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Stability Control, are you ready for it?

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Comments

  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I dunno. Somehow the ability to actually keep from doing that is far more rewarding than the car keeping me from doing what I'd like to do year round........oh, while charging $$$ for the pleasure of doing so.
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    To me, that's sort of like saying "I don't need anti-lock brakes because I'm a good driver"

    No human being's reaction times are as fast as the computer can react.

    I just don't see the pleasure in fish-tailing all over the road on a snowy or rainy day - spinning out or worse...I'd pay a little extra to avoid that "thrill".
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Actually I like ABS and won't buy a (new) vehicle without it because of the fact that I can't beat it......but it doesn't interfer with that I'm trying to do the rest of the time.

    When the weather is bad I drive within the limits of my vehicle and have enough skill to counteract issues like that. To me that is actually a fun part of driving and I'd hate to cut that out. Especially when it would cost me a good chunk of my own money to do it.

    But I guess I could be the typical SUV driver I see every winter who drives like a maniac because 4 wheel drive and all these systems *will* "correct" their driving mistakes.......and later I see off the side of the road up ahead. I'm not so sure that it doesn't embolden the stupid to do even stupider things. That's beside the point and not the fault of the system, just something that I do not need, nor want.
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    That's true too, I guess some people would think because they have stability control, they can just drive like it's a clear, sunny day and it will work electronic miracles for them.

    I sort of assumed you were from Florida, and I could also see if you lived someplace where it doesn't snow you wouldn't really see the need for stability control.

    I dunno, just from my experience, I consider myself a good, experienced snow driver, and I wouldn't mind the extra peace of mind knowing that the electronics are watching my back, so to speak... I've had the "pleasure" of getting a car sideways on a snowy day, and believe me, it's no fun
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I WISH I was back in Florida (although I did recently turn down a job in Miami) but I currently live in Oklahoma. Not the great white north, but it does snow a fair amount here and we specialize in ice storms. (I'd rather get 8' of snow than 2 inches of ice).
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    (I'd rather get 8' of snow than 2 inches of ice)

    Well, there you go - to me, I don't care how good of a driver you are or how quick your reflexes are, you can get sideways, end up in the ditch, etc...when you're on a sheet of ice. (Ok, maybe if you're Jeff Gordon or Michael Shumacker you wouldn't!) But for me personally, I wouldn't mind the extra "help" of stability control in that situation.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    problem is, the stability system isn't going to do a lick of good on ice either. Tires with 0% traction behave the same on a 1967 Pontiac Catalina as it will on the latest Volvo XC90. If you're on a sheet of ice, you're just along for the ride even if you've got a Cray supercomputer on board handling everything.

    Now the guy with all the gizmo's my just plow onto that sheet of ice thinking that it will take care of everything while I'm driving cautiously and looking for ice like I'm on the deck of the Titanic.

    *really the best hope in the above scenario is that ABS can get a tiny little bit of traction (fraction-O'-traction?), enough to slowly steer enough to maybe catch some snow on the side of the road to catch enough traction to stop.
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    I was sort of under the assumption that with stability control you'd at least slide off the road nose first instead of backwards or sideways? I might have to re-think my position
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    "When the weather is bad I drive within the limits of my vehicle and have enough skill to counteract issues like that. To me that is actually a fun part of driving and I'd hate to cut that out. Especially when it would cost me a good chunk of my own money to do it. "

    I would agree, that fits into the fact that many more than 50% of drivers think they are above average on the roads. Problem is that some are mistaken, statistically. From my own POV I thought I was pretty good behind the wheel but after taking a number of driving classes I have learned so much I wonder how good I was back then. Just something to consider when you evaluate the need for the other guy to have something to help them not cause you any problems.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Now obviously not everybody is going to encounter a sheet of ice big enough to plant all 4 wheels at the same time on.....although it has happened to me more than once, BUT:

    The methods stability control uses are dependent on at least some traction being available at some of the wheels. If you remove this (the sheet of ice example) the system has no way to counteract the problem. Think of it as having no leverage. It has no way to exert force to get out of the problem.

    Starrow: Oh I'm not saying that people shouldn't get stability control systems on their vehicles. Especially on high-center of gravity vehicles and the average driver, I think it is useful. Just that I don't want/nor need it myself. Now if it is free, has a "true" on/off switch and comes with a lifetime warranty for all parts and labor, sure I'll take it. But other than that I honestly don't want it. Again, not saying that others shouldn't get it though.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Good approach, waiting on technology to prove itself is usually prudent. I've come across many who feel the same way.

