do without ABS (although I most likely will not engage in such activities). I know my father doesn't care for ABS, but he admits it is because he learned and grew up without it.

Since you have the choice, what have you decided and why? I really am seriously torn over this option more than any other.
Fort'

I seriously doubt you could consistently stop better than the ABS that is in existence today. I also doubt you could do 10 stops consistently better than a properly tuned ABS stop, without ruining at least one of your tires. There's a reason that many racers leave ABS on when racing the Corvette.

Most cars actually offer ABS optional - or conversely you may order a car without ABS on most cars on the absolute base models. It's standard only on mid-size or larger cars. I think the Cavalier and Sunfire used to be standard, but then they made it optional because all of the competitors had it optional and priced for it.

Many of the early faults that used to occur with ABS have been addressed - many systems actually allow you to use the park brake (like the S2000) - they turn off when the park brake is pulled, then back on if you let up.

Besides, it only takes one screwup and you've ruined a good set of tires (thump-thump-thump of a flatspot).

It's worth it.
 

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If you're on the fence, I say go for it! $400 isn't really that much at all. Consider it insurance.
 

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The added control factor of being able to steer the car out of trouble under heavy braking when you otherwise would have skid right into an accident is alone worth the $400.
 

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Additionally, my insurance company discounts my rates on any cars I own that have ABS - every little bit helps! :)
 

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If you plan on driving your car in the winter (not Florida/California winter, but real ones with snow and ice), then definately get ABS. They are worth it.

ABS also make a big difference when you are stopping in heavy rain.
 

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As long as you don't hydroplain or slide on some surface you'll usually stop a little shorter without ABS. However that's not the point of ABS. ABS is designed to allow you to prevent lock up which causes hydroplaining (on snow, ice, water, sand [yes, you can hydroplain on sand], etc) and since your wheels still slightly continue to move you can steer your way out of danger. If you jsut jam the brakes and stay on your same path all ABS is going to do is stop you from sliding into the item in front of you. But if you're going fast enough you'll still smack right into it. ABS is designed to be used in conjunction with the driver to prevent an accident.
 

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brentil said:
As long as you don't hydroplain or slide on some surface you'll usually stop a little shorter without ABS. However that's not the point of ABS. ABS is designed to allow you to prevent lock up which causes hydroplaining (on snow, ice, water, sand [yes, you can hydroplain on sand], etc) and since your wheels still slightly continue to move you can steer your way out of danger. If you jsut jam the brakes and stay on your same path all ABS is going to do is stop you from sliding into the item in front of you. But if you're going fast enough you'll still smack right into it. ABS is designed to be used in conjunction with the driver to prevent an accident.
Good point. ABS isn't necessarily meant as a way for you to stop faster but more as a way of keeping control of your vehicle while stopping.
 

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brentil said:
As long as you don't hydroplain or slide on some surface you'll usually stop a little shorter without ABS. ....
Not necessarily so in today's ABS. If you notice, the rags almost never get a car without ABS.

Reason: the best measured stopping distances today, are, 9 times out of 10, with properly tuned ABS.

A human driver may be able to match or beat ABS on some of the attempts at maximum stopping, but not consistently. I know this because I used to think this as well, until it was demonstrated to me.

You've generally got to hit just the right slip for straight line braking (somewhere between 8% to 15%) - and depending on the tire, this can be relatively easy, or devilshly difficult. But to do it 5 times in a row is EXTREMELY difficult. To beat or match ABS 10 stops out of 10? Not unless you test cars for a living and have over 1500 tested stops under your belt - and THEN only maybe.

The other reason that ABS is usually a better stopping distance is stability. To avoid premature rear lockup, the use of a proportioning valve is typical in a non-ABS setup. With ABS, you many times can rely on the system to prevent lockup, either by having an electronic control on proportioning, or by getting aggressive on proportioning and just letting slip control handle lockup. The net result: more brake force at the tire patch, because you don't have the prop valve biasing braking to the front to avoid rear wheel lock. Therefore: shorter stopping distance.

What I typically see happen with non-ABS stops in 10 attempts are: two to four relatively bad stops as the driver gets to know the car and how well it brakes, where lockup occurs, how "modulatable" (is that a word?) the pedal and apply system is... Moderate probability of a tire flat spot.

