How Long Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Speed Sensor in 2023 – Flawless Car Guide

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how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

A speed sensor is a device used in modern cars to measure the speed of the car. This information is then used by the car’s computer to control various systems, such as fuel injection and ignition. If the speed sensor is not working properly, the car will not run correctly. 

Most drivers are unaware of the importance of the wheel speed sensor in their cars. A speed sensor failure can cause several problems, including decreased fuel efficiency and inaccurate speed readings. In some cases, a speed sensor failure can even cause the car to shut down. 

But how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor before it becomes a major problem? And what are the consequences of driving without a working speedometer?

This blog targets important questions such as bad wheel speed sensor symptoms, how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor, and more relevant information. So let’s get started:

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how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

What is a Speed Sensor?

Before deciding how long you can drive a car with a bad speed sensor, you need to know what it does.

Often referred to as the “vehicle speed sensor” or “wheel speed sensor,” your car’s speed sensor is a tachometer that expresses the speed of your car to the computer.

If your vehicle has 4 wheels, it has 4-speed sensors. The transmission/ESP/ABS control unit system receives electrical signals from these wheel speed sensors, which are solely responsible for detecting the speed of the wheel. Modern cars’ speed sensors, on the other hand, can measure the wheel’s rotational speed.

Your computer-based data adjusts transmission shift points. Bad speed sensors can slow or stop your car, causing serious accidents. If you suspect your speed sensor is malfunctioning, have a professional inspect it.

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how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

What Happens When The Speed Sensor Goes Bad?

A bad wheel speed sensor can have highly variable effects on different cars. However, your car’s efficiency is likely to be negatively impacted.

The failure of your car’s speed sensors can lead to a variety of problems, a few of them are as follows:

Traction Loss in Your Car:

There are a few telltale signs that indicate your car’s speed sensor is on the fritz. You’ve undoubtedly noticed that your automobile isn’t balanced on the road if you’ve been driving for a time. Changing traction control may have made driving difficult.

This is because If this sensor isn’t working correctly, the car won’t be able to calculate the correct speeds for different surfaces, which can lead to decreased traction and increased chances of losing control.

If you experience trouble getting your car to stick to the ground, it is likely that your speed sensor is faulty. In order to fix this issue, you will need to replace the sensor.

The Check Engine Light Turns On:

When your car’s check engine light turns on, it typically means that there’s an issue with one of the car’s speed sensors. This sensor is responsible for measuring how fast the car is traveling and sending this information to the computer system that runs the car.

If there’s an issue with this sensor, it can cause the check engine lights to come on and warning messages to appear on the dashboard.

In some cases, a bad speed sensor can also cause the car to slow down or even stop suddenly. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to take action and have your vehicle checked out by a mechanic.

Transmission Problems:

Your car’s transmission is a vital part of its operation. When the speed sensor on a car with automatic transmissions goes bad, it can cause all sorts of problems. 

The transmission receives car speed data from the speed sensor. This data determines gearshifts. When the speed sensor fails, the transmission shifts gears improperly, stalling or crashing the vehicle. Bad speed sensors might also damage the gearbox.

If you suspect that your speed sensor is bad, have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible?

Never drive a vehicle with faulty wheel speed sensors. Because they can be easily and cheaply changed. Hence, even if one is broken, replace them all.

how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

Symptoms of a Bad Speed Sensor:

The following are the common symptoms of a bad speed sensor transmission. By being aware of the bad wheel speed sensor symptoms, you can save yourself time and money by addressing the problem as soon as possible.

Rough Gear Changing:

One of the most prevalent signs of a faulty speed sensor is that the gearbox won’t smoothly transfer gears due to greater transmission revs. This means that the car’s engine goes quicker than the vehicle’s.

If the problem worsens, shifting gears will become impossible. The transmission will only overflow after a long time.

Your car’s transmission needs a good speed sensor. This sensor counts transmission revolutions. The transmission’s control unit receives the data and adjusts after evaluating rotational speed.

The transmission speed sensor fails and cannot be repaired. It must be discarded and replaced. A competent mechanic should help you diagnose your vehicle’s speed sensor system.