    About your response to davem, you are right about depending on some traction which is always the case. One of the MB intros for ESC several years ago was to turn a bunch of reporters loose on an ice lake with a cone course and let then prove that it was impossible to stay on course, no matter how slow they tried to go. They then turned on the system and they all drove the course successfully. It seems to be able to find the leverage when and where needed, amazing thing about technology, some times it really works.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,876
    ***I was sort of under the assumption that with stability control you'd at least slide off the road nose first instead of backwards or sideways?***

    ESC is designed to correct both oversteer and understeer. Most of us would take it for the oversteer correction alone, as only oversteer has that abrupt "point of no return." However, assume you enter a snow-packed corner too quickly, and the car begins to understeer, ESC brakes the wheels as you continue to steer, without any action from you (you don't have to hit the brakes). In a non-ESC car, if you wanted to slow down once you were taking the corner, you would need to do so gently for fear of upsetting the balance of the car, possibly turning the understeer into oversteer.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,803
    Nothing works on a frictionless surface.. and, sure... you can be too far gone to catch it... You can't repeal the laws of physics.. but, stability control does amazing things...

    I have no trouble believing in a large decrease in accidents, fatal or otherwise, with stability control...

    And, even though there are times that I turn it off to have fun... There isn't a driver in the world that can compensate and correct better than that computer...

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  • boxster1boxster1 Posts: 18
    I'm in my first ESC car, I think that's the current generic term for Electronic Stability Control. Every manufacturer seems to have their own name for it, but the bottom line is the ESC is a black box, or computer-central that uses ABS and Traction Control as tools to get the job done. I'm in a Boxster and found that Bosch makes my system, while Continental apparently does the one for the Cayenne. But they work somewhat the same. If you want to autocross your car, turn it off. Otherwise, leave it on and you'll never know it's there. If you get in a corner "a little deep," it'll put the pressure on the outside front brake and force it into a little understeer to bring it back in line. Believe me, it'll save you a lot of body work and maybe a hospital bill. You're smart to have it on your next Honda, or any other car.
  • boxster1boxster1 Posts: 18
    I'm not sure if the salesman was a complete idiot or just clueless. AWD is great for getting traction, but has nothing to do with keeping control once you start sliding or locking up the brakes. Come on now, really. The ESC is a brain that knows when your car isn't going where you are steering. It then takes over your ABS and traction control to help get the car back in the lane instead of rolling off the shoulder. The salesman should take the car back!
  • boxster1boxster1 Posts: 18
    I've read a number of entries that suggest you're not a "real driver" if you have to rely on ESC. I'm certainly a competent driver, have scored well in Bondurant's competition course and like handling cars with a little horsepower. I'm certainly not a pro driver, but I have to tell you -- having the Porsche PSM system (that's their brand of your basic ESC) is nice to have as a back up if I get a little over confident. If I'm on the track, I turn it off; but on the streets and down the highway, it's on all the time. It doesn't do anything unless you really start to get into trouble, so bring it on! You're crazy (or maybe a little too macho) if you think you can't use it.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    not sure if that was directed at me, but I do not mean to imply that someone who has it or uses it is "not a real driver".
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    ABS simply works when you nail the brakes hard, as in an emergency stopping situation. And it will definitely help in a sliding situation. But that's where the stability control, the ESC, really comes in if you have it on your car. It basically senses when the car is going out of control and uses the ABS to straighten the car out again. It isn't a "silver bullet" but it can bring you out of some very bad situations. I saw a story quote the other day about ESC from NHTSA. "NHTSA reported that ESC was responsible for reducing single vehicle crashes in passenger cars by 35 percent and in SUVs by 67 percent. Shortly afterward, the IIHS announced results of its study concluding that ESC reduced single vehicle crashes by about 56 percent." Pretty impressive. I think Mercedes had similar findings with their own study.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/15/earlyshow/living/ConsumerWatch/main680
    237.shtml

