Disabling ABS

Is there any way to temporarily disable the ABS on a 2009 Accord similar to the way the VSA can be shut off? Cars I've rented in the past (although
perhaps older) have had a switch to shut off the ABS but I can't find anything similar on the Honda. Perhaps I'm kidding myself, but the Accord seems to take an unusually long time to stop on snow and ice. I'd like to see the change without ABS.
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On 3/1/2010 6:19 AM, Erehwon wrote:

Not sure what country you're in but I'm pretty sure that you were never given the option of disabling the ABS on any car fitted for the American market. I've never seen that "feature" on any US ride that I've driven or owned and I've been driving long enough to have read "Coming in the future, a system to prevent skidding in cars" in Popular Mechanic, and for you real old timers.. Mechanix Illustrated<g>
Without putting on my coat and going outside to check one of several owner's manuals for my current fleet, the only two suggestions I have are...
1. Take a look at the fuse block and see if there is a fuse specifically for the ABS system.
2. DON'T remove it to try this. However, if you feel you must, practice what the automotive advertising agencies do. Practice on a closed loop track not on the public roads.
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On 03/01/2010 04:19 AM, Erehwon wrote:

"experiment" with the abs fuse.

no, that is correct. abs stops you skidding - it's a popular misconception that you stop quicker. you'll see a disclaimer to the effect in the owners manual.

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Good point. The purpose of ABS is to help the car maintain control during panic stops, not necessarily to help the car stop more quickly. In many instances, you may stop more quickly without it, but you may also skid off the road because you can't steer.
Dan D '07 Ody EX Central NJ USA
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ABS on ice and gravel and stuff like that is definitely NOT what it's cracked up to be. People tend to take more chances, knowing that they've got ABS, then they wonder why the car takes forever to come to a stop and they end up rear-ending somebody, or landing in the ditch.
There is a tool for use in the prevention of skidding off the road because you can't steer. It's called the "brain". Each human being comes from the factory with one of those. Due to manufacturing tolerances, some are more precisely finished than others, but all of them are functional to some degree.
Rather than ABS, I prefer the use of the "brain", and other OEM human features like "caution", "self-preservation", and "intelligence".
--
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"Tegger" wrote

This has been my first winter driving on snow in 35 years. Even the initial coating from a developing snowstorm sent me sliding. I did not know what to expect. Scared to death, I knew to just slow down at least so that I wouldn't have to use the brakes so much. When I did have to brake, it was slowly and gently. ABS didn't help one bit, and it activated much sooner than it ever did when driving on dry pavement. So I prefer the good ol' controlled-driving method.
My 2004 Accord sedan of course doesn't have the newer electronic stability what's-it-called, and I debated whether or not to buy a set of snow tires, but I declined... this year.
Howard in upstate NY
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On 3/2/2010 9:00 AM, Howard Lester wrote:

Fear can be a good thing in unfamiliar territory, Howard. Like Tegger says, the brain is the most important component in driving.
That said, you have to understand that the ABS system is designed to keep the wheels rotating no matter how hard you press down on the brakes while retarding (braking) the wheels rotation. It basically wants to "lock up" the wheel and then back off just enough so that it will continue to rotate slightly.
Rotating wheel can be controlled. Locked wheel is like a snow disk or saucer (remember those?), it goes wherever it damn well pleases depending upon the resistance it meets. It couldn't care less where YOU want it to go.
Since the coefficient of friction on ice and snow is so much less, even slight pressure on the brake will bring the ABS system into play much more quickly than on dry or even wet pavement. All that means is the system is working as designed.
Try this: Next time you have some decent (if there is such a thing) snowfall, find yourself a nice clear parking lot with lots of room and no cars. Run it up to 15-20 m/h and stand on the brake pedal, feel the ABS kick in and stay in, and steer the car where YOU want it to go.
Now, find the fuse or relay for the ABS system and pull it and repeat the experiment.
I think you'll put the fuse/relay back in place and marvel at the advent of ABS.
ABS takes some getting used to. There's no doubt about it. This would be especially true in your case since you haven't driven on snow/ice in 35 years and, probably, have been fortunate enough and attentive enough to have ever stood on the brakes on dry or wet pavement.
When ABS was being integrated into the US car lines, there were a LOT of very serious crashes in the law enforcement community - not just in snow and ice but dry pavement as well. Many of us "old dogs" had been trained to USE a skidding car (ours) to advantage in certain maneuvers. Lack of transitional training, reliance on old tricks that no longer work with ABS in place, were a recipe for disaster.
That's no longer the case.

