Used Car Morality question - fix abs before selling?


#1

I have a 2002 Sienna with 150K miles. It is/has been a good reliable car and I am thinking of replacing it. It is worth about $6000.
The problem is that every couple of months I get rear wheel speed sensor alarms that cause check engine and abs lights on the dash. I can reset the error and it will come up maybe 2-3 months later.
From checking others solution to the problem online it costs say $50 for a replacement sensor, but it was frequently the ABS computer at $1700 new.
My wife says I shouldn’t sell the car if it loses the ABS from time to time, but that would be putting $2k into a $6K car.
My response was that cars didn’t even have ABS years ago.
Can you help??
Thanks
Need a Brake.


#2

Have you considered spending a few hundred to get it properly diagnosed?

Your car has a good 100,000 to 150,000 healthy miles still in it. IMHO it’d be foolish to get rid of it just because of this. Even if the worst case becomes true (which it rarely does) and it costs $1700 for a new computer (which I seriously doubt that it will), where else could you get a good reliable car for $1700?

Now, allow me to elaborate a bit on why I seriously doubt that the computer is bad. The computer requires a minimum number of spins of the wheel, a minimum number of times that the wheel turns, to determine that a sensor has failed. That’s probably why the code recurs with regular frequency. You’re resetting the code and it then starts its monitoring process all over from scratch and when sufficient mileage has passed it again registers a failure. If the computer were bad, the fault codes would probably be storing immediately again rather than after consistent operating periods.

I vote to get it diagnosed before making any decisions.


#3

First of,f it probably isn’t worth 6,000 with out the ABS working. Second, you should disclose this problem to any prospective buyer. And third, even if the ABS is not functioning you still have normal brakes.


#4

Thanks guys. This reinforces what I should do.
I appreciate.


#5

One inexpensive alternative is that the sensors are dirty. The sensors are mounted to the hub and monitor for differences in wheel speed between the 4 wheels. If a sensor is dirty, it doesn’t see the index mark on that particular hub and the system shows a fail condition. Some vehicles have sensors that can be dismounted and cleaned. Maybe your Sienna is one of them.

If you decide to sell it as is, you should tell the prospective buyer that the ABS is not working properly. Unless you choose to sell to all dealer. You never need to disclose any problems to them because they will check it before making an offer.


#6

PvtPublic essentially gave the same answer that I would have given, but I want to emphasize that-- while the vehicle is definitely saleable w/o reliably-functioning ABS–it is essential that you do full disclosure of this and any other known problems when selling it. Otherwise, bad karma will follow you for all your days.


#7

+1 for @VDCdriver .


#8

Just so you know, yes, that computer costs that kind of money.