    Interesting reporting, lots of quotes. Guess you might have to cut and paste since it seems to drop the ending. Sorry
  • boxster1boxster1 Posts: 18
    I have to agree with davem -- while I love driving hard (when appropriate), I don't enjoy having to fight the car on a snowy day or in hard rain. Give me the ESC any day and save me the bump shop bill!
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    First of all, let me be up front -- I'm a writer and work for myself. But one of my clients is the ESCC, the Electronic Stability Control Coalition (Bosch and Continental Teves). The ESCC is trying to promote and educate people about stability control. I can see that it must save lives much as you could say ABS or seat belts save lives. Maybe not every time, but if it keeps you out of a ditch at 90 mph, then maybe.... I basically keep ESC on while on the street and if I'm on the track or a slalom, off it goes. Just my opinion, but I think learning high performance driving - like at Bondurant's school - should be done with out it so you understand what throttle steer, oversteer, understeer, etc. are. But I have found on at least two occasions that ESC on the street can save your neck (read, "my neck")and a few bucks of fender work.
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    Right. In Europe the take rate is far higher, but in the US, buyers tend to not really understand what ESC is, or what it can do for them, and pass on it when ordering. Dealers typically don't order it since it only shows a higher sticker price and the salesmen often don't know what it is anyhow. But the Europeans are more into "driver's cars" and have bought in to it.
  • tp1tp1 Posts: 1
    I'm not sure how much I should think about ESC as I purchase a new moderately priced sedan this year. My skills are pretty good and I just want to get from A to B like everybody else. Is this really for SUVs? Why doesn't the Accord offer it, I wonder...
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,876
    It is really a shame that not even the top-line Accord offers ESC. The Camry does. ESC is not just for SUVs--the first car to be equipped with ESC in the United States was the Mercedes S-class, around 1996. I believe the most recent statistics from NHTSA indicate that single-vehicle accidents were reduced by 35% for ESC-equipped cars, and 67% for SUVs. So the benefit is greater for SUVs, but still substantial for any vehicle.

    Right now, it is still not available on many mass-market cars like the Civic, Accord, Mazda6, Mazda3, Cobalt, etc... Advanced safety features like ESC typically appear on the most expensive cars first and "trickle down" to the less expensive cars after several years. We're in the middle of the trickling down, so although many cars offer it as an option, the actual absorption rate is around 20% of all new vehicles sold.

    Whether or not you want it is a personal choice. It may make the car easier to sell in 3/5/7 years when a majority of new cars have ESC. I am determined that my next vehicle will have ESC, which eliminates a lot of inexpensive vehicles I would otherwise consider (the Mazda sedans, the Scion tC).
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    The thing about ESC is that it's something you never want to have a need for, just like air bags. And as for the SUV question, it got to SUVs because of the Explorer roll over problem. In the EU it got to small cars after going onto the large sedans, which need it least. The A Class Mercedes got it after rolling in a press demo and that pushed VW to put it on everything over there. Personally I think it is most necessary on small short wheel base vehicles and the then mid-sized sedans.
    Randy
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    "In Europe the take rate is far higher, but in the US, buyers tend to not really understand what ESC is ... "

    How true, I'm no wrench, never did much with cars beyond change the oil back when that was what I could afford to do, saving a few bucks. But, I'm amazed how many I talk to who don't really get what it does and how quick companies like GM killed ads when the audience didn't get it quickly. The US consumer is really not showing me much with their slow adoption rate. And, of those that don't understand it is even more surprising that many think they know but don't have much of a concept beyond traction control.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    The A-Class failed the "elk test" (elk steps out, car has to dodge, forgot the speed details). It was highly publicized in Europe, along with how the A-Class passed the test after ESC was installed.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,876
    I think SUV's probably need it most due to the rollover issue, followed by short wheelbase cars... I could expand on your definition of "the US consumer," but it would probably go way, way off-topic. In brief, I don't think the consumers here are as educated about the products they buy as are consumers in Europe.
  • shiphroshiphro Posts: 62
    Seminole_Kev
    "When the weather is bad I drive within the limits of my vehicle and have enough skill to counteract issues like that. To me that is actually a fun part of driving and I'd hate to cut that out. Especially when it would cost me a good chunk of my own money to do it."

    I'm pretty good at keeping my car shiny-side up, but ESC is a better driver than I am. In fact, ESC does things that Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher simply cannot do.

    ESC will activate ABS on a single wheel, causing the vehicle to pivot around that point. Reaction times are measured in thousandths of a second. No driver in the world can exert that kind of control because no driver in the world has a brake pedal for a single wheel and no driver in the world has those kinds of reaction times.

