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Any Car junkies around? (96 Ford Contour Question)

urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
edited February 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I know this is my second thread of the week, and I'm sorry.

I own a 96 Ford Contour that has had problem after problem since buying it off a friend for $650 (who had no problem before that, go figure). Well on Thursday of last week my car wouldn't start... I'd turn the key and it made a really bad sound but never turned over. So I went and bought a new battery Sunday, and replaced it. To my surprise my car started up just fine, and, bonus, the check engine light was off! (Has been on since I got the car)

Today. I get the car started and drive down the street... Then the check engine light comes back on, and a few minutes later the ABS light comes on in my car. Now I've seen the ABS light come on before, but it normally quickly goes away, but it stayed on from the time it came on until I got to work. I've not turned it on yet to see if it's still going.

Now the question is: What is the ABS light? What is it telling me? Is it brake related? Almost a year ago I had some place redo my brakes because whenever I pressed my brake pedal down, the car would stop, but it would slowly roll forward if I didn't pump my brakes.

Is this related? I'm pretty scared to drive this thing home, and I can't afford another $800 car repair bill right now. I JUST got some headway on my damn credit card.

e: I just recently checked the oil and transmission fluid. Each seem fine.

urahonky on
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Posts

  • GonmunGonmun Canada eh!Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    It could be an issue with the wiring for the ABS sensor. I have a Cavalier and they are notorious for this (I've had it happen 3 times since I've owned the car). Normally when the light comes on it means that the abs is disabled and should be checked but of course your regular brakes will still work.

    Best advice would be to get it checked by a mechanic as they would be able to hook up a computer to check for any sensor issues as well as any physical issues with the brakes.

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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Gonmun wrote: »
    It could be an issue with the wiring for the ABS sensor. I have a Cavalier and they are notorious for this (I've had it happen 3 times since I've owned the car). Normally when the light comes on it means that the abs is disabled and should be checked but of course your regular brakes will still work.

    Best advice would be to get it checked by a mechanic as they would be able to hook up a computer to check for any sensor issues as well as any physical issues with the brakes.

    Yeah, further research suggests that this is a common issue with my car too. I'm just hoping it's not an underlying issue.

    Supposedly ABS is used to help stop on ice? So it should be safe to drive till I get my next paycheck then... I hope.

    Games completed recently: Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, On the Rain Precipice of Darkness 1-4.
    I will be at PAXEast this year! If you want to meet up send me a message!
  • UsagiUsagi WOMP WOMPRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    especially since you just bought the car having a mechanic run a diagnostic is not a bad idea, and at less than $90 it's not too expensive

    also have them check to make sure the alternator is charging the battery properly

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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Usagi wrote: »
    especially since you just bought the car having a mechanic run a diagnostic is not a bad idea, and at less than $90 it's not too expensive

    also have them check to make sure the alternator is charging the battery properly

    Ah sorry, I bought the car about 2 years ago. :P But when I bought it I've had nothing but problems with it, and my friend didn't have one major problem with it while he owned it.

    But yeah, if it's $90 I can afford that, but everytime I bring my car in to get a repair or something, it always ends up $400+.

    Games completed recently: Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, On the Rain Precipice of Darkness 1-4.
    I will be at PAXEast this year! If you want to meet up send me a message!
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User
    edited February 2009
    If you have an Autozone/some sort of shop like that, they should be able to pull the code for you for free. Then you can Google it/post it here and have some idea of what's going wrong.

    Also, ABS = Anti-lock Braking System. Makes it so that when you stomp the pedal, you don't lock the tires and skid.

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    urahonky wrote: »
    Gonmun wrote: »
    It could be an issue with the wiring for the ABS sensor. I have a Cavalier and they are notorious for this (I've had it happen 3 times since I've owned the car). Normally when the light comes on it means that the abs is disabled and should be checked but of course your regular brakes will still work.

    Best advice would be to get it checked by a mechanic as they would be able to hook up a computer to check for any sensor issues as well as any physical issues with the brakes.

    Yeah, further research suggests that this is a common issue with my car too. I'm just hoping it's not an underlying issue.

    Supposedly ABS is used to help stop on ice? So it should be safe to drive till I get my next paycheck then... I hope.

