Know anything about Hondas and ABS systems?

For the past few days ago, the ABS (antilock brake system) light on the dashboard of my 1994 Accord wagon has lit up whenever the engine has been running. Upon checking the system, my usual mechanics informed me that I need a new ABS sensor (about $300 including installation) and ABS monitor (about $1,000).

I checked my car’s manual when the light first appeared, and it said that I still had braking function (which I confirmed while driving). My question is: if a Honda Accord’s antilock brake system is flawed, will the car continue to have regular braking function? In other words, are they two separate systems–antilock and regular braking?

My previous cars did not have ABS, and I’m reluctant to spend $1,300 on an oldish vehicle to repair what is essentially a useful but nonessential upgrade, unless I have to. Will the general braking ability suffer if I keep driving the car in this condition?

With perhaps a handful of rare exceptions, an ABS failure will not affect the service brakes. Obviously, the ABS won’t operate, but your regular brakes should be fine.

ABS is an add-on to the service brakes, and while it’s not totally separate, it’s essentially separated from the normal brake operation unless and until it engages. With its warning light on, it’s disabled and won’t engage.

You might be able to pull the fuse for the ABS system and just forget you ever had it. I’ve done this to a couple of BMW bikes since their ABS modulators run about $1600 plus labor. It’s even possible to remove all of the ABS equipment, but the weight savings wouldn’t be worthwhile for a car.

(I am not a Honda mechanic, ask your usual mechanics for more specific advice, ect.)

Thanks for the replies. One possible wrinkle: might I not be able to pass my state (Virginia) safety inspection with the ABS light on? Has anyone had this experience?

I’d be very surprised if it’s a requirement for state inspection. Call the appropriate office and find out.