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ABS Warning Light & "Track OFF" Light

I was driving my car last night, at about 45 mph, when all of a sudden, my ABS Warning light and the “Track OFF” light came on simultaneously. I wasn’t braking at all. I pulled over, turned the car off, turned it back on, and they dinged on immediately, before I even had a chance to shift the car out of park. I drove carefully home and parked my car overnight. This morning, I drove to Philadelphia (about 35 miles away), and both the warning lights remained off for a little over half my trip. They came on, however, when I was driving about 70 mph on I-95, and I wasn’t braking. I even left the ETS on, which I usually turn off to save on gas. I don’t understand what is going on. In the past, I have had the ABS warning light come on when I’m practically coasting and actively braking, but turning the car off and back on clears the issue. I’ve never had the issue where the ABS light comes on and stays on despite turning the car off, and the “Track OFF” light has never come on by itself without me turning the ETS off. I’d appreciate any answers you could give me before I take it in. Thanks in advance!

Would you like to share with us the make, model, and year of car?

The ABS and Trac Off light lit up on my wife’s 98 Ford Windstar when there were problems with the ABS wheel sensors. Specifically, the Excitor ring on the CV shaft had come loose. At least on the Windstar, the ABS module needed a special code reader to check the codes. The ABS and Traction control will be disabled, but the brakes should work normally.

Ed B.

Sounds like the control module (electronic brain) for the ABS and traction control has failed. Most of the time the traction control uses the ABS to function (it will apply brakes rapidly to limit wheelspin.) So if one fails the other is usually affected. If this is case the repair could be anywhere from a few hundered bucks to a thousand or more, it depends on the car. Also your traction control has next to nothing to do with fuel economy.

It would help if you shared what kind of car you have.

What kind of car is this? I’m going to guess that it is a GM product since you said the ABS light and Trac Off light came on simultaneously. This simply means you have a fault in the ABS system. On a GM, it is most often a speed sensor issue. On most GM passenger cars and minivans, the ABS speed sensors are integrated into the hub assemblies. The car is safe to drive until you get the problem diagnosed and repaired. The car is not going to break down and leave you stranded over this.

One other question: turning off the ETS to save fuel is a new one for me. What is the theory behind this?

Sorry, I thought it had posted that information. It’s a 1999 Pontiac Grand AM SE.

ABS systems have a high-pressure pump, an accumulator (To store that high-pressure fluid) and a control unit and wheel sensors.

A GM dealer should be able to run diagnostics on you vehicle (KAAaaching) and tell you exactly which component has failed. Or you can pull the wheels and clean the wheel sensors and check their connectors and hope that’s it…If that’s NOT it, forget about it, it will cost more than your Grand is worth to fix it…

There’s no cleaning the sensors on this car. They are part of the hub assemblies. New hub assemblies for this car, installed, run $300-400 apiece in my area. Prices may be higher on the coasts.

I would not assume anything drastic like entire control units. Nor would I expect a scan of the system to tell me what part to replace.

The first thing I would do is just bring the car to a trusted mechanic (if you don’t have one now’s a good time to find one - you want a local, independent shop).

Tell them what is going on. Ask them to inspect and if nothing obvious is out of kilter ask them to just pull all of the connectors for the wheel speed sensors, clean them up really well and plug it all back up. I own a GM of that era and have found the electrical connectors to be the flimsiest and cheapest I’ve ever had on any car. mark9207 is right that the sensors are built into the wheel bearings so the sensors can’t be cleaned. But part of what is inspected should be the wheel bearings. Have all of that checked and see what happens. This could just be the first sign that you need a new wheel bearing.

Car is safe. May just be a broken or chaffed wire to the sensor. Cheap fix.

I have a 2016 Jeep Patriot, Abs warning light will not go off. Going to work I had to brake at light the brakes became hard, as if I had emergency brake on. The warning light will not go off.

Instead of tagging onto a 6 year old thread regarding a Pontiac, you should create your own thread for your question. In the upper right area of the site’s home screen, click on the button that is labeled "+ New Topic".