What is an ABS speed sensor replacement?

ABS speed sensors monitor wheel rotation rates and inform the system’s computer to adjust brake pressure on a wheel if it locks during braking. Most modern vehicles use a four-channel system, meaning that there is one sensor for each wheel.
If just one ABS speed sensor fails, your entire ABS system will be inoperable. If you have to brake hard during an emergency, your brakes will lock and you’ll lose the ability to pilot your vehicle away from another car or object. This can be a matter of life or death.
For this reason, a failing ABS speed sensor must be replaced as soon as possible. During an inspection, your mechanic will conduct a diagnostic test to determine which sensor(s) failed and needs to be replaced.

How to replace a faulty ABS speed sensor

Take your vehicle to a licensed and qualified mechanic to replace your failed sensor. Here’s how a mechanic will go about finding and replacing it:
  • A diagnostic test will determine which sensor(s) failed and which tires(s) need to be removed
  • Your car will be raised and the tires will be removed
  • The mechanic will replace the failed sensor with a new, properly functioning speed sensor
  • The tire or tires will be reinstalled, and your vehicle will be lowered
  • Your ABS system will be inspected for any other problems 
  • Your vehicle will be road tested to ensure that the ABS system is online and that the sensors are working 

How do I know if I need an ABS speed sensor replacement?

You may have an issue with your ABS speed sensors if the ABS warning light turns on when you start your car and remains on for as long as the car is running.
If you can do so safely, test your brakes on some gravel or ice. When you slam on the brakes and they shudder violently, but you can still steer your car, this means your ABS and speed sensors are working
If the brakes lock up and you lose steering ability, one or more speed sensors may have failed.

How important is it to replace failed ABS speed sensors?

Replacing failed ABS speed sensors is vital to your ABS system working properly, not to mention your safety.
A properly functioning ABS allows you to brake hard in an emergency and still steer the vehicle, allowing you to maneuver out of harm's way. 
In fact, insurers view your ABS system (and your ABS speed sensors by extension) as so important that they offer discounts for drivers whose vehicles are well-equipped.
Key Takeaway If just one of your speed sensors fails, your entire ABS system will go offline and won’t work—replace a failed speed sensor as soon as you can.

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