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ABS Reliability and Repair Costs



  • gisomgisom Posts: 144
    95 Olds Aurora light popped on because of spare.
  • I have noted the trend because I have read many posts on-line. I have studied the NHTSA owner complaint database for many makes and models. Having owned several different makes over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to see the similarities in the ABS. I note premature failure in the HONDA and the CHRYSLER.

    I am reading many, many posts about GM vehicles and ABS failures. In addition, I have recently seen evidence that the Toyota ABS (particularly the Camry) has problems, too. One cannot help see a trend, especially in the ABS of the early to mid 90's.

    It is my feeling that owners have been misguided about ABS. We have spent thousands more for it only to have to spend thousands within a few years repairing it!! Not only that, the automakers claim that there is no connection with the regular braking system. BUT...many owners have had little braking pressure when they experience an internal leak in the hydraulic assembly (a.k.a. accumulator). The result is an unsafe vehicle.

    It is my feeling, based on hours of researching the matter and having experienced the problem first hand, that owners should be questioning the automakers and the vendors of the ABS. The NHTSA needs to get involved to determine WHY so many of these systems are failing prematurely and why the exorbitant repair costs are being passed on to the consumer.

    BENDIX and CHRYSLER knew about the problems in their systems for years but kept it hidden from consumers. I believe it continues to happen with all auto makes and other ABS vendors.

    Charlene Blake
  • boagboag Posts: 14
    one thing that you need to do with ABS is replace the brake fluid every couple of years. Some manuals note this, some don't. I don't like ABS, mainly from the maintance and increased stopping distance required. Unfortunately have twos cars with it and am trying to muddle through.
  • There does not seem to be a board for general brakes questiona and comments, but maybe the people familiar with ABS can tackle a general brakes question. I travel a lot for work and rent cars in various cities. Regardless of the manufacturer or model, the brakes on rental cars are nearly always much more sensitive than cars I have owned or test driven. I have been looking at the Sante Fe, but I find the brakes kind of dull and spongy even though they do stop the car. Does anyone out there know what rental car agencies do to make their brakes so sensitive? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
  • Abs is good on slick conditions but that is not when most driving occurs. In dry conditions it can lenghten the stoppping distance from 17 to 70% especially in a brake and turn situation. Remember sometimes it is best to stop as fast as possible and abs does not help with that. A recent study showed NO difference in the accident rate in cars with and without abs. The theory is that the conditions that abs helps are rare.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    would you care to post a link to said *studies* that back up your claims of 17-70% (!) increased stopping distance?

    the *only* conditions that i've seen in studies where abs *possibly* increases stopping distance is on gravelly roads... and that's only slightly....

    you *will* stop faster with your wheels rolling than with them locked and sliding...

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I found this interesting quote in a NHTSA report: "as long as the brake pedal force remained high enough to keep the ABS activated for the duration of the stop, then the ABS would keep the vehicle at its optimal level of braking". The amount of anecdotal misinformation and heresay floating around re ABS systems in absolutely incredible. It might be of some benefit to visit the following sites:

    ABS clearly results in shorter stopping distances under all but ideal conditions with professional drivers, or on loose surfaces, AND allows the driver to maintain steering control. It will maintain the desirable braking/steerability tire slip ratio of 15-20% on all surfaces including split coefficients, on which no driver can modulate individual wheel brake pressure.

    I will agree with Mr. Farmer re no reduction in accidents, but he failed to mention that the same reports attribute this primarily to more aggressive driving.
  • I've had ABS equipped vehicles since 1991 and they definitely make driving safer. Our streets are snow and ice covered half the time and mine get a workout all winter long. So far I've had absolutely no problems with any of my vehicles. I believe the biggest problem with ABS is that way too many people don't know how to properly brake an ABS equipped vehicle.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I concur. "Driver perception" is addressed by all domestic manufacturers in their ABS tech training materials. Re system failures, flushing the hydraulic system every 2-3 years to remove moisture contaminated fluid goes a long way toward ensuring long term reliability of the hydraulic pressure modulator (the expensive bit). I'll bet your ABS system gets a workout in Anchorage.
  • ayratayrat Posts: 26
    Let Me ask you one thing: in conditions when you apply the break pedal and ABS is engaged, does ABS only provide modulated anti-pressure to prevent locking, or it is also provides positive pressure along with your foot stepped on pedal?

    During the break test at inspection station (normal conditions, no ABS engaged)it was found that breaks on my Pont Bonneville'92 are working only on Left front and rear Right wheels( though still providing sufficient deceleration).
    I'm trying to understand if it could be somehow related to ABS or is just a regular breaks problem. My breaks are having a "low pedal" syndrome, but at the moment when ABS is engaged pedal stays high while vibrating till car stops. Sometimes after that the "low pedal" syndrome disappears for short time, but it happens very intermittently.
    This days everything is covered with snow here so I had a chance to see ABS in work (though i do not know if the car still stops with only those two wheels).

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Your post was addressed in "Pontiac Bonneville Problems".
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    << The theory is that the conditions that abs helps are rare. >>

    But when those conditions do exist, it saves thousands of dollars in body repairs.

    I read in Car and Driver several years ago that most insurance companies stopped giving discounts for ABS because studies had shown that they didn't help reduce accidents. However, if someone backed into a ABS equipped parked car, those studies included ABS in the accident data thus "proving" that ABS did nothing to prevent the accident.

