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BMW ABS Wheel Speed Sensor Problems Causes Fix

If your BMW ABS, brake, DSC, DTC or ASC lights come on, along with a message on iDrive screen reminding you to get your BMW serviced, your BMW ABS wheel speed sensor may need to be replaced.

Usually the three lights ABS, traction and brake light come on as soon as you start to drive.

In some cases, the three lights may come on after a few minutes of highway driving.

In this guide, we take a look at BMW ABS wheel speed sensor problems, how to diagnose it and clean it.

A how-to video shows you how to replace BMW ABS sensor (also referred to as BMW ABS wheel speed sensor or speed sensor for short).

A BMW wheel speed monitors the revolutions of the wheel and sends a signal to the ABS/DSC module.

BMW ABS sensor is used to determine wheel revolutions per minute (rpm).

Symptoms of bad speed sensor

bmw abs brake dsc light on

The most common symptom of a bad BMW ABS wheel speed sensor is three warning lights on the dashboard:

  1. ABS,
  2. Brake
  3. DSC, ASC, DTC light on.  

Other symptoms may also indicate that your BMW ABS sensor is defective.

Below is an extensive list of symptoms that you may notice if your BMW wheel speed sensor is bad: 

  • ABS light on
  • Anti-lock braking disabled
  • DSC or ASC light on
  • Dynamic Brake Control Disabled
  • DBC Malfunction Drive Carefully
  • Intermittent speedometer failure
  • Traction control system disabled
  • Transmission going into limp mode
  • Transmission Failsafe
  • Intermittent activation of ABS when applying brakes
  • Engine will not rev above 5,000 rpm
  • Speedometer display double of the actual speed,
  • ABS light flicking on and off
  • Check engine light on with code P0500
  • Message on iDrive asking you to service vehicle

Check engine light, odometer, cruise control and speedometer not working are possible but less likely to happen.

Diagnose ABS Wheel Speed Sensor

An extra step that you can perform to verify that your BMW wheel speed sensors are working is to use the scanner to display actual value from all four of the wheel speed sensor.

If you don't have a scanner available, see a mechanic for a proper diagnostic.

Things you need to know!
A generic OBD2 scanner will not be able to read / clear BMW DSC or ABS module fault codes. 

The scanner we used is a Foxwell for BMW.

There are many scanners that allow you to diagnose BMW specific fault codes.

Learn more about scanners that can troubleshoot BMW problems.

Before you replace the ABS sensor, consider swapping front wheel speed sensors and recheck failure codes.

Clear any stored code and monitor the codes that return. 

  • Fault code has moved to the opposite wheel, it confirms the problem is the ABS sensor. 
  • Fault code remains with the same wheel/sensor, you may have a wiring issue. 

If you don't have a BMW scanner

Another method to test BMW wheel speed sensors is to use a digital multimeter and measure resistance.

Remove each wheel one at a time. Disconnect the ABS sensor wire and measure the resistance of each sensor. 

test bmw abs sensorABS sensor resistance should measure around 1000 ohms. Compare all the resistance readings from all the sensors

This will help you determine which has failed. Usually only one of the sensors fails at a time.

It is uncommon for more than one sensor to fail.

Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement

Below you will find step-by-step instructions on how to replace BMW wheel speed sensor. 

Parts

BMW Wheel Speed Sensor

 

BMW Wheel Speed Sensor

Tools

Instructions

  1. Loosen up the lug nut. Jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack stands. Remove the wheel. remove bmw wheel to change abs sensor

     

  2. Locate your BMW wheel speed sensor on the back of wheel hub. bmw wheel speed sensor location

     

  3. Trace the ABS sensor wire to the black box where you will find the connector. Open the box by the flipping top cover. bmw wheel speed sensor removal disconnect

     

  4. Disconnect the ABS weed sensor wire. The connector is held in place with two small locking tabs. Press the two tabs then pull apart the connector. Note that next to the ABS sensor you have the connector for the brake pad wear sensor. The connector for the brake pad wear sensor is white. press tabs to disconnect bmw wheel speed sensor

     

  5. Remove the bolt that secures the ABS sensor to your BMW hub. On most BMWs, this will be 5mm hex bolt.bmw wheel speed sensor location bolt size

     

  6. Remove the abs sensor wire from the front strut bracket. 
  7. Install the new BMW wheel speed sensor making sure the wire is routed correctly. If you route the wire the wrong way it will get stretched and damaged when the wheel is turned.
  8. Clean any rust from the ABS wheel speed sensor hole using a wire brush. Insert ABS wheel speed sensor into the wheel hub and screw the bolt. 
  9. Tighten the ABS wheel speed sensor bolt to 10Nm.

