All of the vehicles that are produced today have anti-lock braking systems built into them as standard safety features. ABS is designed to protect people when they find themselves driving on slippery surfaces. It prevents the brakes on a car from locking up and causing it to skid all over the place. But in order for an ABS to do its job, there is a wheel speed sensor on each wheel on a car. These sensors need to be in good working order to ensure an ABS works the way it’s supposed to. Find out more about wheel speed sensors and learn about how you’ll know when it’s time to replace them below.
What Is a Wheel Speed Sensor?
As we mentioned a moment ago, your car has four wheel speed sensors in it. There is one wheel speed sensor on each wheel on your car. They’re mounted to the hub of your wheel right near your brake calipers so that they can keep a close eye on how quickly each of your car’s axles are turning. By doing this, they’re able to play a key role in your ABS.
Your ABS relies on each of your wheel speed sensors to provide it with the necessary information on how fast your wheels are turning. They’re constantly letting your ABS know how fast your wheels are going so that your ABS can spring into action if it senses that something is off. With this in mind, you can probably imagine the complications that can occur if you have a bad wheel speed sensor. Your ABS will turn on and off at random since it’ll think that it senses your wheels going faster or slower than they really are.
How Does a Wheel Speed Sensor Work?
Now that you have a better idea of what a wheel speed sensor is and what it does in the grand scheme of your car, you might be wondering how exactly it works. By gaining a better understanding of this, you’ll have more of an appreciation for the job that your wheel speed sensors do when you’re driving down the street.
Here is a basic breakdown of how your wheel speed sensors work both independently and together:
- You begin driving your car down the street and pick up some speed
- Each of your wheel speed sensors send independent signals to the control module for your ABS
- The control module monitors how fast each of your car’s axles are turning based on the info it receives from your wheel speed sensors
- Your ABS kicks into action if it senses that one or more of your wheels has stopped turning based on what it has learned from your wheel speed sensors
- Your wheel speed sensors continue to send additional info to your ABS control module to ensure that the problem that presented itself has been fixed
And just to be clear: Your car’s wheel speed sensors and your ABS are doing these things all the time. Some people are under the impression that their ABS is only active when they’re driving in slippery conditions. But your car’s ABS is actually always on high alert and looking out for any signs of trouble.
How Often Do Wheel Speed Sensors Need to Be Replaced?
Because of where your car’s wheel speed sensors are positioned, they’re almost always under attack. They’re constantly being exposed to dirt, dust, moisture, salt, and all kinds of other debris. This often results in them going bad and might force you to replace wheel speed sensors sooner than expected.
It’s difficult to predict how often you’re going to need to replace your car’s wheel speed sensors. You might drive around for years on end without experiencing any issues with them. But you might also find that your wheel speed sensors fail on you every other year, especially if you’re always driving around in inclement weather or putting your wheel speed sensors into harm’s way into other ways. You’re going to need to keep your eyes peeled for any issues with your wheel speed sensors and replace them accordingly.
What Are Some Signs That’ll Indicate a Wheel Speed Sensor Has Gone Bad?
If one or more of your car’s wheel speed sensors fails on you, it shouldn’t take you too long to notice. There are some pretty surefire signs that are going to show up and let you know that you need to have wheel speed sensor replacement done. Take a look at several signs that will suggest you need to replace a wheel speed sensor sooner rather than later:
- Your check engine light pops up unexpectedly (this is usually how you’ll find out a wheel speed sensor has gone bad in an older vehicle)
- Your ABS light appears on your dashboard
- You have a hard time controlling your car’s brakes
- You struggle to pick up any speed in your car
It’s going to become pretty clear that something is amiss when you have a bad wheel speed sensor in your car. You’re probably not going to be able to push through it and drive your car without it taking a big impact on your ability to drive.
Can You Continue Driving a Car With a Bad Wheel Speed Sensor?
There are some instances in which a bad wheel speed sensor will make it nearly impossible for you to drive around comfortably. Your car might herk and jerk all over the place when you’re trying to drive it due to a bad wheel speed sensor. You won’t have any choice but to take it in for service.
There are, however, some other times when you’ll be able to drive your car like normal to some degree despite a bad wheel speed sensor. But that doesn’t mean you should do it. You could put yourself and others out on the road at risk if you continue to drive in a car with a single bad wheel speed sensor in it.
