Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingBraking System P0500 – Could Your ABS Speed Sensor Be Faulty?

P0500 – Could Your ABS Speed Sensor Be Faulty?

by Jordan Harris

Have you started experiencing the ABS light and you have diagnosed a P0500 code? Well, if that is the case, you probably having a problem with your speed sensors. If you suspect that too, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn how to overcome this problem.

Having a problem like this can be a really frustrating thing to deal with, why I’m saying this? Well, because this sensor greatly affects your ABS system. So, whenever you have a problem with the ABS system, the system will basically not work when you need it the most.

Imagine that you are driving at high speed and suddenly a pedestrian comes in front of you. You slam on the brakes but the ABS doesn’t work, then you collide with the pedestrian and potentially end up hurting them. Which is something that nobody wants. This is why you need to fix the P0500 code and we are going to help you out with that.

First, we will learn the basics of car diagnostics and how it is performed. Then we will cover the P0500 code and its meaning. After that, we will learn more about the speed sensors and the ABS system. Later on, we will dive into the causes of the P0500 code as well as the symptoms. Then we will jump into diagnosing and sorting out the issue. So, follow along.

Introduction To Car Diagnostics

Now before we start explaining more about the code P0500 and its meaning, let’s first learn something more about car diagnostics in general. I bet that there are a ton of people reading this who are not into cars and want to learn the basics stuff before they jump in and diagnose the P0500, so this chapter is dedicated to them.

You are probably aware that modern cars are not like cars back in the day. Back in the good old times, there were no computers, sensors, and all these components that failed. So, diagnosing a problem was a really easy thing to do.

Nowadays everything is computerized and you need some special tools that will give you the ability to diagnose problems with your car. So, in order to discover if you have a P0500 code or any type of code in your car, you will need a tool called an OBD2 scanner.

With this scanner, you will have the ability to get access to the PCM which is the Powertrain Control Module. This is basically the brain of the car that adjusts the work of the sensors and other components and it is constantly testing them to make sure that everything works in impeccable order.

If some of the components are faulty, you will get a check engine light. Or like in our case with the P0500, a check engine light plus an ABS light. Let’s presume that you diagnosed this code already and figured out that it is connected to the ABS system. Have you ever wondered how this system works? Let’s elaborate more on that in the following chapter before we learn more about the P0500 code.

What Is The ABS And How Does It Work?

Now before we learn more about the P0500 code meaning, let’s take a look first at the ABS system and learn how this system works in the first place. Knowing this will be a good starting point when it comes to diagnosing the problem.

The ABS system or anti-lock braking system is a special system in our cars that serves a good purpose. And that is to prevent skidding and locking up of the wheels. Frankly, it is one of the most ingenious designs that greatly improved the safety of drivers and also pedestrians.

This safety system is really simple to understand and learning how it works is really easy. The brain of this system is the ABS control module which is connected to the ABS pump. Whenever the speed of the car changes abruptly, the control module will notice this action and will activate the ABS system.

When the ABS system is engaged, you will notice how the ABS light is flashing on the cluster. Also, a really loud sound will be heard from the brakes.

During this engagement of the ABS system, the ABS control module is sending a pulsating signal that quickly engages and disengages the brakes in a matter of a fraction of a second. This method of work avoids the sliding of the tire which is also known as skidding. And by doing this, the ABS prevents damage to the tire as well as reduces the braking distance significantly.

But what sends this reading to the ABS module and tells it to activate the ABS? Well, more on this component in the following chapter (and in our guide on the ABS system repair cost, as well as the ABS module replacement cost) and then we will elaborate more on the P0500 code.

What Is A Vehicle Speed Sensor And How Does It Work?

Now let’s get to business and slowly move into the problem with the P0500. But before we do that, we need to understand how the speed sensor works.

The speed sensor is one of the most crucial components when it comes to the proper work of the ABS system and other systems in your car.

What is worth noting is that there are two types of speed sensors, a wheel speed sensor, and a VSS or vehicle speed sensor. You should not mix this sensor with the wheel speed sensors. When it comes to our problem with the P0500 we are only interested in the VSS sensor. So, how this VSS sensor works?

When the sensor notices an abrupt change of speed, it will decide to engage the ABS system. So, whenever this system engages, your car stops sooner. This sensor also helps in monitoring the vehicle’s speed and the proper work of the speedometer. And here comes the problem with the P0500 code that we are going to elaborate more on in the following chapter in detail.

P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor A

Now let’s move on to the problem which in your case is the P0500 code. What this code means and why it is there in the first place?

