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Velocity Check: What does a Vehicle Speed Sensor do?

What does a Vehicle Speed Sensor do?

The vehicle speed sensor or VSS measures transmission/transaxle output or wheel speed. The engine control module (ECM) uses this information to modify engine functions such as ignition timing, air/fuel ratio, transmission shift points, and to initiate diagnostic routines.

Where are these sensors located?

The vehicle speed sensor is typically located at the transmission or transaxle.Vehicle Speed Sensor

Will a malfunctioning Vehicle Speed Sensor illuminate the check engine light or affect vehicle operation?

Yes, a faulty vehicle speed sensor can illuminate the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL), and may cause numerous and varying drivability problems due to the number of tasks the sensor output is involved in.

What are the common causes of failure?

In addition to wear, these sensors may have metal contamination, gear damage, or exposure to water intrusion depending where the connector is located.

How to determine if these sensors are malfunctioning?

The powertrain control module (PCM) monitors the VSS for component malfunctions as well as circuit problems. The diagnostic codes range between P0500 and P0503. The VSS can be checked with a scan tool or undergo a resistance check.

Check out all the relays, sensors and switches available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your vehicle’s speed sensor, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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