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Old 12-29-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
fdryer
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,317
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 1998 saturn sc2 ...ABS light stays on

1-Its not a "common" problem for any car to have ABS failure. If your brakes work then its safe to continue driving. If you are concerned, remove the ABS fuse; the light should turn OFF - you already lost ABS function and the fuse simply removes power to the ABS electronics that turned on the indicator. You have time to determine how to handle this problem. Removing the ABS fuse does not disable brakes, period.

2-When the ABS light turns on and stays ON it means ABS has detected a fault and automatically disables ABS. This does not mean brake failure. Since you haven't crashed or noticed anything unusual with braking other than the idiot light staying ON, you verified your brakes are operating as designed as they always did before ABS was invented and became a standard with most cars. ABS remains invisible to everyday braking. You'll never need ABS except in emergency stopping from speeding well above the conditions necessary for safe stopping. And even when ABS is activated, it may not prevent the avoidable crash.

3-The usual issues with ABS failure are about external wiring to each wheel, damaged wheel reluctors (toothed rings), damaged sensors and broken/bent brackets. The DIY approach to troubleshooting would be crawling under the car to physically examine components. The ABS motor/electronics is well mounted in the engine area and last on the list to check. An ABS reader can tell which wheel is affected and point in the direction of failure.

Almost every driving situation will never require ABS activation. Speeding that results in sliding, lost traction, skidding with or without brakes or locking up brakes are situations when ABS intervenes and takes over braking duties to prevent a wheel from locking up also results in longer stopping distances unknown to those assuming their ABS enhanced brakes will stop in a shorter distance than regular brakes. All these yahoos find out is the expensive crash damage resulting in ignorance from unfamiliarity with situations when ABS is enabled. Speeding and closing in on another car is reducing the distance between cars when ABS is activated. This doesn't mean ABS will stop any better than regular braking, it just avoids the skidding that would occur. While ABS prevents wheel lock up, it can't do anything about closing speeds between the car out in front and the driver foolishly assuming ABS will stop before crashing into it. The videos demonstrating how much less distance ABS braking uses compared to non ABS brakes are all done in 1)dry conditions and 2)without another moving vehicle in front of the car with ABS that braked before the car with ABS reacted to braking. This little unknown fact was never fully revealed unless it was buried in all the discussions/forums and not brought up from the insurance industry. A presentation from an impartial news organization or science channel exploring the real world of driving would easily demonstrate the benefit/drawback of ABS and when its effective. It does not excuse anyone from learning how to drive safely and determine what speed is safe for the conditions to stop safely and never use the excuse that ABS will remove the responsibility of safely braking at speed.
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