Well, this is a DTC code that is an indication that you have a problem with your vehicle speed sensor (VSS). The definition of this code is “Vehicle Speed Sensor “A” Malfunction”. This in other words means that you have a problem with the speed sensor A on your car. Other related codes to this problem are P0501, P0502, and P0503.

What is worth noting is that this is a generic code and can appear on a vast number of car makes out there. Namely, Toyota, Dodge, Nissan, Subaru, Ford, Chevy, and others.

When this P0500 code is on, it means that the VSS sensor A needs to be checked as soon as possible in order to avoid some of the symptoms that are associated with this problem. More about the symptoms we are going to cover later on in the article. But first, let’s discuss the location of this VSS sensor.

P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor A Location

Now before we dive into the causes for the P0500 code, let’s learn more about the P0500 vehicle speed sensor A location, where this sensor is mounted?

Unlike the other speed sensors that are mounted on the wheels, this VSS sensor is mounted on the transmission.

Usually, on front-wheel-drive cars, you will notice this sensor mounted at the top of the transaxle. While if you have a rear-wheel-drive car, you will notice this sensor that is mounted on the tail shaft of the transmission. Which means that it could only be accessed from underneath the car.

What is important for you is not to mix this sensor with the other speed sensors on your car as many people are doing. This way you will be able to uncover the P0500 problem quickly and easily. But what are the causes for the P0500 Subaru code? Let’s elaborate more on the causes next.

P0500 Code Causes

As we elaborated more on the problem with the P0550 code and we learned that this is an issue with the VSS sensor, let’s now focus more on the causes for this problem.

If you didn’t know, everything happens for a reason and so as the problems with the VSS sensor, there could be a few things that could make this component malfunction, so let’s elaborate on them.

1. Defective Vehicle Speed Sensor

The first and most obvious cause for the P0500 code is a bad VSS sensor also known as a vehicle speed sensor.

This sensor is the prime cause in most of the cases when you have to deal with a problem like this on your car.


The sensor simply fails internally and needs to be replaced. In some cases, the gear that is basically the one that is doing the heavy-duty stuff fails. This is the case because, in most modern cars, there are plastic gears are used.

And as we all know, plastic doesn’t age well. After a ton of miles, it will become brittle and will often break and cause problems like in our case with the P0500. When the sensor gear is faulty you should replace the whole thing. Mainly because this sensor is really cheap. So, it doesn’t worth the hassle to replace the gear alone.

2. A Short In The Wiring

The second most common cause for the P0500 code is a problem with a short in the wiring. And this can happen quite a lot. Especially in older cars or if you have some rodents around in your garage.

The wiring can be shorted out if two of the wires are naked and touch each other. So, whenever you get a P0500. It is a good idea to check the wiring and make sure that everything is in good condition.

If there is some wiring damage, then you should consider repairing the wiring and adding an insulator to it. Or else, replace the wiring that goes from the harness to the sensor itself. This way you will fix the P0500 code hopefully.

3. Bad Connector

The third most common cause when you have a P0500 Ford can be a bad wiring connector. Maybe the connector is broken and the sensor does not communicate with the PCM.


So, the connector should be another thing to check when it comes to solving this problem on your car. You need to make sure that it is not loose and that there is no corrosion to the pins. If there are some of these things on the connector, make sure that you clean it off or replace it if necessary.

4. Problem With The PCM

And the last probable cause for the P0500 code that we are going to cover is the problem with the PCM. Sometimes even the PCM can get faulty and cause you troubles like these.

If you notice that there are some error codes that do not make sense and your cluster has turned into a Christmas tree, then you should consider this option as well. Now let’s move on to the symptoms of this problem.

Speed Sensor Symptoms

Now let’s cover the symptoms of the bad speed sensor and the P0500 code. Knowing the symptoms will also help you when you will need to determine if you have a bad speed sensor on your car.

This is why we are going to cover all the important clues in the following chapters, so you don’t have any major issues when it comes to diagnosing the problem.

1. Check Engine Light + ABS Light

The in our list of bad speed sensor symptoms is the check engine plus the ABS light. Whenever this sensor has malfunctioned, you will experience the check engine light plus the ABS on, almost all of the time.


When you diagnose the check engine you will highly likely get a P0500, P0501, P0502, or P0503 if you have a problem with the VSS sensor on your vehicle. Whenever you have these codes, you know where to look and that is the VSS sensor. Now let’s move to the next symptom.

2. Problems With The Speedometer

The second most common symptom associated with a bad speed sensor and the P0500 code is a problem with the speedometer.

