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Abs engages & makes unpleasant noise

what causes the abs to engage when the road is not slippery? It embarrasses us by making an unpleasant noise * like a sick fog-horn - at every stop sign, etc. Our mechanic theorizes one of the front wheel bearings is failing, causing the wheels to rotate differently, which is detected by the abs, causing it to engage and make the noise. He indicates new wheel bearings cost hundreds of dollars, and doesn’t want to replace one or the other until the culprit fails drastically enough for him to know which to replace. Since our Saturn dealer closed up shop, the diagnostic instrument needed is not available locally. Meanwhile we continue to be embarrased when stopping & wondering how or when we will know when this can be fixed.

Does it engage when you are hitting the brakes, or do you mean the traction control (if your car has it) is engaging when you take off?

I do like that your mechanic wants to wait and see. Your mechanic seems honest.
I would ask your mechanic to look at the wheel sensors for the ABS. It’s not the wheel bearings.

It very well might be the wheel bearings. I did not go look but as a GM there is a good chance that your wheel speed sensors are built into a hub/bearing assembly. Thus bad bearing = bad wheel speed sensor.

Presumably your shop has exhausted all normal means of identifying a bad bearing? These include rocking the wheel to feel for play, spinning and listening, spinning while holding the spring to feels for vibration…

How many miles are on this Vue? If you’re getting up there in mileage, even if you find a problem with one of them now then the other is likely not far behind. This is a wear & tear issue.

How many miles are on those tires, and are they well matched all around? It isn’t common but very worn and/or mismatched tires side to side can do this.

You must be able to find someone with the right scanning equipment. Look around.

As for the embarrassment - I’d say just get over it.

Wheel bearings are easy enough to check…I don’t think that’s it. Have your mechanic check all four wheel sensors and their connections…This is where the problem will most likely be found. In the meantime, you can pull the ABS fuse to disable the system. This will be safer than driving the car with the system malfunctioning…