The next several attempts tend to look like a typical autocross - gradual reduction in stopping distance, with a +10' flyer here and there. The last stops are generally over-agressive and result in the need for a new set of tires, and also tend to be longer than the rest.

Overall range of variation - for many drivers, it's over 25' or 30'. The average stopping distance is no where near the average of an ABS car.

Then the driver heads over to the ABS car, and slams 10 stops that are within 5-8 feet of each other.

Don't get me started on "evasive" braking in a non-ABS vs. ABS car.

Today's four channel systems use more advanced logic - wheel slip detection, yaw estimation, all kinds of neat stuff - and can adjust the amount of braking force on the fly. They operate at higher frequencies... they are just not like the old systems that were on the Cavalier, or Rear-only systems on trucks.

Bottom line: BUY the ABS. It's definitely worth the few hundred.
 

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Also call your insurance agent (maybe swatthefly can offer input) and ask if they have an ABS discount.
 

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I have ABS on my Grand Prix. The only time it has ever kicked in is when my car is travelling downhill on a slippery surface (i.e. snow) and has started to slide rather than roll, usually when trying to stop for a stop sign or traffic signal. In each of these cases, my car would surely have slid right on out into an active intersection if I didn't have ABS.

Concerning whether you can brake faster without ABS, under normal driving conditions the ABS should not be activated, and you are using your standard braking capability to stop the car. The ABS should be tuned so that it only activates when the system senses your wheels locking and starting to slip. (that's why they're called anti-LOCK brakes!)

On the other hand, if you are the type of driver who feels the need to purposely lock your brakes and go into a slide, then don't get ABS. ;)
 

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Well good to know. And knowing is half the battle. :D
As I had said before I've never owned an ABS car, but I was going off all the ABS propoganda I remember from a while back.
 

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Dengel,

you are right - if the ABS is not activated, then you are not near peak braking, and your stopping distances at less than maximum braking will be identical. ABS only controls wheel slip when it needs to be controlled.

That's also assuming your non-ABS car hasn't really sacrificed brake proportioning and the comparitive regions where you brake don't actuate that proportioning.

It can also detect when you are on uneven "slipperiness", like one wheel on ice and one on pavement, or one wheel on the shoulder and one on the road. It can do a tremendous amount of stabilization - essentially splitting the difference between the large "yaw" of the car and your desire to stop. I don't know if anyone has tried a high speed stop on a "split mu" surface (do not do this on any place except a test track or large pad) without ABS, but depending on your speed - if you stand and stay on the brakes you will definitely go for a "pants crapping" ride....
 

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ABS gives you better steering control during hard stopping situations. That alone might be worth it in a performance car such as this. It could save your bacon if you overdrive the car into a corner, and then need to lay on the brakes to reduce speed. If you lock them, you may go flying straight into the weeds. With the ABS, you may be able to continue steering around the corner.

I am not a great fan of ABS, primarily because it can be a negative for me in the winter on my daily drivers, as you sometimes want to lock the brakes. However, I might prefer it on a summer only roadster.
 

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achieftain said:
Also call your insurance agent (maybe swatthefly can offer input) and ask if they have an ABS discount.
yep, most companies will offer discounts for ABS, though not as many as five years ago. also, its mainly your preferred companies that would offer such discounts. most high-risk companies dont give that as a discount. AND, even if your insurance company themselves dont give a discount, sometimes the VIN number will give it away and the discount will be factored in the rating, so you wont actually see a discount, just a cheaper rate. but for the most part, you are only looking at a 1-5% discount.
 

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swatthefly said:
yep, most companies will offer discounts for ABS, though not as many as five years ago. also, its mainly your preferred companies that would offer such discounts. most high-risk companies dont give that as a discount. AND, even if your insurance company themselves dont give a discount, sometimes the VIN number will give it away and the discount will be factored in the rating, so you wont actually see a discount, just a cheaper rate. but for the most part, you are only looking at a 1-5% discount.
Assume the middle for discount 2.5% and guesstimate insurance at about $1200/yr and ABS will pay for itself in 12-15 years even if ou never use it.
 
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