I have two cars with ABS — a 1999 Buick Regal and 2013
Toyota Corolla. I am wondering if ABS is really the best
way for stopping on an icy road. This past week, I had
several occasions where I tried to stop as I approached
a stop sign, but when applying and maintaining brake
pressure the ABS engaged but did little to stop the car
as I kept sliding. Then I did the old-fashioned pumping
of the brakes with much better results. The ABS seemed
to not work well on icy roads compared to the pumping
technique. Is this only my experience or am I using ABS
Considering that antilock braking systems are capable of
recognizing wheel lockup and modulating/releasing
hydraulic pressure to restore rotation of the wheel many
times per second — much, much faster than the human
foot can accomplish — ABS should be more effective
than pumping the brakes in slippery conditions.
there may be mitigating factors. First, if the anxiety
of not stopping as quickly as the situation warrants
causes the driver to continue to press harder and harder
on the brake pedal, the ABS tends to cycle more slowly
because of the much larger releases of hydraulic
pressure required to restore wheel rotation. These much
deeper modulations will increase stopping distance
what provides the "best" stopping traction on
ice — it’s that moment just before and as the
wheel/tire begins to lock up. At that instant, the tread
blocks on the tire surface are at the edge of their
maximum traction, just before sliding. Since the ABS
system can recognize and release hydraulic pressure at
that precise moment much faster than the human foot, ABS
should stop better on ice.
it possible the pumping action can be more effective?
Not in my experience, but perhaps in a scenario where
the locked wheel/tire is actually melting the ice under
the tread. This is entirely speculative on my part —
just trying to envision a scenario where pumping the
brakes might be more effective.
here’s the bottom line: Neither ABS nor pumping the
brakes can overcome the laws of physics. Experiencing
either action is confirmation of going too fast and/or
braking too late for existing conditions. On glare ice,
I still want an ABS system to minimize the consequences
of my mistake.
I have a 2014 Hyundai Sonata. Since I purchased it, the
catalytic converter makes a ticking noise when it gets
hot. I used to have a 2012 Sonata that never had this
issue — any thoughts?
The ticking sound from the exhaust as it cools down is
completely normal. The sound is generated by the
extraordinarily hot metal in the forward sections of the
exhaust, including the converter and its heat shield,
contracting as it cools. No worries. And I think you’ll
find that this ticking during cool-down will fade as you
accumulate more miles on the vehicle.
How does really cold weather affect hybrid vehicles? I
am thinking of buying one but not if they don’t work
well in really cold weather. Also, what if I go south in
the winter — can my hybrid just sit in the garage for
several weeks without any problem?
With a gas/electric vehicle, expect to see more
"gas" operation in cold weather. More energy
is needed to operate the vehicle and warm its interior.
So the car will likely rely more heavily on its internal
combustion engine and use more fuel. But even with the
lower efficiency and reduced "hybrid
benefits," the vehicle will still "work"
reliably. And parking a hybrid for weeks, even months,
won’t be any more of an issue than with a conventional