THE OWNER’S MANUAL INDICATES "The ABS system will not operate when the vehicle speed is below approximately 6 mph (10 km/h). MY DEALER AND THE CUSTOMER SERVICE LINE AT SUBARU TELL ME THIS IS A “SAFETY FEATURE” BUT THEY CANNOT QUANTIFY FOR ME WHAT THIS MEANS!!! CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW THIS CAN BE A SAFETY FEATURE?
I’ll try. ABS is used when you are in basically a “panic stop” mode. It keeps the vehicle from locking the brakes by actually taking away control of the brakes from the driver. It does this by pulsing the brakes and stopping in a more controlled way without skidding. If the system operated at low speeds it might keep you from stopping as soon as you would like. When you are going 6mph you want to stop immediately in some situations. When slowing to a stop you have to go through the “6 mph zone” to reach 0. You don’t want the ABS system to work in that situation either. I can see where this could be considered a safety feature.
ABS major safety feature is to allow you to steer under hard braking conditions. Going 6mph or less hard braking conditions mean near instant stop so pointless to try and activate ABS.
Thanks for you quick response. In icy conditions the car slides all over the place. My GM ABS equipped cars do not slide, they come to a neat straight stop. That is my worry with the Subaru ABS. Thanks again.
ABS is not intended to help you stop in a shorter distance, and in fact, may actually lengthen your stopping distance under some circumstances.
ABS is intended to prevent the brakes from locking under panic braking conditions. On a non-ABS equipped car, locked wheels will not respond to the driver’s steering input–e.g.–the driver attempts to steer around a vehicle, or a deer, or a pedestrian, but because his brakes are locked, the car plows straight ahead when he turns the wheel. By very rapidly applying and releasing the brakes, steering response is near-normal under the same circumstances with ABS.
If someone is driving at very low speeds, ABS is simply not needed and would likely be more of an impediment than an aid.
If the car is “sliding all over the place” in icy conditions, there are only two explanations.
The more likely explanation is that the car has the crappy Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires that Subaru (and some other makers like Lexus) puts on most of their vehicles. These tires are essentially useless in winter driving conditions. I quickly learned to use winter tires during the snowy/icy months and to use those crappy Bridgestones only in Spring, Summer & Fall.
The other possible explanation is that you are driving too fast for the road conditions. AWD provides such improved traction that some drivers–perhaps unconsciously–are attempting to defy the laws of physics.
AWD or not, you still need to drive much more slowly in harsh winter weather conditions.
Sliding on ice means you have poor tire traction not poor ABS. The factory tires (RE92) in winter conditions sadly.