Question about 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Clicking noise when brake is applied

When I hit my brake there is a short series of about five ticking/clicking noises that sounds like it is coming from my dash, in the area of my steering wheel. The noise sounds the same as when I hit a slick spot and apply my brakes - the ABS I guess? My entire front brake system is less than six months old and my brakes are working fine.
A good friend that knows pretty much everything about cars is stumped. He drove it and checked a few things out and cannot determine the exact problem, but does think there is a bad sensor that may be triggering off my ABS system.

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  • Sstaci600 Jan 02, 2009

    The ABS light is not on...sorry.

    My friend did not say that he thought the problem was a faulty sensor with the ABS but perhaps a faulty sensor that is interferring with the ABS or some part of it.

    Sorry for the lack of clarity. Obviously I know nothing about cars! :)

  • Sstaci600 Jan 03, 2009

    Thanks so much for the response. I forwared a copy of my post and your response to my mechanic friend and he reminded me of two things that I forgot to include in my original post:

    1. My lighter unit works, but not with a lighter. We have used it for an air compressor and GPSwith no problems however, when we plug in a lighter, it blows the lighter, horn and interior ceiling light.

    2. When the clicking noise begins, my headlights dim in the same pattern with each click.

    Sorry again for leaving out more info.

  • onlyforbrian Apr 19, 2009

    I have a 99 cavalier with the same loud clicking coming from the abs/master cylinder unit. With the abs harness plugged in, the abs light is off on the dash, signalling that everything is normal, and applying the brakes on dry roads, the brakes appear to work fine, except for the very loud clicking. I have news for you!!! On snowy, wet, or icy roads, you will discover that in fact, the abs is NOT working properly and in fact the abs is in a VERY DANGEROUS state! I almost rear-ended a few people because I quickly discovered that the ABS was applying and releasing, and locking up the brakes intermittently..1 or 2 seconds of normal appearing brakes, the whammo!! Suddenly NO BRAKES AT ALL for a few seconds, even though my foot is still on the brake peddle, then maybe they will completely lock up for a few seconds and release again..scared the hell out of me. Strangely, if I unplugged the abs unit harness, so I had no abs at all, the brakes worked fine on any road condition ( but then the ABS lite was now on, on the dash). So I know the master cylinder is okay and there is no air in the lines or problems with the brakes.The problem lies with the abs somehow. My brother is a GM mechanic, he thought there might be an air lock in the abs unit , so we bled the abs, and that did not fix the problem, now he is baffled. My only next idea is to pick up another abs/master cylinder unit. It is amazing GM does not have a memo out on this as, I see now, more than one person has encountered this problem.

  • bacik2 Apr 20, 2009

    My 98 cavalier is doing the exact same thing with the ABS clicking and the headlights slightly dimming intime with the clicking. removing the ABS fuse stops the clicking. Obivously something in the ABS system is causing a false cycling, but you feel nothing odd in the brakes while it is doing this. There must be many Cavaliers with this problem so someone has to have come across the problem. I doubt we all have different reasons for the same problem.

  • Pierre Le Mesurier
    Pierre Le Mesurier May 11, 2010

    Usually if you have a faulty sensor, the ABS light should be on in the dashboard !!!

  • Anonymous Mar 21, 2014

    How much for repairs, told it was the right front wheel sensor



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Sounds like what is happening is one of your wheel speed sensors is dropping out when you slow down and this is triggering abs unit. it would not cut abs light on because system thinks one wheel is locking up just like when you are on ice. need to read data while driving and see what is going on when it activates.

Posted on Jan 02, 2009

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I miss the days when cars let YOU make the decision. Now there is an "Electronic Committee (your car's computer)" that decides what is best for you. I just had my 98 Cavalier Electronic Committee replaced for over $1k and the car runs worse than when it was in the 100 mile "limp mode". Don't get me wrong -- the car has been very good to me (122k miles), but when it starts going bad there is a Sensor for everything. I need an Org Chart for my car's Electronic Committee!!

Posted on Aug 06, 2010


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