Question about 2002 Nissan Maxima

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ABS light comes on while driving on highway, vehicle self-stops

Hi! I have a 2002 Nissan Maxima SE, which has been driving fine. However, recently, while I was driving on the highway, the ABS suddenly comes on, and the vehicle automatically slowed down and stopped. It took me a couple rounds of shut-down and re-ignite before the light goes away and vehicle becomes drivable again. Please help! I certainly don't want such things to happen when a big truck is behind me! Horrible!

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  • leerobin May 15, 2010

    Thanks a lot for the advice from rylee_smith. Sorry that I didn't include all the details in my original post. And I fear I didn't describe that clearly enough when rylee_smith responded. Now that I added some more info, anyone else can provide more advices? Thanks a lot!

  • leerobin May 18, 2010

    I haven't got a chance to test the solution yet. But I appreciate your input. And I will comment again when I do the check. Thanks again!



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Thanks for using FixYa. To start with check the Speed Sensor on the front and rear. Usually the issue is with the rear speed sensor which can be replaced easily and will cost you around $25-$40. There is a sensor at the top of the rear differential for the ABS system. When the ABS sensor on the diff goes bad the Speedo no longer will work, the odometer stops recording mileage and both brake and ABS light comes on. You also loose O/D or "Lock-up" in the torque converter. The sensor is inexpensive and can be changed in about 30 mins. Please do accept the solution if the issue is resolved or else revert for further assistance.


Posted on May 15, 2010

  • 3 more comments 
  • leerobin May 15, 2010

    Thank you for your help! I haven't tried it yet, but I certainly will. I have one more question though: I forgot to mention that the battery light came on at the same time as the ABS light. Will that change the situation? Also, is it difficult to replace the sensor? Do you think I can do it myself, or do I have to take it to garage. Or would you recommend to take it to Nissan dealership? I am trying to avoid going to dealership due to the cost. Thanks!

  • Rylee Smith
    Rylee Smith May 15, 2010

    Yes right, the solution remains same and you can replace
    rear differential speed sensor yourself by following these step by step instructions:
    Remove parking brake cable bracket (1/2" socket)

    Remove speed sensor bolt (9/16" deep socket)

    Remove metal speed sensor cover

    Remove speed sensor from rear differential housing (use channel lock pliers,
    twist gently back and forth while applying upward pressure. Once the speed
    sensor has a small gap between it and the rear differential housing, insert a
    flat-blade screwdriver and gently apply upward pressure while gently twisting
    speed sensor back and forth.

    Disconnect speed sensor from speed sensor cable

    Lubricate new sensor with WD-40, insert into rear differential housing. It will
    NOT go in all the way by hand, so do NOT force it nor hit it with anything made
    out of metal.

    Replace metal speed sensor cover

    Insert speed sensor bolt and tighten LIGHTLY until a small amount of pressure
    is felt. Tap speed sensor with rubber hammer until it pops into housing. Finish
    tightening of speed sensor bolt.

    Replace brake cable bracket, replace 1/2" nut and tighten

    Disconnect positive battery cable for 2 minutes, reconnect positive battery

    Please do accept the
    solution if the issue is resolved or post a comment for further assistance.



  • leerobin May 15, 2010

    Thanks for the ultra-fast response. As a matter of fact, I am asking this for a friend, who is right now having the issue on the highway. I just talked to her and she told me some extra information. She feels that there is an accelaration issue. She said that the accelaration is soft and feels like it is not smoothly speeding up when stepped on the gas, i.e. accelerate, halt,accelarate, and so on. And when she reaches 50 mph, the lights come on and stop. Is this consistent with what you just told me? Or is it something not relevant? Sorry my language is bad. Hope you understand what I am talking about.

  • Rylee Smith
    Rylee Smith May 16, 2010

    The solution remains the same and I still believe its the speed sensor on the front and/or rear. Please do accept the solution if the issue is resolved or else revert for further assistance.


  • leerobin May 16, 2010

    Thank you for your help! I'll try it. Thanks again!



Check the brake fluid level in addition to the sensors. Often the reservoir is translucent and you can see the level without taking the cap off. If the fluid is low, only top up with brake fluid. Then check all four wheels for any sign of leakage. The best thing to do is have the ABS computer scanned with a scan tool and it will give you an error code. Write the code down and look in the back of a Haynes repair manual and it will pinpoint the exact location of your problem. This will save you time and money. Click on the link to read more on this issue:

Posted on May 15, 2010

  • leerobin May 16, 2010

    Thanks! I'll try it!



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