Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

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Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

When a car’s computerized systems sense an engine fault or a critical transmission, it hibernates some essential components.

This state is referred to as the Limp Mode. But, Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

Yes! Defective wheel sensor will activate a ‘limp Mode’,When the wheel speed sensor is faulty and sends wrong or inaccurate information to traction control and the ABS system, the car’s computerized systems will suspect and activate a “safe mode.” The Abs system will disable the stability and control systems.

In Limp Mode, the speed of the vehicle is reduced drastically. This is accompanied by an automatic switch-off of some components like the AC.

When the car is in Limp Mode, it’s easy to notice that the engine is unstable, and any attempts to accelerate the vehicle will exacerbate the situation.

As a result, you will be forced to drive at low speed due to the poor transmission that the car will have.

Modern cars dating after 1990 are packed with computerized systems. These hi-tech systems quickly detect many problems in your vehicle.

On detection of any issues, the messages are shown on the dashboard.

The automated system activates the Limp Mode when related components are not correctly functioning. This system is handy in troubleshooting any problems in your vehicle.

But the question you continue to ask yourself is, can a speed sensor cause Limp Mode? The simple answer to this question is no.

However, there are several other things that you should know concerning this.

The speed sensor is connected to other systems in the car that may easily lead to Limp Mode.  Read on to know these things.

Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

What Problems Does A Wheel Speed Sensor Cause In A Car?

The wheel speed sensor provides critical information to other systems in the car to run the car efficiently.

In such cases, the wheel speed sensor cannot be said to put your car in limp mode.

The ABS computerized system will interpret any inaccurate information from the wheel speed sensors as loss of traction.

When this happens, the result will be severe hesitation. On your dashboard, you will see the illumination of the message “traction limited.”

There will be a significant drop in speed, but the vehicle will not go into limp mode.

When the computerized system recognizes and stores an error for an extended period, your car will be placed in limp mode. This is the “Limited Functioning Mode.

In limp mode, there is no harm in the car’s systems, but this is meant to bring to your attention the need to fix or address potential damage.

If not addressed, this may cause significant damage to your vehicle.

Without the assistance of wheel speed sensor(Amazon link) many drivers in the US would be vulnerable to multiple speeding penalties.

Since the component is attached to the hub of a drive tire, it effectively monitors the vehicle’s speed;

Among other functions that the wheel speed sensors monitor are the anti-lock braking systems and traction control.

Consequently, as soon as the speed sensor starts to go bad or starts to fail, all the other vehicle functions related to the ABS will be affected.

Additionally, there will be warnings that will be displayed on the dashboard to warn you of the status of your car.

These are meant to prepare you to ensure that you have your car checked and repaired on time before the problem escalates and affects other critical functions of your car.

These warnings are displayed in a very vivid manner on the dashboard and are noticeable by any driver

Indeed, there is a great difference between the wheel speed sensor and the speed sensor found inside your vehicle’s transmission. Its function is to record the real-time wheel speed.

This information is consequently relayed to your vehicle’s ECU. This is the unit that controls all electronic parts of your car.

To know the specific condition of any particular wheel speed sensor, they will need to take the voltage output readings of that particular wheel sensor and compare it with the standard reading.

As most drivers don’t have the voltmeter, they wholly depend on the dashboard notifications.

These notifications are handy and may help you replace the wheel sensor on time, avoid any costly repair in the future.

How Can I Get My Car Out of Limp Mode?

All modern cars are fitted with wheel speed sensors. Each wheel has an ABS sensor that is installed on the wheel.

The mounting of these sensors on the wheels is to ensure that the speed of each wheel is monitored individually. The information is relayed to the ABS computer.

When you are stuck in Limp Mode, there are several things you need to do. First, you will need to relax and ensure that you are driving at low speeds.

If you are not far from home, drive home, but you can pull over in a safe place if you aren’t near your home. Get your transmission to park before you switch off the ignition.

You will need a waiting time between 10 and 20 seconds and then turn your ignition on again.

Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

Alternatively, you can call a professional mechanic to troubleshoot your car.

When they detect the problem dictating the limp mode, let them fix it before it causes more damage to your car.

However, it will not be a cheap endeavor, but it’s worth it. Do not try to postpone the repair as it will only get costlier with time and usage.

You can also opt to use an OBD2 Scanner to ensure all illuminated error signals are eliminated from your dashboard. Ensure that you top up your car fluids whenever necessary.

Can the Anti-lock Brake Sensor (ABS) Sensor Cause Transmission Issues?

One of the most important systems in any vehicle is the transmission system. If you detect any tendencies of it malfunctioning, it’s needful to have it addressed promptly.

