Today’s vehicles are technically much more advanced than those of the past. Most individual vehicle functions are now monitored through a network of sensors and corresponding modules. This information is then used to provide feedback on the functionality and effectiveness of the system.
Additionally, this type of integrated monitoring helps uncover occasional problems that might otherwise be overlooked. This, in turn, also provides information that can be used when attempting to resolve these issues, speeding up the overall repair process.
One such fault, often identified by a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system, is the P0500 trouble code. This diagnostic trouble code indicates problems with the speed sensor, which may affect the functionality of the vehicle’s anti-lock brake system and speedometer.
Read on to learn more about DTC P0500 and how to handle these issues should they arise in the future.
What does the P0500 code mean?
The P0500 diagnostic trouble code is set when a vehicle’s ECM or PCM detects a signal loss or erroneous signal transmission from a vehicle’s speed sensor. In most cases, this speed sensor is placed on the tail shaft of a vehicle’s transmission.
A transmission-mounted vehicle speed sensor determines the approximate speed of a vehicle by counting the individual revolutions of the vehicle’s transmission tail shaft. This is done by counting the pulses produced by the teeth of a specially designed tone ring, as they pass the speed sensor receiver.
This tone ring is located on the tail shaft of the transmission and usually has a “tooth” on the outer edge. As the teeth of a transmitted tone ring pass a speed sensor, individual pulses are created, often in the form of a sine or square wave.
The faster a vehicle’s speed is, the faster these pulses become. Therefore, a vehicle’s ECM can use this data as a reliable indicator of the vehicle’s speed.
In the case of DTC P0500, the vehicle’s ECM has determined that this data is being presented erroneously or irrationally. Alternatively, a vehicle’s ECM may determine that data is not being returned from the transmission speed sensor.
In some cases, DTC P0500 can also be used to indicate a failure in one or more of the vehicle’s wheel speed sensors. These sensors are located at each of the vehicle’s wheel end positions and are used to measure the actual speed of a particular wheel in relation to its other three counterparts.
Code P0500 Symptoms
The presence of a P0500 trouble code is usually accompanied by several symptoms. Although not all of these symptoms are present in all cases, most are significant enough to be helpful during the diagnostic process.
These are some of the most common problems associated with DTC P0500.
Causes of code P0500
The P0500 diagnostic trouble code can be caused by a number of underlying problems, some of which tend to be more significant than others. However, it is extremely important to consider all of these possibilities when trying to diagnose DTC P0500.
These are some of the most common causes of DTC-P0500.
Is code P0500 serious?
The P0500 diagnostic trouble code is generally considered quite serious. This is because these problems are often detrimental to certain vehicle functions, especially in vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.
Because the data collected and delivered by a vehicle’s speed sensor is used to determine certain shift points, a faulty code can compromise the shifting efficiency of the automatic transmission, P0500 fault active.
Additionally, the functionality of a vehicle’s anti-lock braking system may also be compromised.
How to fix code P0500
The following steps can be taken when trying to diagnose and resolve the root cause of the P0500 trouble code. As always, consult the specific factory service documents for your vehicle’s make and model before attempting such a repair.
#1 – Find additional codes
Before starting the diagnostic process, check for additional trouble codes. Any codes found must be thoroughly diagnosed before continuing.
#2 – Visual inspection of sensor/wiring
First, you will carefully inspect your vehicle’s speed sensor for signs of impact or damage. Additionally, all circuit wiring should also be checked for breaks or other signs of damage.
Finally, the circuit harness speed sensor connector should also be checked for irregularities. Make sure all pins are secure and free of corrosion.
#3 – Test Drive with a Scan Tool
If the tests mentioned above do not reveal obvious points of concern, a test drive is necessary. An assistant must drive the vehicle in question at various speeds while carefully reviewing the sensor information through a scan tool.
#4 – Check the voltage with a multimeter
If no feedback was observed during step 3, verify that the vehicle speed sensor is powered on and grounded as expected. This can be done using a multimeter.
If there is power and ground, as specified in the factory service documentation, it is recommended to replace the sensor. If these inputs are not present, there is likely a wiring problem or ECM/PCM-related faults.