Ford F150 Speed Sensor Problems: 9 Symptoms And Fixes!

Erratic speedometer and odometer readings, a stuck gear, sudden power loss, and incorrect idling are some of the key indicators of the Ford F150 speed sensor problem. In some cases, the check engine light may also illuminate. For any malfunctioning speed sensor, repair is not an option, and you must replace it.

This is just a screeching of the surface of the deep discussion. Read more for a comprehensive explanation and solution. 

Ford F150 Speed Sensor Problems

A ford f150 2015 user reported problems with its speedometer showing zero speed even when the truck was moving. Working showed that this problem was due to the speed sensor being damaged and not sending a signal for f150 ECM/ECM. 

When a speed sensor malfunctions, a Ford F150 may exhibit inaccuracies in its speedometer, gear shifting issues, and abnormal idling. In the following segments, we’ll discuss all the probable symptoms of this issue in detail. 

Symptom 1: The Speedometer Stops Working Or Performs Erratically

The speedometer in a vehicle relies on input from the speed sensor to determine the vehicle’s speed. The speed sensor is usually located on the transmission or on the wheel hub, and it sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer, which then translates that signal into a speed reading for the speedometer.

If the speed sensor is faulty, it can cause the speedometer to stop working or perform erratically. For example, the speedometer may show a speed of 0 even when the vehicle is moving, or it may show a speed that is much higher or lower than the actual speed of the vehicle. This is because the faulty sensor is not sending accurate signals to the vehicle’s computer, which in turn causes the speedometer to display incorrect information.

Symptom 2: The Gear Is Stuck 

A faulty speed sensor can cause the gear to be stuck in a Ford F150 because the transmission control module (TCM) relies on accurate information from the sensor to determine the correct gear ratio. The TCM uses the speed sensor signal to calculate the vehicle’s speed and adjust the shift points accordingly.

If the speed sensor is not functioning properly, the TCM may not receive accurate information and may not be able to shift gears correctly. This can cause the transmission to get stuck in a certain gear, which can be frustrating and potentially dangerous for the driver.

Symptom 3: Vehicle Idles Incorrectly

The speed sensor in a Ford F150 is responsible for monitoring the speed of the vehicle’s wheels and transmitting that information to the engine control module (ECM). The ECM uses this information to adjust various engine functions, including the idle speed.

If the speed sensor is faulty, it may not send accurate information to the ECM, which can cause the engine to idle incorrectly. Specifically, if the speed sensor is indicating that the vehicle is moving when it is actually stationary.

The ECM may adjust the idle speed as if the vehicle is still in motion. This can cause the engine to idle too high or too low, which can be noticeable to the driver.

Symptom 4: The Vehicle Suddenly Loses Power

If the speed sensor is faulty, it may send incorrect or no signals to the ECM, causing it to misinterpret the vehicle’s speed or position. This can result in sudden and unexpected changes in engine and transmission operation, leading to a loss of power or even stalling.

For instance, if the ECM receives a signal indicating that the vehicle is not moving, it may cut fuel delivery to the engine, causing it to stall. Similarly, if the ECM detects a high speed, it may attempt to shift the transmission into a higher gear, resulting in the engine losing power.

Symptom 5: Check Engine Light/Brake/Anti-Lock Warning Lights On

A faulty speed sensor can cause a variety of warning lights to come on in your Ford F150, including the Check Engine Light, Brake Warning Light, and Anti-Lock Warning Lamps. Sensors send signals to the onboard computer to assist in controlling various systems, such as ABS and traction control.

When the speed sensor malfunctions, it can cause inaccurate information to be sent to the vehicle’s computer, resulting in a number of warning lights appearing on the dashboard. 

For example, if the ABS system receives incorrect speed signals, it may activate the Anti-Lock Warning light. Similarly, if the speed sensor sends incorrect signals to the vehicle’s computer, it may trigger the Check Engine Light or Brake Warning Light.

Symptom 6: Pulsating Brake Pedal

In a Ford F150, the speed sensor is responsible for sending signals to the ABS system to modulate the brake pressure applied to each wheel during braking. When the speed sensor is faulty, it can send incorrect signals to the ABS system, causing the system to apply and release the brakes repeatedly, which can result in a pulsating brake pedal.

Specifically, the speed sensor detects the speed of the rotating wheel and sends this information to the ABS control module. The control module uses this information to determine whether a wheel is about to lock up during braking, and if so, it sends a signal to the hydraulic control unit to reduce the brake pressure on that wheel. 

This helps to prevent the wheel from skidding and allows the driver to maintain control of the vehicle during hard braking. If the speed sensor is faulty and sends incorrect signals to the ABS control module, it can cause the hydraulic control unit to release and reapply the brakes rapidly, resulting in a pulsating brake pedal. 

