Toyota Previa brake question

I have a 1992 Toyota Previa. It has AWD. Still running great after over 200,000 miles. Brakes are fine 99% of the time. When the roads are slippery and I apply the brakes, it feels like there are none. This happens on straight driving, going down incline, not on turns. Holding down the breaks does not help. Pumping seems to be better, but it is still scary. I have been lucky, as I have had to drive through stop signs before the brakes grab again. This is not a new problem. Any thoughts?

One more thing I forgot to add…there is a “groaning” sound when this happens.

It sounds like the ABS is kicking in, and the situation may be completely normal (assuming you have ABS, of course; the “groaning” leads me to believe that you do). The system is just preventing you from locking the brakes so you have steering control. You are simply trying to out-brake the capabilities of your tires.

Thanks for your response. Yes I do have ABS. It has happened no matter what tires I have had on the car. The present tires have have approx. 5,000 miles on them and they are hydroplane style. This has happened with other tires on this car over the years. Sorry if I sound thick, but if the tires are losing traction on the road, and the ABS is kicking in, why won’t the car stop? I have driven other cars with ABS and they do not do this, so I am confused. I am also concerned because I am lending the car to my daughter-in-law, and this just happened to her.

Hello, do you have the ABS light on ? When was the last time your brakes were serviced ( checked all rotors, calipers and changed brake fluid - bleed all old fluid out ) ? When this happens, do you feel the pedal pulsating ( the brakes should apply to the point of locking - that info is sent by sensors to the ABS computer) ?
Did you ever had and accident with this ? For how long you have this car and was it always like this ? It sounds like you have a hydraulic problem when the abs pump is on. You should take it to a repair facility, specially with the snow and ice coming, if you live here in the USA. Not worth to risk your life.
Thank you for your reply.

ABS light is not on. The breaks were last done 1.5 years ago. The calipers were replaced at that time. I will check if the break fluid was bled out. The pedal feels like it locks, they do not pulsate when this happens. I am the original owner and have never had an accident with the car at all. I am embarrassed to admit it has been like this for a while, certainly prior to the most recent work on the breaks. It happens so infrequently that I have been negligent to follow-up. We live in the northeast, and with the most recent weather I am very concerned. Thanks so much for your response.

i just came in from shoveling snow, and now its turning to sleet, great. where is the Caribbean cruise when you need it?

any way. it sounds to me that you have an improperly bled brake system. yes you HAVE gotten away with it for a while, but it needs to be bled to get the mush (which is most likely air) out of the system.

personally i would take it somewhere and have the brake fluid changed while it is being bled. it is not hard, and takes almost no extra time, while the system is being bled (properly.)

just curious where did you have the previous brake job done? dealer, local mechanic, discount chain or quickie chain?

We live in Northern NJ, so I feel your pain regarding the snow/sleet…
To answer your question, we always go to our local mechanic. Perhaps we should make a change?