FWD with or without the stability control is the cat's ass in snow. New snow tires probably won't make much difference in your driving experience as far as braking goes, but could do wonders for your acceleration off the line. I notice one heck of a difference in deep snow between my '06 Accord (kinda sucky) and my wife's '05 Odyssey Touring (might as well be AWD) but really, that's only in accelerating and going through unplowed streets, etc. Stopping? Same old, same old no matter which one I'm driving.
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IMO, good snow tires make a difference stopping, as well. When I switched from the All seasons to the snows on my '06 Civic Si, I was astounded at the difference. Buffalo winters give plenty of opportunities to test it... ;-)
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"Joe" wrote

Thanks, both of you, for your encouragement. I did see a video of a car being tested on ice with and without "winter" tires. The winter tires definitely appeared to help the car as it went around a curve. I know ice is not the same as snow! I understand better now why ABS comes on much quicker on ice and snow, but as mentioned, the car goes wherever it wants regardless. It was while going around curves that my car was sliding, and the only way I could control that was to drive especially slow around curves. I was even more afraid of not making it up hills, but I did.
If I decide to keep the car for another 3 or 4 years or so, I'll see about getting a set of 4 on their own steel wheels. I know tirerack has good deals on mounted tires, though I forget whether or not the shipping charges are outrageous or reasonable.
Anyway, I apologize for helping hijack the original thread.
Howard
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On 3/3/2010 9:06 AM, Howard Lester wrote:

Nothing is perfect but I maintain that you DO have more control (though not absolute, obviously) with ABS on snow, ice, etc.
It was while going around curves that my car was sliding, and

That's where the brain - the one in your head - comes to the fore. It works. Yeah, getting up hills can be a problem. FWD much better than RWD and AWD is best. That said, you can still find yourself up the creek under the right/wrong conditions with any of them. Nothing is perfect.

Bought a set of all season tires from them about 13 months ago. Shipping charges were reasonable in my estimation, price was excellent, and delivery was very fast and I chose standard delivery.
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Also look at discounttiredirect.com. In my experience, they are a little cheaper than tirerack.com for the same products, and they have free shipping. I have bought from both, and the only real advantage to tirerack is their website (being able to see new rims on your car).
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Of course it did. It activates as soon as your wheels lock up. That's the point. It will ALWAYS activate quicker on wet, icy or loose pavement much faster than it would on dry pavement.
First, buy a set of Blizzak's for the winter. They will grip in the snow much better. Then, take the car to a big empty parking lot, and beat the hell out of it until the braking becomes second-nature. It really is nice once you're used to it, IMO. It provides much better control when braking on icy roads.
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wrote:

Huh.
I did not know this.
Even on my own street, coming around a wet corner and braking moderately, I've had the ABS surprise me by coming on just for a couple of ticks and I wondered if it was helping or hurting my stopping distance, but I had faith (cue the angel music) that it was helping.
Boogers.
I mean, seriously, boogers.
If it doesn't help reduce distance in all situations, then ... well, um, I dunno ... shit, I guess. There goes my faith in technology. Can I get a land anchor for real emergency situations?
J.
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I was once told that pulling the hand brake up one notch ("and one ping only") would disengage it. This when I ax'ed my 96 Civic and we would occasionally trade cars.

