Q: 2014 ford fusion service advancetrac message; ads, traction control, skid control and airbag lights lit up all at same time. Is th

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Driving up an overpass, warning came up on dash "hill-assist not available" then went to "service advancetrac". The steering suddenly became a little stiffer and the following lights came on: abs, traction control, stability control? (3rd light , beside traction controll), and airbag. Upon a test drive, I noticed that the left front wheel locks up when braking hard. How can I narrow down the problem without forking out $70 for a diagnostic that I can not afford at the moment.

ABS, traction and stability control systems rely on input from a number of sensors to function properly. Faults can be in any one of them from the brake light switch, steering angle sensor, wheel speed sensor, or up to a dozen others. Also, a fault code can be present for any of the sensors without the sensor itself being the actual fault. A wiring issue to that sensor or a fault in the abs/traction control computers can also be the cause. The only sure way to find out why the abs and traction control lights are on is to diagnose the system properly. The airbag light can be related if for example, the steering angle sensor is faulty as it provides input for the airbag system as well as abs, traction, and stability control systems. It can also be a stand-alone issue. When the system is scanned, fault codes will provide a direction to take in diagnosing the problem, but isn’t always as simple as replacing "Sensor A". Replacing parts without confirming they are actually the cause of the fault can be more expensive in the long run. Most electronic parts are not returnable once installed so if you replace a random part that does not correct the problem, you are stuck with the cost of that part and still have the same issue.

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