ABS and Trac Off lights on

Hi everyone I’m new here. I have some issues. I have a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. The ABS and Trac Off lights are both on. The cone on randomly and go off randomly. I thought I had a mechanic I could trust. I pain approximately $300 for a wheel bearing and to have it installed. I was driving car open no lights were on and as I was driving the light both came back on at the same time. I then brang it back to the mechanic and was told I needed another wheel bearing and he charged me again. It is still doing the same thing. Lights come on and go off whenever the car feels like it I guess. REALLY, 2 wheel bearings and this is still happening. Mechanic wants to put in another wheel bearing and I would have to pay again. I refuse to keep going back there and paying for the same piece to be repaired again. Does anyone have any suggestions??? PLEASE HELP, I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. TYVM.

Have someone check the condition of your battery and the cables. I know it sounds nuts, but it happens this way sometimes and a failing battery seems to be the cause.

I had this happen on the ABS of my 2003 Olds Silhouette. It turned out the connector contacts were oxidized. I cleaned the contacts and the ABS light went off. This is the low cost solution if it works. The sensors might also be dirty or malfunctioning.


Thank you very much for the information. Where are they located?

The ABS sensors are at the wheel hub. The Silhouette sensors were integrated into the hub and all I could do was check the connectors. Follow an electrical cable away from the hub. You will eventually find the connector. Mine was about a foot from the wheel hub. I’m not sure if Cavalier ABS sensors are removable or not; some are.

Wheel bearing?

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest your problem might be that the ABS sensors were damaged during the W.B. install, and your car’s computer can no longer get data for antilock braking. If I recall correctly, the ABS sensor ring is built into the wheel bearing, and you get “ABS/TRAC OFF” lights when an ABS sensor fails.

Have you mechanic (this one or another) start by disconnecting the affected sensor, clean it out thoroughly with electrical cleaner, and put it securely together. If you’re lucky, that might be all you need to do.

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Tyvm. I appreciate the advice. It does make a lot of sense.

Your mechanic is changing each wheel bearing to repair a failed ABS speed sensor which is built into the bearing. You have 3 new bearings (I think) and only one left to change. You can actually test them on the car by spinning wheel and reading the output with a digital voltmeter. He’s either doing that or he has scanned the AS computer and its telling him which sensor to replace. Or he’s guessing. In any event, you only have one more to replace and its a 14 year old car (you didn’t say the mileage) that may need wheel bearings in any event.

So in conclusion he isn’t replacing the SAME part, he’s replacing a different one to fix the same problem. Maybe you need a better mechanic.


Those dash warning lights turn on for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is a failed wheel speed sensor. There’s one of these sensors on each wheel, and there’s a computer that monitors each of them as you drive, and can tell from that info if a wheel is slipping (like accelerating on ice) or locking up during braking. If the computer figures one of the sensors isn’t working b/c the readings couldn’t happen if it was working, then it turns on those lights to tell the driver it is ignoring the wheel speed sensors and the ABS and Stability safety features are no longer working; so maybe it’s a good idea to slow down until the two functions are working again.

The way the wheel speed sensor works, its sort of like when you used a clothes pin to attach a playing card on your bicycle to make it sound like a motorcycle as the playing card got hit by the rotating wheel’s spokes. Did you ever do that? Same idea w/cars, only done electronically. But like the bicycle arrangement, there’s a stationary part attached to the car and it senses the rotating part attached to the wheel. Replacing the wheel bearing often also replaces that rotating part, and usually involves removing or at least disconnecting the stationary part.

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I find it highly amusing that OP is crediting one of us with the solution . . . BEFORE seemingly taking jtsanders advice and actually checking if that will work for them

A bit premature, I would say

No offense, @jtsanders

On this car the sensor is not built into the bearing/hub assy. The sensor and tone ring are mounted separately. So it could be the sensor, a dirty tone ring, the connector or the wire itself. Remember, that wire has to do a lot of flexing over its life and could break internally.

I agree with the wheel speed sensors as a primary candidate, but wanted to add that when I have a connector in question I flush it out with contact cleaner from Radio Shack. I always keep a can of unlubed cleaner and a can of cleaner with lube in my garage.

@db4690, I’m gonna pout all day…

@jtsanders Ya better not shout-ya better not POUT- ya better not cry I’m tellin ya why-Santa Claus is comin to town.


Good thing I was pouting for just one day.

The OP credited @jtsanders with the solution

Since we know the problem has been resolved, why are we still keeping this discussion alive?


RBelieve me I know I’m in need of a new mechanic. Someone suggested this mechanic to me and how wonderful he was so I figured I would give him a shot. Going to a very honest and reputable mechanic next week, either Monday or Tuesday. Need to look and see which day is better for me. This mechanic I’m going to go to is EXTREMELY knowledgeable. Just talking on the phone, you can tell he knows his stuff.

I must say there are several people on this site that are rude and ignorant. I’m off this ridiculous site. You know where you can get and u know which ones you are!!!

Just so you know all the rude and ignorant comments some people have made to me, I have flagged you and now also going to mute you. I don’t need the childish games. I have great screenshots too so I will be sending them as well. Tyvm to those who have responded in an appropriate way.

I didn’t see any rude or ignorant comments in this thread.