    On a sheet of ice, ESC will manage traction as effectively as possible. More importantly, when your outside front wheel hits a manhole-sized patch of ice during a turn, ESC will manage traction to keep you inline and on road. The whole process will be over before you realize you've hit the ice. You might not even notice.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    it's a wonder I can even back out of my driveway.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    While that was a rather sarcastic remark by me, I will say this:

    I understand that the ESC can do the recovery better, faster, stronger than me.

    I understand that I could hire Colin McCrae or Carlos Sainz to drive me and that would be better than I could do.

    I understand that a fully automated "car of the future" that drove itself could do better than I could.

    The point is, I honestly like the act of driving. I enjoy shifting my own gears and interaction of the vehicle. Even the act of recovering a vehicle in snow or ice.

    Lest I sound like I'm "back in my day!" anti-technology, I'm not. I like ABS and don't mind traction control (provided I can turn it fully off) but the level of a)cost (both upfront and down the road) and b)the level of interference
    is something I do not want.

    I understand the system can do it better than I can, but I can still do the job adequetly enough to still get the job done AND enjoy doing it.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,803
    Well.. ESC is basically a combination of traction control and ABS..

    And, you can turn it off, or at least down to a level that won't intrude on 99.9% of your driving...

    So, what are you afraid of?

    The best handling cars in the world come with ESC....

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  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    sigh. I was afraid of that.

    I don't think you get the point.

    Why pay good money to give up something that I like to do?

    By the way, when I test drove the Chrysler 300C awhile back, with the system "off" you could still tell the system was interfering on a good tight turn. Disconcerting to say the least when a system starts to "fight you". I'm not sure how else to explain it.

    (trying to draw a comparison) I love working on cars. I could pay someone good money to do it (and probably better) but why if it is what I like to do?

    *and lest I'm not clear: I'm not "anti-stability control", just that I do not personally want it, if that makes any sense. I'm sure it can be very useful to a ride range of vehicles and drivers. Not trying to sound smug at all, just that it is something that I don't want, not that I think I'm better than it.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,876
    The only ESC system I'm very familiar with is the one used in the BMW 3-series, and it's not as invasive as you describe on tight turns (if the pavement is dry).
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I get your point but consider this: ninety-nine plus something percent of the time your skill is going to get you out of any trouble, but for that one in a million where you have family involved and only the system will save you, do you not want to have the system? The debate about having skills adequate to be able to ignore the system is not in my view the real point. The real point is that a very real accident may occur, unavoidable with human skill, that the system might miss that makes me wish not only to have the system but for the other guy to have it as well. Now, it's a real cost with low probablilty so the benefit is small, sort of like insurance, of which I carry some.
    Randy
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    The DC group has done a lot with the Mercedes line but very little here so as with any early introduction the system is usually set at a pretty low threshold. Even the '98 Corvette had a much more intrusive system than I have on an '02. Toyota got better at it after the initial Sequoia's got bad reviews. It is not something that is going to be perfect overnight.
  • shiphroshiphro Posts: 62
    Quotes (>>) from Seminole_Kev

    >>Why pay good money to give up something that I like to do?

    In my car, and many others, stability control (ESC) is standard. If I bought this model... I was getting ESC.

    >>By the way, when I test drove the Chrysler 300C awhile back, with the system "off" you could still tell the system was interfering on a good tight turn. Disconcerting to say the least when a system starts to "fight you". I'm not sure how else to explain it.
    >>

    That's bad design, pure and simple. If a system is off, it should be off... obviously. I wonder if it was something in the transmission 'kicking back' under tight turning radius (I've had to fight off the VLSD in my old Nissan SE-R). Maybe Chrysler just doesn't trust you to drive your own car?

    >>*and lest I'm not clear: I'm not "anti-stability control", just that I do not personally want it, if that makes any sense. I'm sure it can be very useful to a ride range of vehicles and drivers. Not trying to sound smug at all, just that it is something that I don't want, not that I think I'm better than it.
    >>

    Any driver can hit a patch of ice and get sideways. A good driver will recover quickly... but not as quickly as ESC. If I'm on the same road headed in the opposite direction, I'd rather have your car 'drive for you' (for a split second) than have you sideswipe me mid-recovery.

