Lights keep coming on


Old 06-23-08, 04:19 PM
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Lights keep coming on

I am in the process of buying a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. We were going to pick it up Sunday, then the man called and said their was 3 lights that came on at the same time while he was driving it. The check engine, abs, and traction control were the three culprits.

He carried the car to a respectable mechanic and he hooked it up to an expensive machine. It coded that the problem was a speed sensor. The mechanic told him to be on the safe side, it would be best to change out both of the speed sensors, one on each side of the car. So he had both of them replaced.

After having the speed sensors replaced, he drove the cavalier about 120 miles roundtrip. When he left the mechanic's shop, the 3 lights were off, then about 8 to 10 miles down the road, they came on again and stayed on till he stopped. After shutting the car off, and it sat for a little while, he got back in it and the same scenario occurred. All the lights were off, then about 10 miles down the road, all 3 lights came on again.

After returning back home, he called the mechanic to tell him about the problem. The mechanic told him that before he replaced the 2 speed sensors, he did not knock the lights out. He told him to disconnect the battery cables for a little while, then hook them back up and drive it again and see what happens.

The owner of the Cavalier said the car is running great, no problems whatsoever. But he doesn't want to sell the car to me without trying to get the problem corrected. I know when lights come on in cars, it scares people because something is causing them to come on, and in this case all 3 are coming on at the same time, and staying on.

I don't know what to do. This is a really nice Cavalier, but I don't know if I should buy it. He is an honest man that is trying to work with me. He told me earlier that he really feels bad that this is happening. He spent over a $100 today for the 2 speed sensors and the cost of having them put on.

He has already priced the car very reasonable to me. He said if he couldn't figure out any thing else to do that would stop these 3 lights from coming on, that if I still wanted the car, he would drop the price even more, and i could take it to someone around where I live, to see if they could figure it out.

So, that's where I stand. I live about 2 hours away from the owner. I would like to see the car and drive it. He has sent several pictures of the car, and it is in good shape. But, should I take a risk and buy it, if all 3 of these lights keep staying on? He promised me several times that the car is running perfectly. He told me he set the cruise control on 80 today while driving on his 120 mile trip. He said the car never hesitated or done any thing out of the ordinary.

So, any advice would be appreciated. Sorry about my post being so long. Thank You.

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Old 06-23-08, 04:28 PM
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Ask him if the ABS sensors were replaced....that's what it sounds like, not the speed sensors. I don't think this issue would deter my from buying a vehicle, but would want the seller to knock some money off.
Old 06-23-08, 05:22 PM
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ABS sensors Vs. Wheel speed sensors = Same thing! The technician is not getting to the root cause of the problem. The sensor(s) may have been bad but a problem still exists. It may be a problem of water intrusion is a sensor circuit. ABS sensors generally don't set of a check engine light so there may be an additional problem here. Some ABS problems can be expensive, I don't think I would buy the car until I was convinced it was fixed, unless I got a good discount on it.
Old 06-24-08, 04:21 PM
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If I recall correctly, ABS wheel speed sensors are part of a "HUB" assembly???? Should be quite a bit more than 100 dollars......EACH....
There technically is no reset for an ABS lamp.. if the system sees everything it expects to see after a repair, driving the vehicle in a straight line at over 20 MPH, shuts the light out. Just a hunch, but it is common for the wiring to get damaged by not being routed properly , and getting cut or torn by the spinning CV shaft.

Wheel speed sensors are also responsible for "Traction Control" input signals, so Chances are good that the ABS, and TRAC problems are related . C/E light is unrelated to either, that I can think of, and should be diagnosed as a separate issue. Unless your getting a super deal on the car, RUN.....
I know when lights come on in cars, it scares people because something is causing them to come on, and in this case all 3 are coming on at the same time, and staying on.
AS well it should.......Warning lamps are the vehicles only way to let you know that something is not right......The severity of the problems vary, but nonetheless, SOMETHING IS WRONG!!!!!! I lived thru an age in this trade of watching Top notch Techs fix cars, and shade trees putting electrical tape over the dash so the customer didnt have to look at "THe Annoying Yellow Light"..... That yellow light is trying to tell you something, and unless you listen, it only gets worse.
Old 06-25-08, 07:31 AM
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the check engine and traction control is probably coming on due to the same problem the abs may have its own seperate issue seeing how the owner has already spent some money attempting to fix the problem I would probably see if the owner would return it to the shop and see if the problem could be fixed before buying. even if it seems like a good deal, without knowing whats wrong you have no idea how much it will cost to fix the car.
Old 06-25-08, 04:02 PM
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here's a friendly suggestion when buying a used car: if in doubt, step away from it. with used cars, you never know what you get, a diamond or a pig in a poke. so, golden rule is - if in slightest doubt, don't buy it.
check out craigslist. there are MANY cars there that are more than reasonably priced if you have cash on hand.
Old 06-25-08, 10:51 PM
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guy called me back today, still no answer. what he didn't know was this, I was on my way to look at another car, which I ended up buying. i called and left him a message and told him that i appreciated him trying, but i wasn't going to buy the cavalier.

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