When this sensor is faulty, your car will not get the right input when it comes to the vehicle’s speed. So, you can expect some strange readings or a stuck speedometer on your car.

So, if you notice that your mileage isn’t moving, it is maybe because this VSS sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Later on, we will learn more about speed sensor troubleshooting and see what you can do. Now let’s move to the next symptom for the P0500 Ford.

3. Transmission Doesn’t Want To Shift Right

The third most common symptom that you could experience when you have a bad vehicle speed sensor and a P0500 code is a situation with poor shifting.


If you have an automatic transmission and you start experiencing some weird symptoms like the situation with the vehicle speed sensor P0500 code and the check engine light, you can bet that your VSS sensor is not working as it should and it has to be replaced.

If you run your car like this, it could be damaging to your transmission and you could end up with a broken transmission in the end. So, try to fix this issue before things become worse.

4. ABS And Traction Control Malfunction

And the last symptom that we are going to cover when it comes to the P0500 and the speed sensor is the situation when your ABS system and the traction control system are malfunctioning.

Whenever this happens, you will face a problem with these systems. Why is this the case? Well, this is the case because these systems greatly depend on the input of the VSS sensor.

So, don’t be surprised if you see the ABS light on the cluster along with the traction control light (or the service traction control light). But the lights are not a problem. The bigger problem is that your safety systems will malfunction in most situations. So, you need to be prepared for that.

You could face a problem with these systems to engage erratically or not engage at all depending on the condition that your sensor is. So, you need more on the speed sensor troubleshooting and how to fix the P0500. And That’s what we will learn next.

Vehicle Speed Sensor Troubleshooting

Now let’s assume that you have diagnosed the P0500 code with the scanner and you determined that your vehicle speed sensor is faulty. How you can tackle this problem and determine if this problem is really with the sensor?

Well, actually it is quite easy. The only thing for this purpose that you will need to get is a multimeter tool. With this multimeter, you could measure voltage, resistance, and a ton of other properties. But for our purpose, we only need the voltmeter.

Connect the probes to the two pins with alligator clips and then set the multimeter to measure volts. Then rotate the shaft of this sensor manually. Usually, when you rotate this sensor manually, the sensor will produce about 0.5V.

If this is more or the sensor does not produce anything, you are dealing with a faulty sensor. In the video, you can check how this is done. Replacing it will hopefully fix your P0500 code. But how to replace it? Well, that’s what we will cover next.

P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Replacement

Now we came to the important bit and that is the vehicle sensor replacement. A ton of people have trouble finding these sensors.

They are located on the top of the transmission. And removing them can be a real pain, especially if you have a rear-wheel-drive car. In the video, you can see how this procedure is done in a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Now let’s learn the cost to fix the P0500 code.

Cost To Fix The P0500 Code

How much money can you expect to pay to fix the P0500 code? Well, the sensor actually is quite cheap. The part alone is about $25 at the parts store.

But what is hard is replacing it. If you have FWD you can do this work yourself. But if you have an RWD car, you will have to get under the car and then remove it. So, the labor prices can vary from $100 to $350.

Driving Without Speed Sensor

Driving without a speed sensor is possible. But in this case, you will get a P0500 code, and who knows how many other codes.


Plus you will face a ton of problems with the ABS, traction control, speedometer, and a ton of other different components. So, you know that you have to replace it.

Conclusion P0500

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the P0500 code. First, we learned the basics of car diagnostics and how it is done. Then we focused more on the ABS system and precisely on the VSS also known as a vehicle speed sensor.

Then we elaborated more on the problem with the P0500 code and we covered the symptoms and causes. Lastly, we learned how to diagnose and sort out this problem.


Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What Is A Speed Sensor

The speed sensor is measuring the output of the transmission or transaxle. Then this output is used so the PCM is able to adjust the work of many different systems. Namely, the ABS, traction control, speedometer, etc.

What Does A Vehicle Speed Sensor Do

The vehicle speed sensor is measuring the output of the transmission/transaxle or the output of the wheel sensor. These measurements are then used to adjust the work of many different systems inside the car. Namely, the ABS, traction control, brake system, speedometer, etc.

What Causes Code P0500

This code is often caused by a bad vehicle speed sensor. This is a sensor that is mounted on the transmission and is constantly monitoring the speed of the transmission. So, whenever there is the code P0500, your best bet would be to check this sensor and replace it if it’s faulty.

How Do I Fix Code P0500

Fixing this problem will require some troubleshooting and testing. You can replace the VSS sensor of course. But if you don’t want to risk spending your money you can give it a test with a multimeter and see what type of results you will get because sometimes the problem is in the connector or the wiring of the sensor.

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