How to Tell Which Wheel Speed Sensor Is Bad

How to Tell Which Wheel Speed Sensor Is Bad

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Drivers across the US can not deny the assistance of the wheel speed sensor. This device is known as an ABS sensor and controls the vehicle’s functions, including traction control, anti-lock braking systems, and the vehicle’s speed. The sensor is engineered behind the hub of a drive tire. It is responsible for recording the actual wheel speed and provides data to the ECU, which manages the cars’ electronic functions. If the wheel speed sensor is wrong, it will impact the vehicle’s operation. Plus, you’ll be notified sure warning signs to the driver as they drive. In this guide, we shall talk about the symptoms of a bad wheel speed sensor. This sensor will understand how well the wheel speed is working compared to the voltage output. You can test the wheel speed sensor with a voltmeter and know more about its warning signs shortly. Read us below and discover, How to tell which wheel speed sensor is bad?

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Wheel Speed Sensor

  • The wheel speed sensor monitors the anti-lock braking system of a vehicle. Sometimes, the sensor is worn out, disconnected, and stuck by debris. The ABS light is then illuminated on the dashboard and signals to replace the wheel speed sensor more correctly. The ABS light is illustrated for a few reasons like ABS pump, worn-out brake pads, Air-locked brake lines, and low brake fluid levels. I have experienced this once I had issues with brake pressure. Once after getting notification from the ABS light dashboard, go to an experienced mechanic and fix the brake component failure or brake systems as soon as possible. It will help you out!

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Wheel Speed Sensor

  • If the wheel speed sensor is failing, it means the ABS is not working probably. The anti-lock braking system should be accelerated with the brake fluid. Besides, it is mandatory to engage the brake calipers and pads without locking up the tires. It slows your car and be responsible for the wheel speed to the ECU, similar to the wheel speed sensor. The ECU indulges the ABS, and let’s know you about how much the pressure to apply! Once in a lifetime, you’ll face the wheel speed sensor is broken. I experienced the sensor is not working as it should. Then, I found that the wheel speed sensor is affected by the ABS. If you drive your vehicle and press your brakes hard, you’ll find the front tires locked up! The reason for the situation still unknown. Contact a local mechanic (ASE certified) and tell him to inspect the problem. It would help if you did not ignore a safety concern ever. Do not drive until your vehicle is not be put off! Hand your vehicle over to a mechanic and tell him to diagnose the ABS and fix it like a case scenario. A faulty sensor needs to be replaced. It is mandatory.
  • The modern cars are engineered with the ‘Traction Control Light.’ The light is ‘ON’ if a driver turns the vehicle off. But, there is a science left behind. If you don’t turn your car off and you see the traction control is active, it means you are running with a faulty wheel speed sensor. We have previously said that the wheel speed sensor monitors the wheel speed and sends necessary data to the traction control system. Please take it as a warning sign of a broken wheel speed sensor! 

Therefore, the ABS and traction control is a safety device for your vehicle. It plays a significant role in ensuring the tire’s durability while the throttle is applied. The tires of your vehicle don’t get broken or loose if the sensor is connected. Even after turning the traction control light off, the light is on! Get a local mechanic immediately. The wheel speed sensor records the data of revolutions that your tire makes. The ECU gets notified each second with the valuable data. It’s a safe operation of your vehicle and above all the warning signs!

How to Test a Wheel Speed Sensor

Now, be familiar with testing a wheel speed sensor more easily. Indeed, most vehicles are structured with anti-lock brakes. The wheel speed sensor works with the anti-lock brake system. It works in conjunction with the interpreted tire speed. You get a magnetic signal through the wheel speed sensor. Your vehicle, along with the tires, gets important instructions to stop tire rotation or locks up. Besides, the anti-lock brake system is quite instructed by the speed sensor’s signal. You are benefited from the wheel to turn and relieve pressure from getting wheel speeds approximately. You can test the wheel speed sensor using a multimeter. Do you know how to do it? If not, read us below.  