Speedometer Improper Working:

When the vehicle’s speedometer suddenly stops working, it’s a dead giveaway that the speed sensor has collapsed. The speedometer will not be able to show the speed your car is driving due to a defective speed sensor.

It’s understandable to be concerned about not knowing how fast you’re driving, particularly when there’s minimal other traffic on the road to assist you to determine your speed. This could get you into problems with the law or possibly result in unneeded and needless accidents.

So keep in mind that after observing these symptoms of a bad speed sensor act as soon as possible to avoid future problems.

Check Engine Light is on:

One of the most common bad wheel speed sensor symptoms is that the check engine lights may illuminate repeatedly and intermittently as you speed for no apparent reason.

To figure out what the check engine light signifies, utilize a diagnostic tool or a car OBD scanner to obtain the fault code(s) that will assist you in troubleshooting the problem. DTC P0500 (Vehicle Speed Sensor Fault Conditions), for example, may appear to validate the problem.

how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

Cruise Control Issues:

A car’s cruise control system is a great way to maintain a set speed on the highway. The system uses data from the vehicle’s speed sensor (VSS) to keep track of how fast the car is going. If for some reason the PCM doesn’t receive accurate data from the faulty VSS, the cruise control is normally disengaged immediately. 

This can be caused by bad speed wheel sensors, wiring issues, or a failed PCM. If your cruise control isn’t working, it’s important to troubleshoot and look for the symptoms of a bad speed sensor transmission.

Torque Converter Clutches Aren’t Used:

At a pre-programmed speed, a torque converter clutch engages. The torque converter will not be able to utilize the clutch and make a functional relationship between the gearbox and the engine without accurate data from the faulty VSS.

So keep in mind that after observing these symptoms of a bad speed sensor act early to avoid future problems.

how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

Causes of Bad Speed Sensors:

Let’s look at what causes wheel speed sensors to malfunction in the first place now that you know bad wheel speed sensor symptoms:

The Sensor Has Been Damaged:

Actual harm to the wheel sensors is the most common cause of speed sensors malfunction. The speed sensors may break. After a lengthy period of use, the plastic component may become fragile. Furthermore, with prolonged usage, the magnetic component of the sensor is susceptible to wear and tear.

The Sensor Has An Electrical Fault:

Because the speed sensors interact with electrical signals, a faulty signal or no signal can come from an inner electrical failure. You can determine this by using an analyzer or a voltmeter to examine the speed sensors.

Poor Maintenance:

If you don’t keep up with your car’s maintenance plan, you run the chance of some wheel speed sensors failing. This is because when the magnetic pickup or grooved wheel is excessively covered in junk, especially old transmission fluid impurities, they are unable to provide reliable readings.

If the sensor is covered in dirt or other debris, it will not send accurate electrical signals to the computer. This can cause your car to run at an incorrect speed, leading to dangerous driving conditions.

Defective Hardware:

One common cause of bad-speed sensor signals is when the sensor’s hardware has failed. This could be due to a defect in the sensor itself, or damage done to the wiring that connects it to the car’s computer. In either case, fixing this issue will require replacing the sensor.

how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How Can I Keep My Car’s Speed Sensor From Malfunctioning?

A: The simplest method to prevent vehicle speed sensor issues is to ensure that all of your car’s components are in good functioning order. You should also get an inspection now and then so that you can check out if anything is wrong as quickly as possible – else, it could lead to big difficulties!

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Speed Sensor?

A: If you believe your car’s speed sensor is broken, a mechanic may be likely to substitute it for around $250 – but this could cost more in other cases. Still, when you realize that faults with this component can lead to losing control of your car and lead to accidents, that isn’t too pricey.

Q: Is It Possible For Me To Replace The Wheel Speed Sensors Myself?

A: To replace the transmission speed sensor, you must first remove the tire from your vehicle and then the inner liner to have accessibility to the cables. You should then be able to eliminate the old sensor and replace it with a new one.

If you don’t feel confident performing this either, you should get expert assistance. Otherwise, you risk making matters much worse and! Before you replace the ABS wheel speed sensors, you should identify which one is defective.

Q: Is It Safe To Drive With A Defective Speed Sensor?

