In this guide, you will learn how to clean an ABS wheel speed sensor that may be dirty and is triggering the ABS light to come on.
Cleaning your ABS sensor is very easy.
One or more dirty wheel sensors can cause the system to trigger the ABS light. Most cars since 2000 will have at least two or more anti-lock brakes sensors.
If your ABS light comes on, it is recommended to read the fault codes with an ABS scanner to find out which sensor is defective. If an ABS scanner is not available all sensors should be cleaned.
What you need
You just need a few tools and you can clean your sensor and be back on the road.
- Park on level ground, turn off the engine, set the parking brakes.
- Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts but do not remove them yet.
- Jack up the car. Secure vehicle with jack stands. Once you have removed the lugs nuts, you can remove the wheel. Be sure to keep the lug nuts in a safe place since you will need them to reattach the wheel later on.
- Now locate the ABS sensor and remove it. The easiest way to locate the ABS sensor is to track the electrical wire (not brake line) that goes to the wheel hub. To remove it you will need to remove the bolt. Typically a 10mm bolt but in some cases, this may require Allen key or torx bit.
- Be sure to check that there aren't any additional wires connecting the sensor to the frame.
- Remove the ABS sensor bolt and the ABS sensor should come off easily. If not, spray penetrating oil and wait 10 min before trying to remove the sensor.
- Use a rag to clean the ABS sensor.It is not recommended to use any cleaning solutions or you may damage the sensor.
- Once you have wiped clean the ABS sensor reinstall it.
- Install the wheel and torque the lug nuts.
- Startup the car and go for a short drive.
The ABS light should reset if the light was triggered by a dirty ABS sensor. If the ABS light remains on the problem can be an internal failure of the ABS sensor or module. Read fault codes to find out why the ABS light is on.
How to Diagnose ABS Light
If the ABS light remains on, use an ABS scanner to read the fault codes and determine the problem.
Cleaning the ABS wheel speed sensor is simple but it does not always fix the problem. In some cases, the sensor may need to be replaced.
How to Replace ABS Sensor
This video shows how to replace a faulty ABS sensor. Replacing the ABS wheel speed sensor is easy and takes most DIYers approximaly one hour.
Replacement ABS wheel speed sensors are inexpensive and can be purchased online.