When a wheel speed sensor goes bad, it’ll often cause the ABS to shut down completely. This could be a big problem if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to stop suddenly. You’ll still be able to slam on the brakes, but it’ll usually lead to your brakes locking up on you since the ABS won’t be active. And this could result in you getting into a bad accident. You’re better off taking your car in for service so that you can have wheel speed sensor replacement done right away.
What Should You Do If You Have a Bad Wheel Speed Sensor?
If you strongly suspect that you have a bad wheel speed sensor in your car, you should drive it down to an ASE-certified mechanic so that they can check it out. Ideally, you should have someone who has tons of experience working on the wheels on cars to look at your car and confirm your suspicions. They can pull the codes from your car’s main computer to see if you need to have wheel speed sensor replacement done.
From there, they should be able to replace your bad wheel speed sensor for you on the spot. They can also test out the test of your ABS to make sure it’s in good working order when they’re all done. If there is anything else that might need to be fixed, they can handle it for you. This will ensure that your ABS is back in business once you get your car back out on the road.
Is It a Good Idea to Try Replacing a Bad Wheel Speed Sensor on Your Own?
There are plenty of auto repair jobs that you might be able to take the DIY approach to in an effort to save some money. But generally speaking, you should stay away from trying to tackle any auto repair job involving your brakes or your ABS. The last thing that you want to do is make a mistake while replacing something like a wheel speed sensor and pay the price for it later.
As you’re going to find out in a few moments, the wheel speed sensor replacement cost isn’t that much money. It would be well worth it for you to pay to have a professional replace a bad wheel speed sensor instead of trying to do it yourself. You’ll have complete confidence in your new wheel speed sensor and in your ABS as a whole when you know that the replacement job was done right.
How Much Does Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement Cost?
The good news for anyone who finds that they have a bad wheel speed sensor in their car is that replacing a sensor isn’t going to break the bank. Despite the overall importance of wheel speed sensors, they’re not all that expensive to replace. It’s one more reason why you shouldn’t delay doing it if you can avoid it.
So, how much will wheel speed sensor replacement cost you? It’s going to depend on the type of car that you have to some degree. It’s also going to depend on which mechanic you call on to work on your vehicle. But on average, people usually pay somewhere between $225 and $265 to have a wheel speed sensor replaced. That includes about $150 to $175 for the wheel speed sensor itself and about $70 to $90 for the labor associated with wheel speed sensor replacement.
When compared to other auto repair jobs, wheel speed sensor replacement tends to fall on the lower end of the spectrum. You should keep this in mind when you’re trying to decide whether or not you can afford to have wheel speed sensor replacement done. The relatively low cost of having a new wheel speed sensor should make it a pretty manageable auto repair job for most people.
Is Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement Worth It?
On most days, the information that your wheel speed sensors are able to provide to your ABS isn’t going to be all that important. You probably don’t have to slam on your brakes too often when you’re slipping and sliding on snow or when you’re on the verge of getting into an accident. But the truth is that you really never know when you’re going to need the info that your wheel speed sensors provide. It’s going to be on a day when you least expect it.
Because of this, wheel speed sensor replacement is always well worth it at the end of the day. While you might not feel like spending over $200 on a small part like a wheel speed sensor, there is a chance that the sensor you replace could end up saving your life the next time you have to slam on the brakes. There is, therefore, no reason not to have a bad wheel speed sensor replaced as fast as you can.
Can You Get Rid of a Car With a Bad Wheel Speed Sensor?
If you have a car with at least one bad wheel speed sensor on it, selling it might prove to be difficult to do. No one is going to want to buy a car that has a wheel speed sensor on it since they’ll have to pay to fix it right away before driving the car. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t have any options if you decide that you want to get rid of a car with a bad wheel speed sensor.
In spite of the bad wheel speed sensor in your car, a company like Cash Cars Buyer will still pay you top dollar for it. We specialize in setting people up with cash for cars that they don’t want anymore, even when those cars aren’t in tip-top shape. You might be surprised to find out how much that we’ll pay you for your car, bad wheel speed sensor and all.
Contact us today to see what your old car might be worth in its present condition.