Things you may need:How to Test a Wheel Speed Sensor

  • Owner’s manual
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Tire iron
  • Digital Multimeter (Voltmeter)
  • Flying leads
  • Torque wrench
  • Park your vehicle in a park and switch off the engine. Get the transmission in neutral or “Park” it. Hit the emergency brake on! 
  • Have you blocked your vehicle’s primary fuse? Well, be mindful of the owner’s manual. Check the engine compartment along with the kick panel (Driver’s side) and the glove box. Hopefully, you find the fuse block lid there! Remove it and locate the ABS fuse therein. The filament inside the fuse should be intact. If not intact, replace it mandatorily. 
  • Take a tire iron and loosen the lugs of the wheels. Well, I am not telling you to remove the lug nuts. A floor jack should be used this time to lift the front of the vehicle. Placing two jack stands will be a good idea. Do it under the wheel’s frame. Support the rear of the vehicle using jack stands. Then, remove the lug nuts and discharge the wheels aside. It can be done with the tire iron. 
  • Why not releasing the emergency brake now? Release it and keep the gearshift in neutral. Check the underneath of the front wheel and wires of the wheel speed sensor. The sensor is mounted on the rotor. Check the sensors, CV joint, and wheel hub gradually. The cables are sourced from a small plastic box. Disconnect the wire at the jack. Pull it with your fingers. Get a look at the two-pin connector. 
  • Here we go with our next step to measure resistance (ohms) with a multimeter. Connect the probes of the multimeter on the pins inside the connector. Connect the machine to the end of the sensor’s wire. What’s the ohm reading on the gauge? Note it! Rotate the wheel hub and hold the probes in place. Do the ohms number change after rotating the wheel hub? Remember that changing of ohm indicates to be a suitable sensor. If no changes in the ohm, the wheel sensor wire is must be broken or shorted.
  • Now, switch the multimeter set at 10 volts and established a flying lead between the wire connections. You can plug the FLYING LEAD’S female and male sides. Be mindful of the probing and get both wire sides of the jack connected. 
  • Tell your friend to turn the ignition key ‘ON.’ Check the voltage of the gauge. The average voltage is estimated between +5 or +12 volts. It depends on the ABS specifications. The exact number is referred to as your owner’s manual. Keeping the engine on, rotate the wheel hub, and see the voltage change if the wheel speed sensor is working correctly. The defective sensor does not change the voltage.  
  • WeePro Digital Multimeter DC AC Voltmeter

I’m impressed with this unit. You’ll be too. Let’s discuss a bit about the voltmeter. It is a pure electric tester (Ohmmeter). It detects the ‘Diode and Continuity.’ After all, it is a versatile digital multimeter and suitable for household and industrial use—a great product to get compatible with Light fuses, Batteries, and Sensors. Our friends have called this voltmeter the most renowned charging system. Besides, you can troubleshoot the speed and accuracy with this multimeter. 2X rate per second is a significant feature of this product. As a professional’s thought, the voltmeter gives high polarity in negative and positive readings. You’ll be notified with the over-load indication of battery power and circuit. It is not that pricy anymore. Give this a try. The voltmeter is appeared to be in a high-quality structure. We love about this WeePro Multimeter being equipped with all the bells and whistles, including blue lighted, continuity tone,..etc. 

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  • A digital multimeter
  • 90-day return refund guarantee
  • Built-in a backlight (1999 count) LCD 

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  • Powerbuilt 940559 20″ Universal Lug Wrench

A great try! The manufacturer will get the item delivered fast. You will love this wrench for its chrome plated and polished carbon steel design. I have experienced the size was perfect for the cubby hole. Besides, as before socket size, it is an ideal fit as expected. You can put tape or paint the area you use most! Then, the speed will be up to the process. You can use this lug wrench if changing a driver’s side tire or working on a busy highway. Check the lug nuts before going on the next trip. The Powerbuilt Lug Wrench will work correctly for the modern air ratchets as these ratchets put nuts on so tight. The superman may get in trouble getting the hard nuts off! However, get a good star wrench. You can get nuts loose initially. Choose this! 

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Additional tips:

Check the rest of the sensors that are connected to wheel speed following this same procedure. The difference in the ohm or voltage indicates a wire break, short, or a defective sensor. Reconnect the wheel speed sensor jacks once finished the operation. Reinstall the wheels and tighten the lug nuts using a tire iron. Be humble to the manufacturer’s specifications. 


Now, you must have read the ways how to tell which wheel speed sensor is terrible! Using a voltmeter, you get a reading to the ABS sensor. Isn’t it interesting? You can even clean the ABS reluctor or the wheel speed sensor to get a good lesson. Still, if you find the reading incorrect, contact the sensor replaced. Instead of the sensors, lousy wiring is responsible for causing the ABS light. Now, you know all about voltmeter, ohms, and a wiring diagram. Be able to diagnose and find errors in the ABS sensor and fix your wheel speed sensor in no time. Good luck!

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