Indeed, the seriousness of the matter cannot be overemphasized. Questions abound regarding faulty ABS sensors and transmission problems.

Almost all car components are connected in one way or the other. There is no single component that can be said to operate in isolation.

This interconnection of the many components and systems in a car dictates that, if a single system fails, there will be a synchronized effect on other components as well.

A malfunction of a single component will be followed by another, yet another, and then a severe breakdown in the car.

The ABS measures and also monitors the speed at which a wheel rotates. Once this is determined, the data is passed to the ECM (Engine Control Module).

The many inactive messages on the dashboard are activated as need dictates.

When the dashboard shows the ABS sensor notification, know that you have at least one faulty wheel speed sensor.

As modern cars have all their systems interconnected, this is generally a serious issue.

Indeed, the entire systems’ functionality may be rendered not functional by a single component failure.

Therefore, a failure in the ABS sensor activates a failure of the transmission system.

What Causes the ABS Light to Show on the Dashboard?

When the system detects a problem in the ABS, you will see a notification on your dashboard.

This is meant to inform you of imminent dangers related to the Anti-Brake Lock System (ABS) in your car.

Peradventure the ABS light comes up when you are driving, there is no need to panic and stop the car.

You may continue with your journey until you arrive at your destination.

On arrival, it will be time to troubleshoot the problem and see what could be the genesis of this potential; problem.

In normal circumstances, a faulty wheel sensor will cause this notification on your dashboard.

Additionally, you may have an accumulation of dust, metallic debris and, dust as a result of extended periods of driving in unfavorable environmental conditions.

Again, a blown-up fuse or a disconnect between the ABS controller and the sensors can cause the notification on your dashboard.

Also, when the ABS controller stops functioning, you will see the same notification displayed on your dashboard.

Do Spark Plugs Cause Limp Mode?

When a spark plug goes wrong, it will generally cause a misfire.

Repeated misfires will activate the check engine light. In most vehicles, this misfire will cause a check engine light and leave it at that.

However, all car models are not the same. Indeed, some cars will go to the limp mode when the car misfires.

A limp mode is a defense mechanism that the computer activates to disconnect some components.

This disconnection is meant to prevent further damage that may be occasioned by continued transmission due to electrical supply.

Without the electrical supply, there is no way the transmission will continue.

Consequently, the car will be safe to have switched off such a supply on the components. In these instances, you must check the spark plugs and establish the way they are firing.

Establish if they are producing a strong spark. If the spark plugs are defective or produce a weak spark, they need to be replaced.

You may also need to check the coils to establish the power of the spark plugs.

If the spark plugs functioning well, you will have to check the fuel system to establish the state of their firing. If a fuel ejector is dirty, it will cause a lean fuel condition.

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On the other hand, if it’s leaking, it’s also problematic as it causes more fuel. Ensure that you clean the fuel system and keep it away from any buildup so that the ejectors are helped.

How Do You Know That You Have A Bad Wheel Speed Sensor?

You will need to have your ABS sensor checked if you notice a sluggish response once you apply them.

The application of force on the brake pedal should always activate a response.

If the response deviates from what you used to experience, take note of the same as having a bad wheel speed sensor.

When on a trip on icy roads, you may also discover that you do not seem to have reasonable control over your car.

This will mean that you probably have your wheel speed sensors to blame.

Modern cars have a traction control light notification that is activated on the dashboard when the need arises.

When you notice that the Traction Control Light is on, the reason may be found in a faulty wheel speed sensor.

The warning sign comes because, as already implied, the wheel speed sensor collects data to the traction control system.

Therefore, if you have a worn-out  wheel speed sensor, this warning will come up.

Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

The traction control system acts as a valuable safety device for cars, just like the wheel speed sensors. Without it, the tires would break loose on the application of the throttle.

As soon as you see the illumination of the traction control notification, it will be an excellent time to contact a trained professional mechanic. This should be done immediately.


If you want to use your car for long with minimal costs, you will need to check the car for any issues regularly.

If there are any issues, no matter how insignificant they may seem, ensure that they are addressed by a trained professional before they cause more harm to your car.

Although you might have been wondering, “can a wheel speed sensor cause Limp Mode,” you now know that they don’t.

You also understand that they can trigger other components that will cause limp mode.

Additionally, it’s good practice to have your car serviced at pre-arranged intervals.

Also, there are some things that you can do yourself in your car to ensure it remains in good shape for a long.

One of such DIY practices is to buy an OBD2 Scanner so that you can scan your car occasionally and clear any dashboard messages.

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