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2007 Camry ABS Brakes kicked in for no reason, TWICE

I took my 2007 Camry V6LE in for routine maintenance, tire rotation, oil change, etc. Drove to work right afterwards and it was fine. Driving 2 miles to a friend’s house later and the antilock brakes kicked in at around 6 miles per hour as I was bearing right. I called the dealer and told them I was coming back. As I was on the way there, again at a low speed, at a slight curve, the brakes kicked in again. The roads were not wet at all and I saw no reason for this to happen. I rode with the technician, who had the brakes hooked up to a computer and everything checked out fine. I am now TERRIFIED to drive the car. Do I need to buy a new car?

Yes, give me your car and buy a new one. They probably knocked a wheel speed sensor loose or something like that. Everything is under warranty, and even if it isn’t they just caused it. Make them fix it. If they won’t, I’ll take your car.

You don’t say if you were braking when the ABS kicked in, and I assume you were. If so, you are first of all in no danger, except that when the ABS is engaged in dry conditions your car will not stop as quickly as it would were the system never engaged. Of course, if you were doing say, thirty miles per hour or higher and slammed on the brakes on dry pavement, the ABS would engage because the wheels would in fact actually lock up otherwise.

I do have a few questions, first, you say that each time your ABS activated you were gently turning, the first instance to the right, the second you mention a slight curve. Was the second time also during a turn to the right?
When this happened, WERE you in fact braking? Were you accelerating? If you were not braking then something else is going on than a faulty sensor in your ABS. The ABS in no way engages the brakes, only you can do that. If you were accelerating, however, then you need a cv-joint, which would feel pretty similar and make the same kind of sound as the ABS being engaged during slippery weather braking. So you can pretty much answer this yourself, depending on whether you were braking or accelerating when you experienced this problem. If it is the cv-joint, the repair is pretty cheap and might be still under warranty.

I was braking both times, at a very low speed and both times I was bearing right. I went back to the dealership and they hooked the brakes up to a computer and had me drive it, for around 20 minutes. I even took the technician back to the first place where I experienced the problem but nothing happened. The technician said everything checked out fine. It has not happened in the past 3 days but I’m still VERY nervous.

I went back and told them to fix what they did and they claim that there’s nothing wrong. I wonder if the tire rotation could have knocked something out of whack and it settled itself down.

There may be something going on with the brake booster that is causing the trouble.

My guess is that they bumped a wheel speed sensor when they did the tire rotation. They should put the car on a lift and check.

I’ve attached a sketch of how your ABS system is constructed. At each wheel there’s a wheel speed sensor that “reads” the speed on a spinning sensor ring. The computer compares the speeds and when iit thinks it detects one wheel not turning it activates that ABS for that wheel. A loose sensor connection can trigger this.