Symptom 7: Odometer Does Not Work

In a Ford F150, the odometer is typically driven by the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS), which is responsible for measuring the rotational speed of the transmission output shaft. If the VSS is faulty or not working correctly, it may not send accurate speed signals to the vehicle’s onboard computer, which can cause the odometer to stop working.

When the VSS fails, the speedometer and odometer will likely stop working simultaneously. However, in some cases, the speedometer may continue to work while the odometer does not. 

This is because the speedometer is typically driven by a different sensor, such as the ABS wheel speed sensor, whereas the odometer relies on the VSS alone.

Symptom 8: Traction Control And Stability Control Stop Working

In a Ford F150, the Traction Control and Stability Control systems rely on information from various sensors, including the speed sensor. The speed sensor provides critical information to these systems, such as the speed of the vehicle, the rate of acceleration, and the direction of travel.

If the speed sensor is faulty, it may send incorrect or no data to the Traction Control and Stability Control systems. As a result, these systems may not function properly, leading to a variety of issues. 

For example, the Traction Control system may not be able to detect when a wheel is spinning, which can cause the vehicle to lose traction and stability. Similarly, the Stability Control system may not be able to detect when the vehicle is sliding or skidding, which can lead to loss of control and potentially dangerous situations.

Symptom 9: Non-Functioning Cruise Control

In a Ford F150, the cruise control system relies on information from various sensors to maintain a set speed. One of these sensors is the vehicle speed sensor (VSS), which measures the speed of the vehicle and sends this information to the powertrain control module (PCM).

If the VSS is faulty, it may not send the correct speed information to the PCM, causing the cruise control system to malfunction. Specifically, the cruise control may not engage or maintain the set speed, or it may disengage unexpectedly.

The above symptoms can be seen for several other issues as well. So, to determine the problem is causing exactly the vehicle speed sensor you’ve to diagnose the issue. 

How Do You Know Ford F150 Speed Sensor Is Faulty?

To know if your Ford F-150 speed sensor is faulty you need to inspect it physically. The following tools are needed to perform this diagnosis. 

  1. OBD Scanner
  2. Socket Wrench
  3. Lifting Jack
  4. Screwdriver
  5. Multimeter 

Now, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to diagnose the speed sensor in your Ford F150 is faulty:

Step 1: Check for Error Codes

Connect an OBD2 scanner to your truck and see if there are any error codes related to the transmission speed sensor. 

A problem with the VSS is indicated by the code P0500. However, lack of signal can be caused by other issues like wiring damage. So, to determine exactly what the sensor is damaged you need to do a further thorough diagnosis.

Step 2- Physically Test the Sensor

If you don’t find any error codes or if your vehicle is an older model, you will need to physically test the sensor. Refer to the video below to locate and remove the speed sensor. 

After removing the sensor use a multimeter and check the reading. To perform a diagnostic test, employ the voltmeter function of a multimeter to establish contact between the probes and the ground and reference wires within the connector. When the reading is null (0), it indicates a defective sensor, requiring replacement.

In the event that the OBD displays a P0500 code and the multimeter test proves inconclusive, it is probable that the root cause of the issue is related to a potential disruption in the VSS wiring.

How To Replace Ford F150 Speed Sensor?

To replace the Ford F150 speed sensor, you can simply watch the video in the testing sanction and follow the instruction accordingly. 

Now, you’re done with replacing the vehicle speed sensor. However, if you feel uncomfortable performing these steps you should consult with a professional automobile mechanic. 

However, the cost range for replacing a Ford F-150 Vehicle Speed Sensor typically falls between $189 and $222. This includes an estimated labor cost range of $124 to $157 and a parts cost of $65.


Can I Drive With A Bad Speed Sensor?

It’s possible to drive with a bad speed sensor but not advisable because the ECU (engine control unit) will not be able to identify the driving speed. Additionally, the ABS (anti-lock braking system) will not start its operations, which can result in a loss of vehicle control. It is best to replace a bad speed sensor as soon as possible to ensure safe and proper vehicle operation.

How Long Should A Speed Sensor Last?

A transmission speed sensor typically lasts between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, but its lifespan is heavily influenced by driving conditions. Unlike brake parts that can last the life of the vehicle, speed sensors are subject to wear and tear and may require replacement. Factors such as driving style, road conditions, and exposure to extreme temperatures can affect the longevity of a speed sensor. 

Can Speed Sensors Get Dirty?

Yes, speed sensors, including ABS sensors or wheel speed sensors, can get dirty. When these sensors get dirty, they may malfunction and cause problems with your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For instance, a dirty speed sensor can trigger the ABS light to turn on, even when there is no actual problem with the braking system.


This was all about Ford F-150 speed sensor problems. Hopefully, this will help you in getting rid of the issues regarding the speed sensor. It’s worth mentioning that driving with a faulty speed sensor is not recommended at all as it can lead to serious safety hazards. Hence, replace your faulty speed sensor as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.