The Complete Guide About Wheel Speed Sensor Of Cars


The wheel speed sensor is crucial to let you know when informing a danger. This article will explain everything about it.

Your vehicle’s ABS system is one of the unsung heroes of the vehicle that has been dedicated for your safety. It lets you have a smooth drive along with effortless and safe braking. You might have forgotten about this feature as it doesn’t require maintenance or the replacement too often. When it compared with the mechanical parts of the vehicle, you will be able to use ABS infinite times. However, you should keep your eyes open regarding this ABS system as you may walk into danger without it.

As a vehicle owner, you should remember that ABS system’s wheel speed sensor is the only part that can senses you are in danger and let you know. This article will explain everything you need to know about the wheel speed sensor or the ABS sensor.

Table of Contents

How To Identify A Bad ABS Sensor

The identification of a bad or a faulty wheel speed sensor is essential due to many reasons. Since your car depend on lots of things regarding the ABS sensor, you cannot risk any of them. This is how to identify a faulty ABS sensor.

ABS Warning Sign On Dashboard

The easiest and the most common way of indicating a faulty wheel speed sensor is the dashboard. You should have an understanding about the ABS sign on the dashboard as it is shown before starting the car. When it comes to a faulty or a damaged ABS sensor, your dashboard indicates that while driving.  The warning sign either can be indicated either illuminating, blinking or stably on the dashboard as well. Deposition of debris on the ABS sensor, worn-out brake pads, error in the ABS electrical system, faulty ABS pump and many things could have gone wrong to show this sign.

Having To Put Lots Of Effort To Stop The Car

Although your dash doesn’t send the message to you regarding the faulty ABS sensor as soon as it broke, you may notice it. You must have felt of the ABS as a convenient thing that could make things easy for you. Simply, you can stop the car without putting much effort on the brake pedal. It is a thing that can be mentioned equal to the power steering. As a modern car driver, you can turn the car without putting much effort when compared to an old day car driver. When it comes to a faulty wheel speed sensor, you will not be able to stop the car easily, without putting much effort.

Abs Will Not Work Properly

The main objective of the ABS sensor is to enable a smooth driving without locking the brake system. As you might know what the braking system does is to stop the car. It doesn’t mind wearing and tearing of the road or even the traction. When it comes to the ABS system, your car will not stop the car but enable a smooth stopping to you and your vehicle at the same time. When there is a problem with the ABS sensor, your car won’t stop although you apply brakes. Even if the vehicle stops, you will feel lots of strange things while braking. Not stopping quickly as early, vibration, dragging the car onto a side, tire locking, and smoke coming out of the tires are few signs you may observe.

Loss Of Control

Although ABS means braking as the first look, there are two more important things that can get from the ABS system, Stability and the control of the vehicle. When your wheel speed sensor is not working properly, you will lose both stability and the control along with the ABS. If you feel like the vehicle is moving without control even if you apply brake that will be a sign of a faulty wheel speed sensor.

Traction Control Light

Traction control light is one of the features that can be seen on the latest cars. When you have such one, your car will indicate you about a specific situation about the traction. Your vehicle’s ABS system mostly depends on the traction and the stability. When there is something fishy about the traction, your car will notify you about that. You should remember that the traction can mean lots of things such as increased rolling ability, slipping, and spinning.  Although there are lots of warnings indicate by the traction control light, you will be able to identify a faulty wheel speed sensor along with other symptoms.

How To Clean The Wheel Speed Sensor

The triggering of the ABS signal on dashboard can happen due to various reasons. Among them, the deposition of dust or clogging will also be there. Therefore, it is essential to keep the ABS sensor off the dust and other material that can trigger a fake warning on the dashboard. Besides, it help you to avoid faulty ABS system as well.

Step 01

You should park the vehicle on a flat surface and set the parking brakes. Also, you must not keep the engine running at any cost. Although there is the ABS signal on the dashboard, you may check it after cleaning the ABS sensor.

Step 02

You should remove the lug nuts as the next step. You must not remove them yet as there is more work you should do.

Step 03

You should jack up the car as the next step. You may use your vehicle’s kit to do that. Also, now you are okay to remove the lug nuts and wheels. You must keep the lug nuts on a place where you can retrieve after cleaning the ABS sensor.

Step 04

You may remove the ABS sensor now as you just removed the wheel and the wheel speed sensor or the ABS sensor will be visible to you.  You may identify it along with the wire that coming out of the wheel hub. When you want to remove the sensor, you will have to remove a 10mm bolt as well.  If the bolt is rust, you will have to apply penetrating oil and wait for some time.

Step 05

The use of a cleaning rag is the best way to clean the ABS sensor. However, you should not use any cleaning solution as you may damage the sensor. You don’t have to worry of any damage except that as ABS sensor is easy to clean. You may simply remove any dirt or clogging that trigger the ABS warning sign on the dashboard. 

Step 06

After the cleaning the wheel speed sensor, you may install it again. The best thing to do after that is checking the vehicle’s dashboard to see if the warning is still there. If you see the wheel speed sensor warning again and again, you will have to take the sensor to the spare part mart and purchase a new one.

Step 07

You may reinstall the wheel after fixing the lug nuts.

Now you are okay to go.


What will happen if I have a bad wheel speed sensor?

Stability and traction are the things controlled by the wheel speed sensor. If you have a bad wheel speed sensor, you will lose the control of those things. It means, simply your vehicle will lose the control on road. Also, there are other things that you might have to face such as hill-start aid and rolling disability.

Can I drive my vehicle with a bad wheel speed sensor?

Of course, you will be able to drive your vehicle as much as you want. But, the problem will be about the safety as your vehicle will lose the control on slippery roads basically. Therefore, you will have to go for the replacement if you have a worn out or damaged wheel speed sensor.

How much will it cost to replace a wheel speed sensor?

That depends on lots of factors such as vehicle model, region, and the government policies on the taxes. Usually, if you are around the USA or in a country where the conditions are favored, you will be able to replace a wheel speed sensor around a cost of $250.

Our ABS sensor and the wheel speed sensor the same?

Yes. ABS sensor is called wheel speed sensor by the professionals. The same sensor is known as the ABS brake sensor as well.

Will a bad wheel speed sensor affect the transmission?

Yes, you will have to face problems related to the transmission as well as delayed gear shifting in the end. Since there is a problem in the stability and the traction, driving will not be an easy thing either.

How long can I use my wheel speed sensor?

The average service period of a wheel speed sensor lies on the mileage of the vehicle. It can be as long as 80,000km to 100,000km under favorable conditions such as smooth roads, well maintenance and the exposure to the dirt.  When it comes to unfavorable conditions, you will have to replace it once in 35,000km as well.

How long does it take to replace a wheel speed sensor?

If you have the right tools and the required knowledge, you will be able to replace it within an hour. When it comes to a novice, he will have to spend more than a couple of hours to do that.

Is it normal to have grease on the wheel speed sensor?

Yes. The wheel speed sensor is supposed to have grease on it.

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