IMPORTANT: Once you are done with replacing the ABS sensor, start the car and turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, then all the way to the right. Repeat the procedure a couple of times. 

Once you start driving the vehicle, your ABS / DSC / TSC / Brake lights should reset, if there are no other fault codes present.

Note: The codes may still be stored in the DSC module, but they will change from Present to Stored status. 

Cleaning Wheel Speed Sensor

In a few cases, the tip of the sensor can collect dirt and debris which prevent the sensor from operating properly.

Simply remove the sensor and clean dirt and any metal particles from the tip of the sensor.

clean bmw wheel speed sensor

Make sure to take the wheels off and look your BMW ABS speed sensor wires as well.

If any of the insulation is cracked or bare wire exposed replace the sensors.   

What else can trigger BMW ABS/DSC light? 

If you replaced your BMW wheel speed sensor and you still have a fault code for a bad ABS wheel speed sensor check the following. 

  • Check wires: Check ABS speed sensor wire in the wheel well. The wires may be accidentally pinched or exposed if the insulation is damaged. Visibly check the wire from the connector to the ABS module.
  • Bad ABS Pump/Module: A defective ABS module can also be the problem causing the ABS sensor. The module is easy to replace, but the part itself is quite expensive. A cheaper solution is to remove your existing ABS module and send it for repair to a company that offers BMW ABS wheel speed sensor. 
  • Sensors: Lateral, yaw rate sensors could also cause an ABS/DSC fault.
  • Ground: Bad ground connection for ABS module
  • Cluster: Defective instrument cluster
  • Fuses/Relays: Check ABS relay and fuse
  • Brake light switch: Mounted above the brake pedal or in the master brake cylinder. 
  • Wheel bearing: Broken tooth on wheel bearing can trigger BMW Brake ABS DSC lights to come.
  • SAS: Steering angle sensor may be defective or need to be calibrated.

Replacement Cost

The average cost to replace a BMW wheel speed sensor at the mechanic or dealer ranges between $120-$300.

Cost to replace a BMW wheel speed sensor yourself varies between $15-$80.

ABS/ASC error codes

  • 5 Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 6 Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 7 Front Left Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 14 Solenoid Valve Relay (check fuses)
  • 15 Pressure Sensor/Pump Error
  • 21 Module Memory Failure - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 23 Incorrect Coding - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 24 Wrong Impulse
  • 30 Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 31 Open Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 32 Open Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor / Wheel speed sensor, front right signal implausible
  • 33 Open Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor
  • 41 Steering Angle implausible 
  • 50 Right Front Outlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 51 Left Rear Outlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 54 Left Front Inlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 55 ASC Intake Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
  • 58 Gear Box Control Unit (CAN bus error)
  • 59 DMER1 (CAN bus error)
  • 61 Steering Angle Sensor Identification
  • 66 Speed Sensor Voltage Supply
  • 67 Intermittent Interference
  • 75 Engine Speed Fault from DME
  • 81 Pressure Sensor
  • 82 Open Yaw Rate Sensor
  • 86 ASC Cut-off Valve Rear Axle
  • 88 Precharge Pump
  • 89 Low Voltage
  • 90 Temporary System Deactivation
  • 94 DDE Fault/Yaw rate sensor
  • 97 Steering Angle Sensor
  • 10 Brake Light Switch
  • 108 SN Control
  • 112 Open CAN to Instrument Cluster
  • 114 Pressure Sensor Offset
  • 117 Brake Light Switch Failure
  • 118 DME Status-Internal Error

Frequently Asked Questions

I replaced my BMW wheel speed sensor, and the ABS/Brake/DSC lights are still on, why? 