    Personally, I also love getting sideways. Whenever it snows I make sure to find an empty parking lot or access road, turn off ESC, and go nuts. But I turn it back on before I get back on the road.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 33,711
    always. I recall reading that the "off" button notches back the intrusion, but will still kick in at some point.

    I think MB has a way to override that (some kind of diagnostic mode or something), but they don't make it easy to find. Also a good way to scare the Wee out of you on an AMG.

    I think BMW does it right. It will step in when you really have (or are in the process of) lost it, but otherwise you don't know it's there.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • shiphroshiphro Posts: 62
    Well that would piss me 'off'.

    I wouldn't want to buy a car that had always-on ESC (and I've said so earlier in this thread). When I turn it off, I can (and have) get sideways and even backwards.

    I don't know about other manufacturers, but in VWs, no means no.
  • neil733neil733 Posts: 9
    I think you've hit one of the reasons take-up is much higher here in Europe than in the US withour realising it. We don't tend to buy cars from stock, particularly the premium products that first tintroduced ESP. We order them from the dealer, who passes the order to the factory, which then builds the car. Therefore, the dealer is not paying for an-ESP optioned car for stock, he's already got a deposit on it. Its in his interest to get the customer to add high-priced options such as ESP, so he gets higher commision. My guess is a European dealer will try to sell you a car with ESP, whereas a US dealer will try to talk you out of it because he's got a dozen in stock without it.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0504/12/C01-147652.htm

    Also I'd have to agree that dealers in the US are part of the problem in that the
    marketing managers want to order what they think customers want and will pay
    for and then leave it on the floor until somebody buys it. Even though they have
    to discount it since it sat so long before it was bought. I once got a Suburban
    that had been on the lot for 13 months and got it well discounted. It lasted 10
    years and over 160k miles, so I got my money's worth. With safety items I think
    finding a dealer that will order what you want is key to getting what you need.
    Randy
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,876
    As a buyer, I don't want to be forced into ordering a car because there's not a single one in my state with the optional safety equipment (that was the case with side airbags on the Camry and Altima in late 2003). That's why I'm more inclined to look at cars that include ESP as standard equipment. The ones where it is optional and actually available on dealer lots (Chrysler 300) I will consider, but those where it's almost impossible to find (Maxima, I think) I won't even consider.
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    Let’s not be too hard on the Infineon – ‘Vette driver. I think we’ve all gotten in the corner a little deep on occasion. And it sounds like he learned a lesson. In his case, maybe keeping the ESC engaged on the track is a good idea, but not for everyone. On the street it’s a no-brainer – keep it on. On the track, I prefer it off, but then you have to know more about your personal limits and how to handle the corners. There’s nothing more satisfying than hitting the apex in a full four-wheel drift and coming out under full throttle. But it you over shoot it, keeping the ESC off can be costly.
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    I know what you mean. Even if a new safety item is a good idea, it always takes a while to get them on the lots. ESC was an option forever, and not it is finally showing up on more cars on the lots and even some as standard now. The price always comes down as volume goes up – like computers.
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    You’re right on that account! ESC will save even the idiots a good deal of the time, but for those that think they can now get away with total dumb driving, well, nothing is going to save them. But then I’m more worried about the innocent driver that gets hit by this guy.
  • ontrack1ontrack1 Posts: 13
    I did the “moose course” too – amazing demo…
  • boxster1boxster1 Posts: 18
    …..Which is precisely why I DO like having ESC. I love driving hard and really like being able to turn ESC off when I want to really focus and play with throttle oversteer. But when I’m just driving, or on a trip (95 percent of the time), the ESC is there to help me stay on the pavement. It can be a really good thing and doesn’t have to hamper a little throttle steer when you want it.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I don't think anyone was being too hard on me, as to driving with it off, I hear it all the time. But, I'm not alone out there with the system available. Although I'm finding that there are many approaches to the system at the track. I took several classes, some in Vette's with the system and some in open wheel cars with no system, I did spin. Because of those classes I try to drive without engaging the system, staying smooth is the key. OTOH, I came across my first case of someone who pushed the system as far as they thought it could go and didn't see any issue, I wish them luck. Having a later model system that let's it hang out more seems to be the key, my 2002 does good, but the 2004 system and even the 2005 seem to allow for more leeway. Sounds like the boxster has some ability to throttle oversteer with the system on as well, sign of a well done system.
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