View Full Version : My GX 2004 doesnt have ABS, is that bad?

06-01-2010, 08:08 AM
Hi, I am new hear (first post). I have been reading for a while, fell in love with the prado (you all seem very happy) and today am picking up my 2004 manual diesel GX. I have been looking forward to this day until last night when I realized that it doesnt have the ABS that the GXL model does. I have 5 children under 14years and am concerned that I should have saved a bit harder and gone for the GXL so I am travelling in the safest car. Do I sell this one straight away and get an older GXL or is the ABS not a major safety issue. Please help. And thankyou for any responce, I will appreciate it.

Regards Eli.

06-01-2010, 08:48 AM
well MY VIEW on this is, learn how to drive it properly... that means to learn to drive defensivly at all times and possibly to learn how to brake the old fashioned way, commonly termed "thresh-hold" brakeing. In an ABS car you mash the pedal and keep it there, hopefully steering around whatever caused you to brake so suddenly. However, there's a lot of ABS equiped cars in crashes so it's not guaranteed to save you, i.e. ABS won't stop someone else running into you! Drive sensibly and you'll be fine. Only time I've ever felt my Prado's ABS come on is when I've purposely made it do it to check it's working!

FYI, thresh-hold braking involves being able to back off the brake pedal IF your brakes lock up. You then reapply them once the wheels are turning and can then slow you down (a locked wheel will slow you down but a turning one will stop you quicker). The problem with this is you need to be able to do it very quickly... a complete emergency stop might take 2-3 seconds in total. It's really something that should be taught by an advanced driving course and then practised.

It will probably cost you to change to a GXL straight away, so I reckon keep the GX for awhile and see how you feel. Sounds like you mighten have had an ABS car before anyway. If it's still worrying you, then see about upgrading.


06-01-2010, 09:29 AM
Thanks Nige,

I appreciate your input, it makes sense and to date, I have driven appropriately. My last couple of cars have had abs, never needed to use it. I have always driven very carefully (precious cargo onboard), I am worried that the outcome will be worse in a situation I cannot avoid. I have been driving a landrover discovery with all the bells and whistles (safety wise) for a few years (cost to repair and need for frequent repair) has urged me to try out the prado. Thanks again for the advise :D it is a way to look at it that I hadnt considered.


06-01-2010, 09:38 AM
Personally I wouldn't buy a car now without ABS and if I could afford it, stability control (ASC).
The safety advantages of these have been well proven.
Safety sounds like it is important to you ( especially with kids ) you might like to consider ABS and ASC on your next car. ASC will not be on a 2004 unless you go with a Grande though. 90% of drivers will never have these systems kick in, but it is the one occassional event that you need it that may save someones life.
If you bought from a dealer there should be a "cool off" period in your sale contract. ( ie you can reneg on the sale with no penalties ). Read it through.
You're going to save money on maintenance with the Prado anyway, compared to the Disco, so maybe stretch a bit for the extra safety features.

06-01-2010, 09:49 AM
There is a big difference in braking between my 2009 Prado GXL and my 2002 BA Ford Falcon. Mainly due to weight difference and tyre size. On a dry sealed road, I find it a lot hard to lock up the wheels on the Prado. You just dont have the same braking force as you do on the sedan. This is further reduced if you get larger diameter tyres.

I have never utilised the ABS on either vehicles because I was raised on a farm and most of my driving was on gravel roads where if you feel the tyres skidding, you would release and re-apply the brake or if possible don't brake at all and steer out of trouble (that driving was mainly done in a HQ Holden 1 tonne ute).

If would come in handy if you cannot see surfaces that are slippery i.e black ice or oil on the road and that you have to stop because you cannot steer around the obstacle.

06-01-2010, 12:59 PM
Thankyou for your input.

I am still going to need to purchase this GX but I think I will try and sell it almost immediately. We couldnt strecth the budget any further for this car purchase but the house is on the market so if it sells I will defiantly upgrade. We are driving from brissie to tassie this year towing a 17ft van so hopefully I will be able to upgrade before then.

Anymore ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thakyou

06-01-2010, 02:04 PM
Think you will find the GX will have ABS as a option.

My 08 GX has ABS which is considered to be a option you can choose when ordering, think its option pack 1 & the aircon was option 2 -might be other way around.

Being 2nd hand doubt its a retrofitable item/system

06-01-2010, 07:29 PM
it is not the end of the world that your new toy does not have ABS. Don't get me wrong I think ABS is a great tool for the less than 1% of the time that you will really need it but it is not a necessity and it does not make your can any safer IMO.

