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I was looking at an insight some time ago but decided not to buy it. Now the dealer has lowered the price so I'm considering it again. Anyways, when I had it for a weekend test drive before I noticed that the car shuddered when coming to a stop. This only occurred at very low speeds. (IE the car would slow normally, then shudder as it went from about 3 or 4 MPH to complete stop) This would be on the friction brakes as the clutch was disengaged whenever it did this. It was also in fairly deep snow, so it was kind of slippery.

Has anyone had any experience with this sort of behaviour? Is this an indication of something wrong with the brakes, or is it some anti-lock/traction control thing working because of the slippery snow?
 

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Was your steeringwheel also shacking, if it is, you have a defect in your brake disc. If not, try to run the car when there is a snowfree spot. If the antiskid works you can feel it in the brakepadel, in snow, when you brake, with antiskid working, the system works verry fast and strange, you can feel that it looks like there is a defect, but in snow it is differend. I assume as you already discribed, that your antiskid works normal. Just try to run the car on a snow and ice free road, and than try to brake the car as hard as you can, than you can feel a proper way of anti skid and braking in progress. If the car then still runs straight, while braking, your system is fine, and it stops of course :wink:

Let me know what your findings are.
 

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Sounds like the ABS to me - when it activates it is very noticeable in the Insight. I suspect that we have simple, first generation ABS on our Insights (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and on such a lightweight car, the on/off brake action is strongly transmitted through to the driver. A bump in the road or a little gravel under braking can set it off, let alone snow. HTH.
 

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My brakes...

I've noticed my ABS kicks in when going over speed bumps or through strong dips in the road. Normally this is also at very low speed, as described. I'll hear ticking, which decreases in period and decreases in volume (gets faster and softer) right after hitting the bump.

At first, I thought it was a problem with my Insight, and then I realized that it's just the ABS briefly kicking on for whatever reason. I've learned to take those kinds of bumps slower to avoid that weird noise.
 

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In my car, the brake peddle itself sometimes shudders while coming to a stop. Is this the ABS, or does my car have a problem?

Luna
 

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Luna said:
In my car, the brake peddle itself sometimes shudders while coming to a stop. Is this the ABS, or does my car have a problem?

Luna
Could be. Is this on wet or icy/snowy roads? If it happens on a straight, slow stop on a dry road, that would not be normal.
 

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I had ice and snow this morning and I tried to brake hard so the anti skid kiks in. The brake padel vibrates (8 X sec plus minus) verry gentle and light, and there were no abnormalties. It seems to be that if you brake in deeper snow that due to the fact that the snow gets compressed the feeling of braking might be feel differend. But hey if anybody has a problem with the ABS go to the Honda dealer !!! I almost wrecked my Honda Accord because there was a lot of water in my brake system, so my car rolled almost over at 120 km/ph!! :?
So do not wait to long!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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The brake peddle shudders when I'm trying to stop really fast, usually heading down on a hill. I try not to drive my Insight when there is ice or snow on the roads, so I wouldn't know if this happens under those conditions.

Luna
 

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Luna said:
The brake peddle shudders when I'm trying to stop really fast, usually heading down on a hill. I try not to drive my Insight when there is ice or snow on the roads, so I wouldn't know if this happens under those conditions.

Luna
It may be the ABS, if you are REALLY stomping on the pedal, causing wheel lockup.

Does the frequency of the vibration vary with the speed of the car? In other words, does it gradually vibrate more slowly as the car slows down?

If it does, and especially if the steering wheel vibrates with the brakes, I would bet on warped brake rotor(s).
 

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Because it happened on snow I bet it's just the Anti Lock Brakes (ABS) being activated. By the way you asked the question I suspect you don't have any experience with ABS brakes.
The insight does not have a primitive ABS system.
A primative ABS systems engage when the sensors detect a wheel has locked (stopped rotation). A primative ABS system allows you stop in the straight line but does not do a good job of allowing you to brake and steer at the same time.

The Insight has a very sensive decent ABS system that we notice in the bumps because it engages when the difference between the wheels rotating passes a specific threshhold. So the ABS reacts quickly enough to try to prevent the tire from locking up in the first place. Unfortuntely this means the system stays on longer lengthening the stopping distances. But it does keep the vehicle stopping in a straight line and allows the driver some steering control (depends on the grip available) even when the brakes are fully engaged.

To remind everyone:
On DRY or WET roads: ABS brakes allow anyone that stomps on the brakes quickly and hard to stop in the same distance as a highly skilled driver without ABS.
(To qualify as a highly skilled driver you MUST RACE your car on a regular basis competitively on a track or auto-x)

On SNOW or ICE: ABS brakes lengthen braking distances by 50% to 90%! So threshold braking is crucial to reduce the amount of time the ABS brakes are engaged under these conditions.

To fully answer the original question:
I suggest bringing a friend with experience driving a car with ABS brakes to test drive the car for you. Or try test driving when the roads are not slippery and see if the brakes feel smooth.
If under normal braking the car seems to be shaking, then the rotors need to be machined flat and the brake pads checked.
 

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Guillermo said:
On SNOW or ICE: ABS brakes lengthen braking distances by 50% to 90%!
Compared to a car on snow or ice with wheels locked and in a skid, or compared to one driven by a professional?
 

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The coefficient of friction on ice is about 1/10 that of a dry road. That means that the BEST you could hope to do on a completely iced road is about 10 times the stopping distance. For snow it depends on if it's just a thin layer of snow over the road, poweder, packed powder, or packed to near-ice levels. This is the part where I enjoy living in Phoenix where we never have to deal with such things.
 

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AZCivic said:
This is the part where I enjoy living in Phoenix where we never have to deal with such things.

Second'd
 

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On SNOW or ICE: ABS brakes lengthen braking distances by 50% to 90%!
Compared to threshold braking or locking up the tires with the ABS fuse removed. Its easy for anyone to get much shorter stopping distances without ABS but it takes practice to keep the car under control while doing this.

FACT: On ice and snow locked up tires result in the shortest stopping distance. But on wet or dry roads locked up tires result in the longest stopping distances.
 

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Holicow said:
Yeah, winter is not for the weak :p :wink:
Ok, hoping this doesn't totally hijack the thread, but yeah I'm a woose when it comes to cold. It been only getting in the low 70's the past few days and thats too cold for me. I'd much rather it be over 100 than this.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I took the car for another test drive yesterday, so as requested above, I'm posting my findings. Which were that it appears to be ABS or anti-skid as suggested. Now that the roads are clearer the brakes don't seem to shudder when stopping.
 
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