    ABS replaces "pumping the brakes" - when you slam on your breaks on a slippery surface (ice, rain-slicked pavement) it turns the brakes on and off, alternating much faster than you could possibly do yourself. This helps the car maintain steering ability while it slows down. It also helps the car stop faster on slippery surfaces than it would if the wheels just locked up.

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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Aha! No way, an Autozone can do that huh? I just bought the battery from them, so I'll get them to do that. Thanks PF! :)

    Also, thanks for the explanation tsmvengy, so right now (no ice/rain) I should be okay. Hell I never really pressed my brakes all that hard anyway, especially when it's rainy/icy. But hopefully it doesn't come back on when I get back to my car in about an hour.

    It was really, REALLY cold this morning so I thought maybe that could have something to do with it.

    Games completed recently: Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, On the Rain Precipice of Darkness 1-4.
    I will be at PAXEast this year! If you want to meet up send me a message!
  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    What ABS is really for is allowing you to maintain some control of your car when braking, so you can steer instead of sliding right into things.

    Also, if you haven't experienced the pushback of ABS, be warned--it's not hard or anything, but it can be startling the first time you experience it. Remember to keep your foot down on the pedal, otherwise you're defeating the purpose.

    [Edit]
    Also, my buddy's got an Alero and it's ABS light is always on. Our friend with an autobody shop says it's just the sensor and everything's actually fine. So, you may find out that this is something you can just ignore. I'd just be extra aware of how my ABS and brakes are performing, since the light won't tell you when something goes wrong (if it's on all the time).

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    urahonky wrote: »
    Aha! No way, an Autozone can do that huh? I just bought the battery from them, so I'll get them to do that. Thanks PF! :)

    Also, thanks for the explanation tsmvengy, so right now (no ice/rain) I should be okay. Hell I never really pressed my brakes all that hard anyway, especially when it's rainy/icy. But hopefully it doesn't come back on when I get back to my car in about an hour.

    It was really, REALLY cold this morning so I thought maybe that could have something to do with it.

    No—if you have a malfunctioning ABS system, you will not be able to effectively brake in any emergency situation.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    So I got to my car after work (about 30 minutes ago) and the ABS light was off... All the way till I got onto the interstate. Then when I got to the Shell gas station to fill the air in my tires, and turned my car on again... It was off the rest of the way home. This confuses the hell out of me.

    Games completed recently: Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, On the Rain Precipice of Darkness 1-4.
    I will be at PAXEast this year! If you want to meet up send me a message!
  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Captain East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Aha! No way, an Autozone can do that huh? I just bought the battery from them, so I'll get them to do that. Thanks PF! :)

    Also, thanks for the explanation tsmvengy, so right now (no ice/rain) I should be okay. Hell I never really pressed my brakes all that hard anyway, especially when it's rainy/icy. But hopefully it doesn't come back on when I get back to my car in about an hour.

    It was really, REALLY cold this morning so I thought maybe that could have something to do with it.

    No—if you have a malfunctioning ABS system, you will not be able to effectively brake in any emergency situation.

    If you slam them on harshly. If you pressure in a controlled manner you'll be fine.

    Anyway, if you've ever felt like someone is tapping your break pedal as you step down on them, that's your ABS. Scared the bejesus out of me the first time I got my new car.



  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Aha! No way, an Autozone can do that huh? I just bought the battery from them, so I'll get them to do that. Thanks PF! :)

    Also, thanks for the explanation tsmvengy, so right now (no ice/rain) I should be okay. Hell I never really pressed my brakes all that hard anyway, especially when it's rainy/icy. But hopefully it doesn't come back on when I get back to my car in about an hour.

    It was really, REALLY cold this morning so I thought maybe that could have something to do with it.

    No—if you have a malfunctioning ABS system, you will not be able to effectively brake in any emergency situation.

    If you slam them on harshly. If you pressure in a controlled manner you'll be fine.

    Anyway, if you've ever felt like someone is tapping your break pedal as you step down on them, that's your ABS. Scared the bejesus out of me the first time I got my new car.

    Slamming them harshly in an emergency is exactly what you're supposed to do with a car with ABS.

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