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Depending upon where you Google, ABS stands for automatic braking system, anti-lock braking system, anti-skid braking system, or anti-lock braking & steering control, you get the idea. A good ABS system will make all drivers brake better under all conditions. Basically, the wheels should never lock and steering control is retained. Unfortunately, I have found this NOT to be the case with the ABS on my Tacoma. When there is snow on the road, this ABS is dangerous. Please review the site Disclaimer.
I just got in from driving on the snow for the first time with my Tacoma. The ABS sucked on the snow covered roads. The brakes had been great up until now. I got on a couple of Tacoma forums and did some searching. I was not alone. Peeps accepted this as some sort of Tacoma quirk. I haven't decided what to do about it yet. I am telling you, this is not the way ABS is supposed to roll. The ABS was way too sensitive once the road is covered with snow or ice. The calipers unloaded too early, then barely grabbed before releasing again. This basically put the truck into a "coast" with the brake pedal mashed. Horrible. I was going 15 mph and I almost did a slow roll into an intersection with a tractor trailer coming. I guarantee I could stop the truck A LOT quicker and in a shorter distance without the ABS on snowy roads. The good news, if there is any, is that the ABS is dangerous during conditions that exist for maybe one percent of the time while driving. Unfortunately, that is also during some of the most dangerous one percent of conditions, when a properly designed ABS system is supposed to add extra safety. Instead, the ABS becomes part ot the problem, just when you would expect to count on it the most.
I'm thinking about trying some sort of ABS bypass based on a page I saw on a Toyota Forum, and with some help from senior member piercedtiger.
In-dash switch part number 00550-35976, light goes on top. Three terminals in back, top is ground, middle is 12V source, bottom is to relay or device.
This was the first time I got to try my truck on snow covered roads since the above date. Very mild winter so far this year in central Pennsylvania.
We had about four inches of snow tonight. I had to drive to work in sleet and snow, on country roads and Interstate. I left early to do some controlled braking, slipping and sliding.
Yes, the ABS still sucked once the roads were coated. The brakes worked great up until the point where they could do the most good. The "stomp and steer" method that is supposed to work with ABS actually increased the stopping distances with my Tacoma. I practiced repeatedly bringing the truck to a stop. With LIGHT brake pressure the truck would slow down quicker and stop sooner than with the ABS. If I continued to apply brake pressure, the ABS would activate, the brakes would RELEASE, and my rate of deceleration would decrease, as the ABS put the truck into a "controlled coast" as I have come to call it. This defeats the purpose of the ABS, which is supposed to allow ANY driver to stop and maintain control in the shortest possible distance by simply mashing on the brake pedal.
Mind you, this was all from the seat of my pants, so my criticisms are unscientific. What's my point? I am not here just to bitch and moan, but to tell you as a new Tacoma owner, these ABS brakes are not engineered properly for snow and ice covered roads, and from what I've read, loose sand and gravel is problematic, too. I've owned plenty of cars with ABS, including racing on a wet road course in my twin turbo. Every other ABS I've driven in the snow puts these brakes to shame. The Tacoma's ABS is not just a quirk, it is a potentially dangerous design flaw. I am not ready to give up my truck because of it, but it's ironic that this defect would show up in the winter situations for which I mainly purchased the truck. I am learning to compensate for the brakes when the roads haven't been plowed, which of course should be unecessary for a properly designed ABS system. Fortunately, the brakes perform fine in the condtitions which I find myself driving 99% of the time.
For now, I have decided NOT to alter the ABS with a disengagement switch, mainly for insurance purposes. That is all.