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98 cavalier what does ' ETS OFF ' warning light mean???

04-12-2004, 09:56 PM
I just purchased a 98 cavalier. The ETS OFF warning light appeared right before the check engine light. I do not have an owners manual. Does anyone know what ETS Off means?

Also I can't find the dip stick for the transmission.

04-12-2004, 10:39 PM
Electronic Traction System Off...that light should only come on if u put the car in 2nd gear or have the e-brake on...

04-13-2004, 12:40 AM
there are a lot of other reasons it could be off. Bad fuses, bad ETS module

04-13-2004, 05:50 AM
Thank you very much for your help. I will check the easy stuff first such as the e brake, fuses, then I will visit a mechanic for the rest. I have limited mechanical know how. But I suppose I will learn more as I go along.

04-21-2004, 12:59 AM
i have a 97' and my light comes on when i spin the tires or lose traction on the front at all

04-21-2004, 03:59 PM
the reason you can't find the tranny dipstick is because there isn't one.

04-24-2004, 08:25 PM
well I have checked the e brake, it is in drive but the ets off light still comes on when it feels the need. I may be on a newly paved road with all the smooth driving available. when the light is on the car seems to shift harder. it jerks a little when it changes gears. The trans fluid is fine. Hope I didn't buy a lemon. I guess time will tell.

07-15-2004, 09:53 AM
I just purchased a 98 cavalier. The ETS OFF warning light appeared right before the check engine light. I do not have an owners manual. Does anyone know what ETS Off means?

Also I can't find the dip stick for the transmission.

Hope I'm doing this right; first time and on break at work! How is this car working out for you? I have the 97 convertible. Got it used at a steal - I thought - expecting to spend some $ but seems it never ends. Need to replace motors in both windows. Already replaced transmission (never, never will again buy a car that I cannot personally check my fluid). I started having problems with the ETS Off light and engine light and was told by dealer no problem...worry about engine light only if flashing. Sometimes the ETS Off light is on, ABS light is on, and - get this - low traction light comes on when I'm driving along on a smooth, dry surface. I'm to get these checked out when I'm off next week because if I'm slowing to a stop when the low traction light comes on the car does some strange things.

Oh, did I mention the motors for the top need replaced, too? But for $1200 I can manually lower and raise the top! Good luck with your car! As we all know, a good mechanic is key!

07-15-2004, 09:26 PM
I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I heard that Auto Zone had the computer tester to see why the ets off light and the engine light would come on. I took it there and they determined that "throttle position sensor switch" was not putting out the proper output.
The part only cost me about $35.00. Since then it has given me no trouble at all. It was recommended to me to take any light that comes on seriously. And not to put it off to long to have it investigated.

Not being able to check my own transmission fluid bothers me also. I put some in it just to be on the safe side. My next vehicle will also have a way for me to check all of the fluids.

If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to email me at

07-17-2004, 12:56 AM
well my cav has the same thing a sealed system no dipstick.. they say is u leak some there is a problem but if not then there will never be a problm with it, but still have to have it changed. well i have had to have my motor replaced. blew a rod. and i lost some tranny fluid when pulling the motor so how do i know how much to put back in??

07-17-2004, 07:53 AM
I was told the car needed to be taken to the dealership or a transmission shop to be checked\changed. Recommended at least once every two years. My level for the transmission fluid may not be correct. But when I was playing what is wrong with it now. I took a shot at it. My 91 escort is sitting under the tree because I replaced the trans with a defective transmission and got the bad end of the deal on it. I refuse to put another in it.

07-18-2004, 10:10 AM
there is a way to check it underneith the car on the side of tranny there is a small plug you pull out and if tranny fluid drips out you are ok... but if nothing drips out you need to add. and if it pours out you have to much... it isnt that hard just getting to it can be

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