The Right Time For A Brake Line Repair

A wheel speed sensor as the name senses the speed of a wheel. The sensor reads the total number of wheel rotation and informs the driver about the same. So, you can say that it works like a tachometer. Today, we will learn about “how to test wheel speed sensor” when you think it malfunctions, so that the smooth driving doesn’t stop.

There is an easy and quick method to do the speed sensor test.

How To Test Wheel Speed Sensor: Stay Away From Getting Penalized

Keeping up with the speed sensor is essential as it lets the driver know about the speed. This way, he drives in a controlled manner. In the US, you easily get penalized as the speeding tickets. These tickets affect your overall driving record, which can get you in trouble while you opt for a job or vehicle’s insurance.

We will talk about the wheel speed sensor in a more detailed way: In order to distinguish whether the sensor is faulty or not, we use the stator ring. The faster the stator ring spins, the more voltage is generated. Car owners can connect a code tool with the purpose of pinning the sensor. They can also check them manually. 

When the speed sensor works fine, you know the driving speed so you can control it accordingly. It is, in fact, the most important thing that any driver would want. Let’s get to the method of testing a speed sensor

Prepping the Car

When you are ready to test the speed sensor, you first need to prepare your car. Set your vehicle on the ground level and turn the engine off. Taking “how to test wheel speed sensor” further, use the transmission in the park settings along with the emergency brake.

You need to use a jack to lift your car for removing the tire for part replacement purpose and testing. This allows testing the sensor since your vehicle gets in the correct position. Keep all the tools handy, so you don’t rush around for grabbing them.

Here are the tools you need: 

  • Your car’s manual
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Tire iron
  • Assistant
  • Voltmeter
  • Flying leads
  • Torque wrenc

    Preparing car for this test is important
    Speed Sensor Test on time can help you in saving yourself from penalizing (Photo Source: dummies)

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Going On with the Steps – Removing the Connector

Get to the wheel speed sensor once your car is high on the jack, and you have removed the wheel. There, you need to locate the electrical connector. In most of the cases, it is located near the frame of the wheel. New car owners are usually confused by other wiring harnesses that connect with the wheel, brake pad wear sensor for example. 

Disconnect the sensor wire by unlocking the safety clasp and pull it away gently. This will expose the sensor terminals that you will need for testing purposes. Along with these terminals, you can also see the voltmeter probes.

Working with the Voltmeter

Those terminals that you exposed are going to be used with the voltmeter. You see those probes in the voltmeter, these probes should be attached with the terminals of the sensor. You should make use of those alligator clips that come with the meter to securely attach the sensor.

While attaching the sensor’s terminals for wheel speed sensor testing, make sure you do not let the probes touch each other. Failure to do so will make the sensor unable to give proper results. 

Voltmeter that has handheld probes is most likely to cause the readings to fluctuate. Avoid having these probes if you want accurate readings. This will overall make the testing fairly easy.

When you see those probes and terminals connected well, it is time to turn the AC voltage on. You can immediately see the readings on the meter going up and down. This indicates that the sensor is ready to be tested.

Probes in the voltmeter are attached to the terminal of the sensor
Test the sensor using the voltmeter (Photo Source: autometer)

Getting on to the Test Finally

Now we finally get on the test progress. We understand that the wheel or hub creates voltage while observing the voltmeter spin, since it depends on the speed. 

To get the readings on the voltmeter, you need to spin that wheel or the hub. The readings vary as per the speed of the wheel. Accordingly, it presents the readings in the meter that go down to zero once the wheel stops.

If you can see the readings appearing in the meter when you spin the wheel, it indicates that the sensor is working. However, when there is no reading on the meter regardless of the spinning, it indicates that the sensor has gone bad, and you should consider a replacement. Get cure for the most problems of your car here Maintenance Tips.

Tip: When you can’t find the sensor’s wire connector, take the assistance of the driver’s manual that comes along with your car.

Replacing the Wheel Speed Sensor

Once you are determined that there are no readings in the voltmeter, it means you need to replace the speed sensor. Get to the nuts or any clips holding the sensor and unscrew them. This will detach the sensor from the vehicle so you can take it off.

Before fitting in the new sensor, have a look at the area and look for any rust. Take sandpaper and scrape the surface where you are going to put the new sensor.

Once the new sensor gets in its place, tighten it using the screws or clips provided. Test the sensor using the voltmeter, and now it should show you the readings when you spin the wheel.

If you removed the brake pads and rotors to get the visibility of the speed sensor clear, put them back too.

Clean away the rust before replacing voltmeter
No readings in the voltmeter, it means there is a need to replace the voltmeter (Photo Source:pakwheels)

This way, you need to put everything back in order or assemble the parts correctly. Once you are done with the brake pads and sensor parts, it is about placing those wheels back onto the hubs. Fit all of them snugly and tighten using the lug nuts using a ratchet and socket.

Make use of the jack again and get the vehicle in place using the jack stand. Lower the vehicle until it comes to the ground to the default position.

It is time to torque the wheel or use those lug nuts to fit the wheel to the vehicle. Use the nuts and tighten them up using your hands. Once they seem to fit snugly there, use a torque wrench.

The torque wrench should be set as per the torque capacity of your vehicle. Use the manual to find your car’s torque range and set it accordingly. Now, get to those nuts and set them even securely using the torque wrench. You should be done in a minute or two!


It is important to call a professional in case you have any issue
Park the car on level ground at emergency brake set to begin testing wheel speed sensor (Photo Source: rookiegarage)

In the last step, you are supposed to test drive the vehicle to make sure if everything works correctly. Observe the wheel speed sensor as well or if you are getting prompted about the current speed of the vehicle. And this is how to test wheel speed sensor along with replacing it if the sensor goes bad!