How to Replace a Vehicle Speed Sensor

A vehicle's speed sensor.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 10-200
What You'll Need
Vehicle speed sensor
Jack stands
Open-ended wrench
Socket wrench

The vehicle speed sensor is one of the easiest parts on your car to change yourself. This vehicle speed sensor is a small magnetic coil that is housed under the transmission on most cars today. This sensor is important to your vehicle as it measures the rotations of the gear set in the transmission and relays the information to the instrument panel in your dash. If you notice that the speedometer does not work any longer, replace the vehicle speed sensor as it is the most likely cause.

Step 1 - Purchase Correct Vehicle Speed Sensor

It is important to make sure that you purchase the correct vehicle speed sensor for your car. When going to the auto supply store, supply the parts tech with the right information including year, make, model, and engine size.

Step 2 - Jack Front End of Vehicle Up

A vehicle's speed sensor.

In order to get underneath the vehicle and have enough room to work, you will need to jack up the front end of the car. Use a sturdy floor jack and place it at the raising point behind the radiator along the frame. Once the car is high enough in the air you can then place a jack stand on either side of the vehicle. This will make for a more stable car to work on.

Step 3 - Locate Vehicle Speed Sensor

Once the car is held in the air with the jack stands you can work confidently under the car. Crawl under and locate the vehicle speed sensor. This sensor will be located on the bottom of the transmission. It may be in the rear or on either side. However, it will resemble a small plug emerging from the transmission with an electrical cord connected to it.

Step 4 - Remove Electrical Plug

The electrical cord that is connected to the vehicle speed sensor will need to be removed. You can do this easily by pinching the end of the cord so it releases its grip on the sensor. Pull it straight off and let it hang.

Step 5 - Remove Vehicle Speed Sensor

A vehicle's speed sensor.

With the electrical cord removed you can now screw out the sensor. Use a socket, or open end, wrench and twist the sensor in a counterclockwise direction. Be careful not to put too much pressure on it or it will break off in the threads. Continue to loosen the sensor up until you can remove it.

Step 6 - Replace With New Sensor

Use a rag and clean out the threads of the sensor housing. Set the new vehicle speed sensor into the threaded area and make sure it is straight. Start to tighten it by hand. Once it gets snug, use the wrench again to tighten it a few more turns. Use the rag to wipe off the end of the electrical cord so that a good connection will be made with the sensor. Press it onto the sensor until it snaps in place.

Step 7 - Lower Car

Once the project is completed, remove the jack stands and lower the car.