My mother in law’s Buick is having an issue that seems to reach beyond my limited knowledge. As she drives, seemingly at random intervals, her ABS light and “service traction control” message will appear, and does not seem to correspond to when the brakes are actually being used. Additionally, there will often be a foul odor coming from the front of the car (she is unsure where exactly) after these lights have appeared. Finally, every now and then, her brakes will not apply properly. She says “right before it happens I will hear a grinding noise of sorts, and then the brakes will start acting funny”. These events are always joined by activation of the lights, but are rare. The lights and smell occur more frequently without direct wonkiness from the brakes.
So I have no idea what could be going on. I jacked the car up today and pumped the brakes to see if a cylinder was leaking fluid (fluid on hot brakes = smell maybe?) but didn’t see anything leaking.