While driving the brakes locked up and will not release?

Tiny
GHOSTQAT
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 KIA RONDO
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
While driving (it's my mother's car and she was driving), the brakes suddenly locked up, bringing the car to stop and won't release. I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the battery and fuses to hopefully reset the electronics, but it didn't help.

This happened a few weeks ago and my mother took it to get checked out. Supposedly it's the ABS module.

What I'm looking for,
How can I confirm it is the ABS module that's bad?
If it is the ABS module, what do I need to know to fix it?

Notes,
My mother and I are complete amateurs. We replaced my alternator (didn't need to move anything out of the way though) and replaced spark plugs, and that's the sum of our experience.
Also, we are homeless, living out of our cars, so we don't have common resources like garages, driveways, 120v power sockets, etc.

We are willing to try replacing it ourselves but working with fluids is a step up from what we've done before, and we've never worked on brakes in any capacity either. Thus, I don't want to be blindsided by something from our inexperience.

Also note, we are literally broke. I'm driving uber eats just make enough money for gas and food each day, and not doing a good job of keeping up. So, buying a bunch of expensive tools or gear is not much of an option, though we thankfully have a socket set and a few other basic tools.
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Monday, August 8th, 2022 AT 5:46 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

To check the ABS module would require a scan tool that can communicate with the module itself to see if it responds. However, I doubt the ABS module has caused the brakes to lock up. Are all wheels locked or is it one or two?

Do me a favor. Safely lift one wheel at a time off the ground and see if the wheels are all locked. If they aren't, there is a chance one of the brake calipers has frozen or even one of the rubber brake hoses has failed.

If you do find one of the wheels has locked and not everything, I need you to open the bleeder on the brake caliper to see if the brake releases. I attached a pic below showing what to look for. If you do open it, only leave it open long enough to check if the wheel starts to turn. Once that determination is made, close it.

Let me know what you find.

Joe

See pic below.
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Monday, August 8th, 2022 AT 11:45 PM
Tiny
GHOSTQAT
  • MEMBER
Sorry for taking so long to reply. It has been a rather hectic and uncomfortable time.

All wheels were locked up, which was a pain to get towed.

However, as an update and hopeful resolution, a new mechanic took an actual look at it and realized someone put engine oil in the brake fluid. Since we never touched the brake fluid, we can only guess that it was the last mechanic that actually worked on the car since they really hated us for some reason (their boss was nice enough though).
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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 AT 3:37 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Wow! That would certainly cause it. The problem now is how the oil affected the rubber components. Anytime I've been faced with this type of issue, I end up replacing everything related to hydraulics in the brake system. Did the new guy indicate that?

Also, if you have the receipt from the last place that worked on it, I would check if they added brake fluid. If they did, I would go after them for the repairs. It can be expensive.

Let me know.

Joe
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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 AT 7:19 PM

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