If you are concerned (which you are) spend a little money (maybe $500 ish) and go and do a defensive drivers course where if you pick a really good one you will get taught pulse braking. this is not threshold braking as eplained above but pulse braking where you will "play" the ABS yourself by pumping the pedal hard and quickly to simulate the same thing.
You will also get taught that in most emergency situation you need to jab the brake pedal to sit the car down and then release and steer around trouble with no throttle what so ever. This skill will certainly come in handy in Tassie regardless if you have ABS or not.

Compare the defencive drivers course (like I said $500 ish at a guess) which IMO you should do anyways to the loss you will make by driving the car home just to sell it. At a guess you will make at least a $2000 - $3000 loss by doing this.

Keep the car until you can realistically afford to trade up IMO.

06-01-2010, 08:56 PM
Dhula, thankyou for your input, I think your suggestion is very wise and not knowing tassie, a defensive course is a good idea for me.

I appreciate all your thoughts, keep them coming.


06-01-2010, 11:48 PM
I have a 2007 GX to which I had ABS fitted as an option pack. True the 120 GX's never had ABS as standard but that doesn't mean every 120 GX out there will not have it installed. Are you sure the GX you're looking at does not have ABS? You aren't just assuming that simply because it's a GX are you?

My opinion. ABS is certainly a well proven technology when it comes to braking hard. You never can tell how you will react in a panic or split second situation. I would certainly include ABS braking on any new vehicle I purchased, primarily for the safety aspect. Second to this though, ABS is fast becoming a standard feature for new motor vehicles and my opinion is that older vehicles that do not have this installed may begin to suffer slightly in the second hand market. Particularly if there are a number of vehicles around in the same condition as yours with ABS fitted. But that is just my thoughts.

That said, If I ended up with a vehicle without ABS I wouldn't be all that concerned. Maybe a driver training course if it really worried me. But for me, the lack of ABS would not be a concern. However, I fully respect having a family onboard could well change all that. But I wouldn't get too out of pocket just to get into a vehicle with ABS installed.

Maybe advertise and see if you can get your money back, you never know, you just might. Then choose another Prado with ABS.

07-01-2010, 08:56 AM
One plus for not having ABS is that on a 120 Prado the ABS pick ups are built into the wheel bearings (definately rear, not sure about the front). This means replacement whee bearings are very expensive and probably ex Japan.


07-01-2010, 10:10 AM
I have never owned a car with ABS and a few of my cars had 4 wheel drum brakes and no seat belts. I am still here . If this fancy gizmo technoligy did not exist would you be concern ? Its a safety feature yes , but there seems to be alot more accidents on the roads now days since they fitted ABS , air bags and stuff to vehicles and people think with this stuff on the vehicle they are invinceable and are too reliant on them , you can see your seat belt is on and will work but can you see that the ABS is going to work ?

07-01-2010, 10:54 AM
a good set of roads tyres will help with controlling the vehicle by not locking up as easily, unlike the rubbish they put on as standard.

07-01-2010, 07:52 PM
fishfinder and WBY 1, thankyou for taking the time to respond. I have never in 20 years of driving needed to use abs, so I hope the next 20 will be the same. Nonetheless, I now own the car so I will endeavour to drive it safely but am still concerned. Thankyou again for the responce, it does help and makes alot of sense.


07-01-2010, 08:50 PM
dont stress about it to much, my 03 gx has abs fitted but i find that you have to stand on the pedal pretty hard to get it to lock up ( abs) to cut in, i like it better when abs is off offroad, allows me to get a better feel for decents in steep conditions, dont get me wrong, it is a great tool for safety but i prefer it to be switched off ofroad, and it was an option on the gx, so dont sell ya gx just cause it hasnt got abs, its obiously caught you eye as a nice car and you will be lucky to get ya money back what ya paid for it, if you r really worried go and do a advance driving/ defensive driving course or in wet weather keep a large distance between you and the car in front, just a thought. cheers samo :D

07-01-2010, 09:37 PM

I have been reading so many of your posts and have enjoyed the pictures also. This gx is an o4 diesel has bullbar, towbar, sidesteps, roofracks, electric brakes (we have a 17ft van) has already done 140,000km and is a gold colour with a light interior. It cost us 28,000. I drove it today for the first time. It is nice, I can see why you all love them and why I had so much trouble finding one I could afford.


07-01-2010, 10:01 PM
good to see ya enjoy it eli, dont let the abs worry ya 2 much, just drive it to the conditions and to will get you there and back no worries, they may be the base model but at least there is no flares to get ripped off or scratch the bumpers to much lol, and besides its like a blank canvas lol, thats my excuse and im sticking to it. cheers samo

08-01-2010, 09:37 AM
I agree with most of the others. The point raised above about decent tyres is very valid. Your tyres are the most important safety item on your vehicle IMO. Keep them in good condition and at correct pressure, and you are way ahead of a lot of people. Remember, your new vehicle is full time 4wd. That makes a big safety difference as well.