A: It is extremely risky to drive if your car’s wheel speed sensor is faulty. As a result of not understanding how fast your car will drive, the car’s computer may just have to act more forcefully or boost engine performance.

There is a chance that driving with a defective transmission speed sensor could lead to an accident, as the car may not be able to accurately gauge its speed. If you are experiencing problems with your transmission speed sensor, it is best to have it fixed early.

Q: Is It Possible For A Bad Speed Sensor To Cause Power Loss?

A: If your vehicle starts to grow cooler once you force your hand on the throttle, you’ll lose power. If a speed sensor is compromised, it may have to be replaced. If you overlook this problem, your vehicle may break down, therefore please don’t let it go to waste.

Q: What Happens If the Speed Sensor Isn’t Replaced?

A: If the sensor fails, an unusual wheel speed sensor may still not convey vehicle data to the Computer. Due to the lack of an ABS warning, your car may be damaged in the event of a collision.

Q: Is It Possible For a Speed Sensor to Stop The Vehicle From Moving?

how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor

A: There will be irregular shifting if there is a delay in the transmission due to a turbine speed intake. ABS and TRAC are affected by problems with wheel speed sensors. Although the damage to another part is usually minor, you will not be able to drive as efficiently as you must for a long period.

Q: How Long Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Speed Sensor?

A: There’s no way to know how long can you drive a car with a bad speed sensor. However, if you notice any of the wheel speed sensor symptoms that your speed sensors are ready to fail, you should act quickly to avoid more costly repairs like gearbox failure.

If you think of continuing your journey, you are calling for a disaster to hit you. That’s why it is critical to take caution ASAP.

Q: Is There a Difference Between the ABS Sensor and The Speed Sensor?

A: Nope, the wheel speed sensor and the anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensor are all the same parts. The rotational speed of your wheels is measured by the speed sensor.

Vehicle speed sensors generate information that allows automatic driving assistance such as ABS to work. When people say “speed sensor,” they generally mean something like this.

Q: Is It Possible For a Speed Sensor To Cause a Misfire?

A: What is the location of the Engine Speed Sensor, and what check engine does it connect to? Because the sensor is positioned on the gearbox, it is also known as the transmission speed sensor. To notify the transmission when to shift, it transmits data to your meter and your car’s computer.

And Yes, it is possible for a speed sensor to cause a misfire. The speed sensor sends information to the engine control unit (ECU) about how fast the vehicle is moving. If the sensor is not working properly, it can cause the engine to misfire.

Q: Can You Drive With A Faulty Speed Sensor?

A: Driving with a faulty speed sensor is not recommended, as it can lead to a variety of safety issues. The speed sensor helps the car’s computer system to accurately measure the speed and rotation of the wheels.

If the sensor is malfunctioning, it can cause inaccurate readings that may affect your car’s performance, such as its acceleration and braking capabilities.

Additionally, a faulty speed sensor can cause other problems with your car’s systems, such as incorrect fuel injection or transmission shifts.

Q: What Happens If You Drive With A Broken Speed Sensor?

A: Driving with a bad speed sensor can be dangerous and should be avoided. The speed sensor is responsible for providing the vehicle’s computer with information about the rotation of the wheels, which is used to calculate the vehicle’s speed.

Without this information, the computer can’t accurately control things like fuel injection and transmission shifting. This can lead to decreased performance, as well as an increased risk of damage to your engine or transmission.

Additionally, if you have cruise control, it will likely not work properly without an accurate speed signal from the sensor. For these reasons, it’s best to get a bad speed sensor repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Bottom Line:

In conclusion, a car with a bad speed sensor can be driven, but it is not safe. The car will not be able to tell how fast it is going, so the driver will not be able to control the car properly. The driver could end up getting in an accident if they do not get the car fixed.

You must maintain your vehicle to avoid difficulties with your ABS wheel speed sensor. This entails frequently inspecting the functioning of brakes and tires for any damage before a problem emerges.

Also, keep track of what repairs have been performed on the car so that if something goes wrong, you can get it fixed immediately away!

If you observe warning lights turning on or suspect the vehicle has a defective speed sensor, don’t delay getting it checked out by an expert as soon as possible!

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