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Service And ABS light comes on

(2004 Chevrolet Cavalier)
in Old Bridge, NJ on August 03, 2009
My "Service", "ABS", and "Low Traction" lights come on whenever I make a tight turn while accelerating. My local mechanic said that the lights go off because one tire is spinning faster than the other and that it could be costly to fix.

I also need to get my car re-inspected, the lights were nto on last time but have been on and off before and since the inspection. (I failed because of non-working windows, but they never mentioned anything about the ABS light)

Since the lights don't come on when the car starts up but only after a tight turn I am not sure how serious it may be, but I think it has also led to my car stalling/hesitating when making sharp turns when I first start driving. ( like if I was pulling out of a parking spot, it can hesitate and sometimes stall out)

I appreciate any knowledge / insight that anyone has.
Displaying 4 answers & 2 comments
Popular Answer
on September 09, 2009
DON'T CHANGE THE WHEEL SPEED SENSOR! The dealer charges $150 with tax for that part, and that's probably not the problem!

I had the exact same issue. Those 3 lights would come on either when I moved the car, or turned the wheel to the right. The Chevrolet mechanic next door checked the computer and it gave a fault code for the Left Wheel Speed Sensor. I changed the expensive part and the problem still existed.

After researching this online, I found that there were a lot of similar problems, but the fix was to replace the wiring harness for the sensor, not the sensor itself. When I inspected my harness, I immediatley found 1 of the 2 wires nearly broken in half. My break was right at the connector to the sensor, so I couldn't simply repair the wire. I had to replace the harness. It was VERY easy (20 minutes max). The dealer stocks this harness ($110 with tax). I got it aftermarket online for $40 with the clips and butt connectors. Be sure to tape up the repair sight very tight to keep the moisture out of the harness. I had ramps to drive up onto so the work could be done from underneath the car. Otherwise, you will probably have to take the wheel off to get to the harness.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions:
on September 05, 2013
I know this is old.. but THANK YOU BeenThereDoneThat. My 3 lights all came on today on my 02 Cavalier and code read wheel speed sensor and cost at shop $300. I had him explain and through trial and error on my end realized that cannot be it. My car will start w/no lights, turn the wheel to the right and lights up like a christmas tree. :) This is while still in park, so ya thanks for the confirmation. I wish this was something I could replace myself, but probably not. Should be cheaper though. Thank you!
on August 07, 2009
If in fact you are spinning a tire only the "low traction" light should come on. I would suspect you have a front wheel speed sensor which is beginning to fail. If so there should be fault codes stored in the abs control module. The codes will need to be read with a quality scan tool, the codes stored should tell you which front wheel sensor is at fault. The fault code will be related the a wheel speed sensor circuit, meaning the fault could be with the speed sensor or its related wiring. The front wheel speed sensors on your 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier are part of the front wheel bearing assembly. Please see the repairpal estimator for repair costs. When the traction control system engages it may cause a hesitation because the system is trying to slow down the spinning wheel. I have never heard of the traction control system causing a stalling condition but these days anything is possible.
on June 14, 2010
Mine is doing the same thing. Mine hesitates and I have to let off the gas to be able to slowly give it gas to get it going. It doesn't stall but goes very very slow when trying to go forward. Thanks for the input. I have a 2004 Chevrolet Venture.
on September 10, 2009
The wiring to the wheel speed sensor should be thorughly inspected before the sensor is replaced. The wiring can be damaged on the sensor side of the electrical connector at the front suspension. If the wire is damaged on the sensor side of the connector the hub assembly should be replaced. If the wiring all checks out OK then it may be necessary to replace the hub assembly to correct the intermintant fault.
on October 02, 2012
As for the ABS/Service, Low Trac it is the speed sensor over $500 to fix. 'don't worry about it' the dealership said. It's the speed sensor. It's annoying but isn't worth the expense. That's what I was told with my 2004 Cavalier LS and it will pass inspection too. :0
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