  • It could be because the ABS sensor wiring from the connector to the ABS module are damaged or shorted. The ABS module itself may be defective. You will need to use a BMW specific scanner to read the codes in the DSC Module. 

Which BMW models have ABS wheel speed sensor? 

  • All 2000 and newer BMWs have wheel speed sensors. This includes BMW models such as 7 Series E65, Z4 E85, 5Series E60, 6 Series E63, X3 E83, 1-Series, E87, 3-Series E90, X5 E70, X6 E71, 7 Series, F01, Z4 E89, X1 E84, 5 Series F10,  F25 F06, F20, F30, I01, F32, F22, F15, F45, I12, F26, F16, F48, G11, G60, G32, F39, G02, G05, G15, G29.

Can I use a generic OBD2 scanner to diagnose my ABS light? 

  • No. Generic OBD2 scanner that can only access the Engine Control Unit (ECU) will not be able to display codes from the ABS or DSC module. 

Is ABS sensor and wheel speed sensor the same thing? 

  • Yes, ABS wheel speed sensor may sometimes be referred to as wheel speed sensor. 

ABS new wheel speed sensor won't reseat

  • This is a problem that you may face if you purchase an aftermarket BMW ABS speed sensor or have the wrong part number.

Comments

Jermaine, 2019-06-15

Is it safe to drive with a defective one until its replaced?

Hey

It is completely NOT SAFE to drive a car with a defection ABS sensor. 

I mean, you can drive your car and maybe take it to the dealer but that's it. In case of an accident, the ABS might not work properly. This is Extremely dangerous.

Markroso, 2019-06-22

I would ask you to NOT do that. ABS is there for a reason, for your safety. It's never a good idea to believe that if the ABS does not work, you will still be safe.

Matt, 2019-06-21

Hi all
I had all the lights come on relating to faults to Wheel speed sensor. This fault shuts down all driving aids. Traction control, abs and anything relating to wheel rotation. After diagnosis, the fault was the left rear, “ no signal from wheel speed sensor”.
Firstly. Thought easy fix. Just install new sensor wire. NO. Problem still there. After seeking advise I changed wheel bearing. Maybe the fault is signal from that. NO.
Scratch head. This is going to cost a fortune to fix???????
Just out of interest I followed the wire from the connection box from the new wheel sensor I fitted to where it goes into the body behind the plastic inner wing cover. Couldn’t believe I found the problem!!!!!! The plastic wing had cut through the wire. Joined it back together and the smile is still on my face. Trying to not dig myself up over the months I was driving with the faults and the money and time it took to get to this point. But hey...... I have a new wheel baring
Hope this helps others

Markroso, 2019-06-22

Wow, that was bit of a Sherlock Holmes moment for you right there.
Next time, try to use a Scanner to diagnose and short-list the issue. If you don't have a scanner, you might be able to borrow one

Z, 2019-08-05

I have a similar problem with my 2001 325i.
I’ll be driving and all of the sudden it feels like the drivers side front wheel grabs for a second and then lets go.
Then the yellow dash DSC and “Brake” light will come on and stay on until I shut the car off.
They usually reset. Occasionally, when driving, the yellow DSC light will flash few times before turning solid or going out.
The code reader showed the following three codes;
5E4F Continuous Control
5E3C Rotation Rate Signal
5E38 Rotation Rate Sensor Signal

I have already changed the Blue labeled YAW Sensor under the driver side carpet.
That change got the light to go out that used to be on all the time.

Alex2019, 2019-08-12

So, I have a 2011 BMW 3 series 328i. My brake light came on a day after I got the car also my ABS is on and a triangle with a circle around it had came on well. Two or three days later, it all turned off and I assumed it was fine. I had hit 100 down a long stretched road and my engine light came on and then they all came back on. What does this mean? I don’t know much about a BMW but should I get it scanned or go to the dealership and have them look for it? This stresses me out considering I bought a car to run perfect and it’s not.

By YOUCANIC on May 7, 2019

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