ABS and Audi's "Antilock Off" Switch

Grant Lenahan glenahan at vfemail.net
Fri Feb 1 13:59:08 PST 2013

Well, i disagree that abs is worse than none on black ice.  The reason the abs kicked in is that the wheels were skidding - not the other way around.

ABD off is useful in several situations - like deepish snow or gravel where a skidding tire can build up a pile of material in front of it - bringing you to a stop.

Aside from that it should, in effect, threshold brake.

Yes, ABS has come a long way since 1990. I had it on my 1991 (90q20v), my 2000 (s4), and now my '02 S6 and my '04 Boxster.  I also not that calibrations are very different - the porsche seems to have a slightly higher engagement threshold.  I almost never engage it on a track - dry one anyway.

As to turning it off, many p-cars still allow it (along with stability control). I wont. The benefits in extreme situations so vastly outweigh the downside that i would not think of turning it off, except to play int he snow.


On Jan 31, 2013, at 10:13 PM, mboucher70 hotmail.com wrote:

> In December, during a highway drive from Toronto to Montreal, weather turned quite bad.  At some point we were brought to stop-and-go traffic, perhaps between 0 and 20 km/h.  At one point when we needed to stop, it turned out that we were on black ice hidden by blowing snow.  The ABS kicked in, and it seemed as though we’d sail straight into the car in front of us!  I kept solid pressure on the pedal, and we JUST managed to stop, probably within a few inches of the car in front.  If we hadn't stopped, it wouldn't have been much more than a harsh bump.  Nonetheless, it’s a bad feeling!
> I'd had similar (though not nearly as bad) experiences in the past, but still never disengaged the ABS because all of the studies I'd read had made the case that ABS could save your life if you locked up the tires at high speed.
> After this near miss, I’d had it with the ABS.  I immediately put the car in park, pressed the "Antilock Off" switch, and continued the drive.  It felt so much more in control, at low speeds, even if I was locking them up at times.
> Question I've been pondering is what's to be concluded from this about the "Antilock Off" feature that used to be available:
> 1.) It was useful in situations such as that above, but since the overall benefits of ABS outweighed the downsides, it just became a standard safety feature and “Antilock Off" switches disappeared.
> 2.) ABS has significantly improved from designs used around the 1990 vintage, to make the need to disable them obsolete.
> 3.) The “Antilock Off” switch was a useful feature and would be nice to have in current-day production cars.
> Other thoughts?
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