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On 3/1/10 6:19 AM, in article hmgbc3$226p$ snipped-for-privacy@adenine.netfront.net, "Erehwon"

I've never seen a car of any make that provided a switch to turn off ABS. What make was that?
I agree with you about ABS on ice & snow. It is decidedly worse. Long slow stops gentle enough to keep the ABS from engaging are pretty much the only way you can make it stop.
To disable ABS on a Honda, just pull the fuse. The ABS warning light will stay on & you will have normal braking. Since VSA also depends on ABS in its implementation, it will likely be disabled as well.
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Erehwon wrote:

Seems to me you need winter tires. My 2004 Civic stops well enough in snow with ABS and winter tires.
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Perhaps I'm mistaken about having a "feature" to disable ABS on rental cars I've used. That was my recollection but, since the rentals were generally in the summer, there wouldn't have been a need to disable. After 40+ years of driving without ABS, however, I've had my share of slips, slides, and skids, and still felt more comfortable without ABS than I do now. To each their own, I guess. It's nice to have the steering control so I can choose between the ditch, the oncoming lane, or the car in front of me but I'd prefer to be able to stop a bit more quickly and avoid all three. I imagine winter tires could be an option, although I've never used them in the past. Anyway, just a curiosity item. I actually thought the VSA/ABS would be a good idea for winter driving and bought the Honda because none of the local Toyota dealers had any Camry's on the lot with Toyota's (optional) equivalent of VSA. Of course I hear that Toyotas have their own issues with stopping . . .
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On 3/1/2010 8:46 PM, Erehwon wrote:

AFAIK, you'll not find a car sold in America (other than vintage) that is not ABS equipped with ABS. VSA (electronic posi-traction) is selectable and not available on all cars (AFAIK) but they are two separate animals.
In a panic stop mode, even with ABS, you retain control and steering. A locked wheel skids and with a resultant loss of steering. A rolling wheel gathers no moss and it also allows for continued maneuvering.
Universal introduction of ABS messed up a number of things in my life. Former law enforcement, it removed a number of high speed/low speed maneuvering options from my somewhat limited repertoire of "Hey, watch this!"<g> and also made crash reconstruction more difficult and time consuming since we rarely had tire marks to use for the calculation of minimum speeds. That said, I still swear by FWD and ABS (both messed up my stunt driving<g>) but I like them regardless.
Only car I have with RWD is my Corvette. After all, I'm not a fanatic about FWD<g>
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snip

snip
Electronic stability control From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, ESC automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to individual wheels, such as the outer front wheel to counter oversteer, or the inner rear wheel to counter understeer. Some ESC systems also reduce engine power until control is regained.[1] Electronic stability control does not improve a vehicle's cornering performance; rather it helps to minimize a loss of control. In the United States, NHTSA estimates 5,300-9,600 traffic fatalities could be avoided if all passenger vehicles were equipped with the feature.[2] According to the IIHS one-third of fatal accidents could be prevented by the technology. [3]
By 2012 all cars sold in the USA MUST have ESC. Most have ESC today. And there's no switch to turn it off as there is in your (and my 2003) Corvette.
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Although the brakes will still work if you disable the ABS (for instance by pulling the fuse), you will not have the equivalent of a proerly designed non-ABS system. Most vehicles with ABS use the ABS to provide proper balancing of the braking force between the front and rear. Vehicles without ABS either include a mechanical proportioning valve, or size the brakes to provide proper front to rear brake balance. Since ABS equipped vehicles usually use the ABS to provide the front to rear brake balance, if you disable the ABS you are more likely to get in a situation where the rear brakes lock first. Cars often spin when the rear brakes lock first. Properly designed non-ABS systems are designed to have the front brakes lock up first. When this happens, the car usually plows straight ahead. Plowing straight ahead is usually preferred (and safer) than spinning.
Ed
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