    The only problem with ABS is that a large number of drivers seem to think that ABS stands for "Automatic Braking System", and that somehow it will reduce the 70-0 stopping distances. Driving in ice/snow/mud/wet roads, I can attest that ABS really DOES work as advertised. A couple of months after I bought my 1993 T-bird (which I paid extra for the ABS) someone changed lanes in front of me, then hit the brakes hard on a road that was slick with rain. I hit my brakes hard, and could feel the ABS pulse in the pedal, yet I steered around the idiot, maintaining control over the vehicle the whole time. I paid extra for it then, and I'd pay extra again, although they were standard on my current car.
  • I will not pay some $1500-3000 to fix the ABS system if mine ever goes bad. As long as I have regular brakes, I will drive the car and disconnect the light that tells me I have ABS system problem.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    some people buy 20 dollar motorcycle helmets too...

  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    It funny that you said that. I have a Honda VRF-750 motorcycle. My helmet cost $130. I used the same analogy when I bough my son's hockey shoulder pads. the choices were $20, $40, and $80. I said to my self, what is more important; the $ or the protection he will getting when he is checking or being checked against the boards.
    I bought him the $80 shoulder pads.

    I feel ABS Brakes are not in the same league. If the car with ABS has ABS module problem and costs $2000 to replace it, BUT the regular brake works, why spend the money. Five-ten years ago, we did not have the ABS barbrakesnd we did fine.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    unless you are one hellaciously bad bike rider (in which case, you wouldn't be around to post), you are gonna use your abs a heckuva lot more than you use your helmet...

    and, you agree on the helmet...

  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    Whether you think ABS helps, works or not. It is here to stay.As Alcan said,anytime the wheels slip, whether under lockup or slipping on ice,the braking distance increases.

    AS for the helmets, my sons race 4 wheelers and their helmets were $250 each.Add anothr $150 for chest protectors, more for boots,kneepads,gloves, jerseys and pants and you are around $1000 each for riding gear,all to protect them.Is there really a price tag on safety?
  • I am buying my 17 yr old son a used car with a $10,000 limit. I can get a 1997 Sunfire (50k) with ABS, a 1995 Integra with 75k mi with ABS or a toyota celica , 1995, 80k mi (no ABS) for the money. If I can't get the integra, do I go for the reliability of the toyota or the safety of the pontiac with ABS? This car has to last through college. Please help. Also what do you think about a one owner 1998 camry Le with 87k mi?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It's the largest and newest; it does quite well in crash tests. And ABS is standard on the '98 LE. If it's been properly maintained, it should be very reliable.

    The last car I'd take is the Sunfire -- poor reliability and poor frontal offset crash test results.
  • plc44plc44 Posts: 1
    My 1996 GMC Jimmy with 45,000 miles ABS light stays on, the diagostic discovered problem in modulator or the brains of ABS and repairs are
    not possible...So i would like to know why the
    cost of replacement of $1200. is for a rebuilt
    ABS Brain box? I decided not to get ABS fixed
    for now. What will it take to get the manufacurer
    to cover this safety sensitive problem?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The pressure modulator is not the "brains" of the system. It's a series of electrically operated solenoids which control pressure to the brake assemblies. It receives signals from the control module, the "brains". What diagnostic trouble codes were retrieved? By the way, you HAVE had the hydraulic system flushed every 3 years to rid the system of the moisture-contaminated brake fluid that causes corrosion and failure of pressure modulator components, right?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    As you know, I'm sold on the importance of brake fluid changes. But why do so many of the car companies not recommend changing it in their maintenance schedules?

    Most if not all of the European makes require it, but only some of the Japanese do (Honda yes, Toyota no, for example), and NONE of the domestics call for it.

    Why is this?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I know. I've just gone through the owner's manual for one of my my cars and nowhere does it mention brake fluid changes or the effects of moisture contamination. In the factory manual however, I found this:

    - Always store brake fluid in a closed container. Re-seal containers immediately after use. Do not use brake fluid left in an open or improperly sealed container because it absorbs moisture or can become contaminated.

    Flushing the System
    - Flushing is essential if there is water, mineral oil, or other contaminants in the system....etc, etc.

    What it DOESN'T mention is that there will be water in the system and the concentration can increaase up to 2-3% annually. Go figure.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    You purchase a car with a warranty 36k, 50k, or 60k you are given an opportunity to purchase a extended service insurance policy up to 100k.
    Why would a manufacturer worry about what happens afterwards? Most new buyers trade after a few years before whatever warranty they decided is up!
    What responsibility does the OEM have on a used second hand car.......there is a massive amount of maintenance info available to those who search it out.
    Generally the problem has been exerbated by the Marketing departments trend to talk about 100,000 miles and the extremely small print concerning maintenance.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    With the exception of my 1984 T-Bird Turbo beater, every car I've owned since 1988 has had ABS. I have never had an ABS component fail. All of the cars were German except for a Nissan Pathfinder SE and a Volvo 740 Turbo. One vehicle hit 290,000 miles with no ABS problems while anothe has gone 123,000 without seeing the ABS light.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had a '90 Mercury Sable with ABS, the first year it was available on this car. I had all the usual Taurus/Sable troubles over the 10 years and 135K that I owned it, but no ABS problems at all. (No head gasket problems either; luckily I had the 3.0-liter V6.)
This discussion has been closed.