08-01-2010, 03:34 PM
Thanks Davros,

what would be the safest tyre to put on the gx, I know they are skinnier than the gxl (good or bad?) , any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.


09-01-2010, 12:01 AM
Hi, I am new hear (first post). I have been reading for a while, fell in love with the prado (you all seem very happy) and today am picking up my 2004 manual diesel GX. I have been looking forward to this day until last night when I realized that it doesnt have the ABS that the GXL model does. I have 5 children under 14years and am concerned that I should have saved a bit harder and gone for the GXL so I am travelling in the safest car. Do I sell this one straight away and get an older GXL or is the ABS not a major safety issue. Please help. And thankyou for any responce, I will appreciate it.

Regards Eli.

Hi Eli,

I would not be too worried about not having ABS. I got my motorbike licence a couple of years after a car licence (many years ago) and I did an advance rider course with Honda as part of that. There they tought me to threshold brake. Then I proceeded to ride in Melbourne for 4 years while at uni virtually never using the car without any accidents in all weather. I find that now I can't even force myself to brake in a fashion to actually make ABS work. On a motorbike you cannot wait until your tyre lock up before releasing it, you need to judge the maximum braking power you can apply just before it locks up.

If you enrol in an advance driver course you can ask them to teach you this. I had to do one some years ago for work. We did the breaking tests on a dirt road and I stopped the vehicle faster (just - about 1m difference) from 60km /h that the ABS could. It would probably be opposite on bitumen, but just shows that ABS is good but if you know the vehicle and know how to control it, you can do just as well.

The other thing to remember that if you have good tyres with decent tread and brakes well serviced you will probably pull up a lot sooner than someone who has crap tyres and ABS.

Enjoy your new car...


09-01-2010, 05:56 AM
what would be the safest tyre to put on the gx, I know they are skinnier than the gxl (good or bad?) , any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.


Hey Eli ;
There are plenty of tyre threads on PP to look at and get ideas from, but really you should look at the type of
driving you will be doing, ie theres no point buying muddies if touring the highways with little offroad. There are some very
good road tyres available for 4wds now (mainly for all the European designed 4X4s on the market) but should be able to get most standard sizes easily. as for skinnier rims than GXL generally tyres are cheaper to buy for these rims anyway........
If thinking about a particular tyre in mind just ask on the forum, someone on here will know the answer, such is the miracle of Pradopoint :mrgreen:

Cheers Mate

09-01-2010, 09:20 AM
I have a GX 2004 with no ABS. Doesn't concern me. Avoiding the situations is better than having to deal with them, but there is always a chance something will happen out there. As has been said before, a course is a good thing not only for braking, but also generally learning how not to panic and deal with the situation at hand. In many cases the panic reaction is the wrong thing to do. For example, hitting the brakes and swerving in a 4wd can roll it. (Like the poor lady in the 100 series in Corro drive in BNE last year... she got cut off next minute the car is on its side.)

I totally agree with tyres being the most important saftey factor.. and they work for you 24x7, not just in emergency braking situations.

I have had 1 incident in the prado where I emergency braked, no problems avoiding the situation.

There are limited tyres for the smaller rims, but I have Dunlop AT3's and they are ALOT better than the AT20's especially
in the wet and on dirt.


09-01-2010, 04:01 PM

Thankyou very much for the advice. I am feeling more confident about my purchase now. :D

09-01-2010, 09:46 PM
hi dereki,

It is nice to hear from someone who has first hand had the gx brake in an emergency situation. Thankyou for the advice on the tyre also. Did the lady in bne survive the accident (hope all is well). You are a nearby cousin in Brisbane, I am in Toowoomba and am happy that you responded, the first person I have come across who has a similar gx to mine. I have noticed alot of gxl,s. Thanks again.


16-02-2010, 05:46 PM
The ABS brakes won't magically turn your driving into an accident free experience. They are not the huge leap in technology car sharks would have you believe. Since they have been introduced have you noticed any increase in non-ABS vehicles leaping off the road? If anything should go wrong with them reach for your chequebook mate and take out another loan against the house. My Prado has it fitted as standard and whilst it works ok on the seal it is pretty ordinary on the rough stuff. I could take it or leave it and it most certainly would not influence my buying decisions. Prado's have good brakes anyway - enjoy the truck and don't stress any!