Strange Braking Sensation

brakes
civic
honda

#1

Has anyone else noticed a strange feel to the braking while going over a rough road at city speeds? I notice a strange stiffness to the pedal and a feeling like the brake shoes are grinding through gravel. This happened a few time in going slowly down a wet and inclined driveway.


#2

This sounds a lot like the normal feel when the ABS kicks in. Are you sure it isn’t that?


#3

What you are feeling is the normal and correct activation of your ABS braking system. I’ll bet that your owner’s manual mentions this.
(It is activating because your tires momentarily loose contact with the rough road surface.)


#4

Assuming you have ABS, take it out next time it rains, and hit the brakes fairly hard while going straight with no one behind you–on a nice wet rosd. If you hear the same noise as what you described in your post, then it’s just your ABS system working properly.


#5

Thanks for the info. Yes, I have ABS. In my old 92 Honda Accord the ABS brakes didn’t have the same feel, so I was surprised. So, I won’t worry anymore, though, I did have a hard time getting my car to stop on icey snow in my Civic.


#6

It’s normal and if it is working perfectly the car would have slid sideways without the ABS on snow. I hate the ABS but I also hated the loss of control without it in the old days.


#7

It’s normal and if it is working perfectly the car would have slid sideways without the ABS on snow. I hate the ABS but I also hated the loss of control without it in the old days.

You’re making a common but probably incorrect assumption that ABS is effective in snow and ice. In reality, it appears that ABS works on dry pavement and not quite as well on wet. On the other hand it is known to be iffy on unpaved roads, ice, and snow. Now that the car makers have Electronic Stability Control (ABS on steroids) to tout, you’ll sometimes hear them admit that old fashioned ABS never did work all that well. Which is what the insurance companies told us shortly after ABS was first rolled out and accident data on ABS vs non-ABS vehicles became available.


#8

Thanks, again for all the info. When I had the 92 Accord, the ABS went out and I was happy, because I prefer to control the braking and if the ABS goes out, I think it would be expensive to fix.


#9

"I did have a hard time getting my car to stop on icey snow in my Civic"
ABS will not shorten the distance in ice or snow…keeps you from locking up your brakes. This is a mistake many make…relying on ABS to shorten braking distance.


#10

Exactly.
The purpose of ABS is to allow you to steer the car while the brakes are applied to their maximum.
Under some conditions, ABS will result in longer stopping distances, which is a negative.
However, being able to steer around other vehicles or obstacles while jamming on the brakes is a positive.

The bottom line is that every driver needs to know both the capabilities of his/her car and the limitations of his/her car, and to drive it in light of those capabilities and those limitations. Based on how many young women are now driving VERY aggressively and how many of them are tailgating other cars, you have to wonder whether they are aware of how long a distance it takes to stop their car at highway speeds.


#11

My own experience with ABS is that it’s weaknesses outweigh its benefits. I think Vtcodger described it quite well.

I agree with your point about knowing the car’s capabilities, however I’d wager that very very few drivers discover ABS’ weaknesses until too it’s too late. How can you discover that ABS renders the brakes almost ineffective on washboard terrain unles you regularly drive on washboard terrain? How can one be expected to know the weaknesses of ABS on snowy roads until one is actually ON snowy roads?

My personal opinion is that ABS is highly overrated at best and downright dangerous at worst. I realize that driving environments vary and others may like it for their environments. I just wish I could turn mine off.

I’ll also suggest that the vast majority of drivers (a)drive way too close to other cars and (b)are largely unaware of what’s going on around them. And the problem is getting worse with all the distractions today (cellphones, texting, even TV). If everyone kept a reasonable distance and paid attention accidents would drop dramatically.


#12

No. If it helped to stop the car, I would like it. They don’t work perfectly.