All You Ever Wanted To Know About Wheel Speed Sensors

Wheel speed sensors, also called ABS sensors, are used in every car manufactured today. Wheel speed sensors allow the ECU to monitor each wheel on the car separately. This allows the ECU to use the individual wheel speed data in safety systems such as vehicle stability control (VSC) and anti-lock braking (ABS).

The widespread adoption of ABS systems in the '80's and '90's caused wheel sensors to appear on most vehicles. If you're looking for more information about wheel speed sensors, this buyer's guide is what you need.

What Is A Wheel Speed Sensor And Why Is It Important?

Image Credit: Felix Rusu

Wheel speed sensors are not located in the wheels themselves. They’re usually mounted in the hubs of the vehicle. A wheel speed sensor is a simple toothed ring and pickup module that sends current to the ABS or ECU computers for analysis.

In the ABS, wheel speed sensors tell the system which wheels are moving faster or slower than the others. They also tell the system if one or more wheels are locking up during braking. In the VSC, the wheel speed sensors inform the stability control unit when one or more wheels are slowing or speeding up due to traction issues, allowing the system to compensate and keep the vehicle stable and in control.

Finally, in some vehicles, wheel speed sensors provide information to the ECU which becomes the speed readout shown by the speedometer.

This post offers a more thorough explanation on what a wheel speed sensor is and why it's important.

How To Diagnose A Failing Wheel Speed Sensor

Wheel speed sensors rarely fail on their own. They usually fail as part of a larger problem, such as physical damage or corrosive leaks onto the sensor.

If one of your wheel speed sensors fails, you can follow this diagnostic guide. Basically, you would need to check the sensor’s resistance and voltage output with a multimeter. Don’t forget to grab a friend to help you!

Are OEM Toyota Wheel Speed Sensors Better Than Aftermarket?

Are you trying to decide between OEM and aftermarket replacement wheel speed sensors? According to this comparison guide, OEM wheel speed sensors are a much better investment. It’s because:

  • OEM sensors are built with better quality materials
  • OEM sensors are compatible with your Toyota’s electrical system
  • OEM sensors are reliable
  • OEM sensors are backed by Toyota’s warranty

You can’t say any of these things about aftermarket wheel speed sensors.

How To Replace A Toyota Wheel Speed Sensor

Do you need to replace your Toyota wheel speed sensor? Let this tutorial help you! It walks you through the process of removing the old sensor and then installing the new one. It’s an easy process. You would only need basic tools and a way to lift your vehicle.