ABS Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement

Step by step guide on how to replace an ABS wheel speed sensor, depending on design the sensor can be made separately or it could be integrated into the wheel bearing assembly.

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Replacement Wheel Speed Sensor
  • Tool set
  • Shop towels
  • Protective eye wear
  • Work gloves
Before you begin make sure to park the car on level ground with the emergency brake on. If the vehicle needs to be raised do so safely with jack stands rated to hold the weight of your vehicle.

Step 1 - After the lifting the vehicle loosen and remove the lug nuts and remove the tire.

Removing Wheel
Step 2 - Once the tire has been removed, locate and remove the brake caliper mounting bolts.

Removing the Caliper Mounting Bolts
Step 3 - After the bolts have been remove, grasp the caliper and rock it back and forth slightly to loosen to remove, then place it in a secure spot do not allow the caliper to hang by the brake hose.

Remove Brake Caliper
Step 4 - Remove both brake pads and place in a clean area, never allow grease to connect the pad surface.

Remove Brake Pads
Step 5 - Loosen and remove the brake caliper bracket mounting bolts and remove the bracket.

Remove Brake Caliper Mounting Bolts
Step 6 - Once the caliper mounting bracket has been removed use a hammer to shock (if needed) the rotor loose to remove.

Remove Brake Rotor
Step 7 - After the rotor has been removed, it will expose the ABS wheel speed sensor, on some models the sensor is simply bolted to the rear of the spindle in which case the removal of the brake assembly is not needed.

ABS Wheel Sensor
Step 8 - Use a socket or wrench to remove the sensor mounting bolt.

Removing Wheel Sensor Mounting Bolt
Step 9 - After the mounting bolt has been removed, grasp the sensor to remove it from the bearing hub or spindle.

ABS Wheel Speed Sensor Removed
Step 10 - Locate the sensor wiring connector which is usually near the frame or upper control arm.

ABS Wheel Sensor Wiring Connector
Step 11 - Release the safety clasp and gently remove the connector from the harness. Match the new sensor to the old unit to ensure proper installing and operation.

Once the sensor has been replaced, the ABS warning light will go out without resetting or clearing the codes in most cases. Some systems might require a ABS scan tool to reset the system, but this not typical.

Remove Wiring Connector
Helpful Information

The ABS brake system relies on wheel speed sensors and a electronic controller and pump activate the system. These sensors are located on all four wheels to monitor the rotation speed of each wheel. This monitoring is performed to help the main ABS controller to differentiate brake system pressure to each wheel while the braking system is applied.

By doing this the wheel that is rotating a lesser amount than the remaining wheels will experience a brake fluid drop in pressure to allow the wheel to rotate at the same rate as the remaining wheels.

These sensors are prone to failures and will usually illuminate the red or yellow brake system warning light. To determine if a wheel speed sensor has failed there is one of two methods that can be used.

The first and most straight forward process is to attach an ABS system scan tool to retrieve the trouble codes, once the code is discovered finding the code definition is next which will tell you the sensor that has failed.

If no scanner is available an alternative method can be used. Remove the electrical connector from each wheel sensor, using a multi-meter test the voltage produced while rotating the wheel, if no voltage is produced the sensor has failed.

Best Practices

  •  Inspect the sensor stator ring to confirm there is no damage existing to the ring. If the ring shows signs or damage replacement is required.
  • Confirm the electrical connector is clean from dirt.
If further assistance is needed, our certified car repair technicians are ready to answer car repair questions for free.

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