ABS System on Chevy Cavaliers


I own a 2000 Chevy Cavalier with 130,000 miles on it. My ABS warning light stays on constantly now, and I’m afraid I may be looking at an expensive repair. What should I expect when I take it into the dealer?


A well-equipped independent shop (that has a scanner capable of scanning the ABS controller) would probably be a better bet. The most likely cause is a faulty sensor, but a scan is needed to avoid throwing parts at the problem (unless there is an obvious problem, like a damaged wire to a sensor).


It could be, but it may be very cheap, it depends on what it is. That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

Regarding warning lights:

  1. if the coolant temp light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  2. if the oil warning light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  3. if a FLASHING MIL/CEL comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

    ASAP means driving to the berm of the highway right now and not waiting for the next exit.

But if the MIL/CEL is not flashing, then it’s not an urgent indicator.


The Auto-Zone scanner will not be able to read the ABS codes. They’ll have to go to somewhere with manufacturer specific code scanners.


gnashbabe, try this. Open the engine hood to find the plastic fuse box and pull out the relay that says ABS. Check for the white powdery substance that is know to be a problem on cavaliers on these 4 contacts and clean them to a new like silver finish. I personally use a little sandpaper to make the contacts look like new again…Greg


Thanks to all for the suggestions. Greg, I tried your recommendation, but my warnings lights (service, ABS and traction off) still stayed on, so I’m betting it’s a malfunctioning sensor(s) at the very least. I read somewhere that the wheel sensors can get caked with road gunk and sometimes just cleaning them off will take care of the problem. Hopefully, that will be the case here. I just moved to Colorado from the South 18 months ago, and I think the drastic increase in road salt might be contributing to the problem.


FYI…got a call from the repair shop and have been told the problem is a “wheel speed harness.” We’ll see if fixing that solves the problem.