If your OBDII scanner showed a P0500 code, you’ve got a bad sensor and it’s the wheel speed sensor, also known as Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS). This sensor does a very simple job; it tells the car’s central computer how the wheels are rotating as the car moves.
It is important to act very fast when your car is experiencing speed-sensor-related issues. This is because the speed sensors can cause the anti-braking system malfunction, which can lead to severe situations and costlier damages.
Interestingly, this article explains everything you should know about the P0500 code, the symptoms, causes, and how to fix it.
Let’s get started!
What Does the P0500 Code Mean?
Technically, the meaning of this code is: “Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction.” There are many vehicle speed sensors installed around every wheel in a vehicle. These sensors can get faulty, damaged physically, or fail due to excessive wear (aging).
Note: P0500 is a DTC – Diagnostic Trouble Code – synonymous with P0501, P0502, and P0503.
The vehicle speed sensors play a crucial role because they inform the PCM/ECM about the rotation speed of the wheels. If the wheels are not rotating well, the PCM would act on the signals it received to turn on the check engine light, and you may experience other unusual symptoms while driving.
Symptoms of P0500 Code
When a vehicle speed sensor fails, you’d most likely notice any of these unusual signs as you drive.
- The speedometer shows incorrect readings
- Erratic (automatic) transmission shifts while driving
- The ABS (Anti-Braking System) becomes inactive or malfunctioning.
- You can’t control your vehicle’s traction
Put simply, when your car is facing a P0500 code issue, every component or system connected to the drivetrain and transmission would most likely malfunction and show incorrect readings. There are pretty many reasons why your car’s VSS can go bad; they are listed below.
Causes of P0500 Code
Due to the position of the speed sensors, they are liable to failure due to severe impact caused by collision or accident.
Also, there are different types of vehicle speed sensors, and they can be affected differently. However, here are the commonest reasons why your car threw a P0500 code.
- Faulty wiring in the sensor area
- Failed sensor
- Physical damage on the sensor’s body
- Improper PCM configuration
Is the P0500 Code a Serious Issue?
Any issue with your car is a “serious” one and should be treated as such. Modern cars are interconnected; so, a fault in a system can spread and affect all components connected to the system, as well as affect other systems too; this would lead to more damage and costlier repairs.
Interestingly, fixing this error code is not going to cost you much – sensors are pretty cheap to replace. However, if the issue is left to linger and then something else gets spoilt in the drivetrain, that’s when you may be burning a hole in your pocket to fix the situation.
How To Fix P0500 Code
If these fixes seem too technical for you to handle by yourself, then get a mechanic or auto electrician to do it for you.
1. Check for Other Codes
Re-check the car using your auto scanner to ensure that it’s just the P0500 DTC that needs to be fixed. If there are other codes detected, you will need to check the components that are related to the DTC.
2. Inspect the Sensor Area
Carefully check the sensor area to see if the sensor(s) have physical damage, or the wiring is not done correctly. If the sensors are damaged, definitely, you need to replace them with new ones. In contrast, if the problem is with the wiring, have a technician rewire the connection.
3. Check the Sensor Voltage
Get a voltmeter and a power drill to check if the sensor produces the required amount of voltage, 5 – 10 volt of AC current. This aspect requires an auto electrician to troubleshoot and fix it.
4. Clear the Code
Clear the error P0500 code from the OBD scanner and drive the car to see if the symptoms would show up again.
Cost of Fixing P0500 Code
Fixing and clearing the P0500 code would cost you between $114 – $124 depending on your car model and the workshop you visited.
Simply, the P0500 code means “Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction.” So, to fix and clear this code from your vehicle, you have to inspect the vehicle speed sensors installed on your car and have the faulty or failed ones replaced. It is important to fix the bad sensor(s) as soon as possible.