Error Code P0500 is defined as Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction, indicating a malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor circuit, which is usually caused by a defective speed sensor or problems in the wiring harness.

This error code is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II system, especially those made since 1996 up to present. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary from one make and model to another.

Definition

Error Code P0500 shows up when there is a problem found in the vehicle’s speed sensor. The PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes) monitors the speed sensor. When the sensor fails to work properly, the PCM will be notified and will set the P0500 as a trouble code, simultaneously activating the Check Engine light.

  • Error Code P0501 Vehicle Speed Sensor “A” Range/Performance
  • Error Code P0502 Vehicle Speed Sensor “A” Low Input
  • Error Code P0503 Vehicle Speed Sensor “A” Intermittent/Erratic/High

Common Symptoms

As with other Error Codes, P0500 activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Also, since it’s a problem in the speed sensor, the vehicle’s speed sensor will stop from working properly, or not work at all. Other symptoms include:

  • Transmission unable to shift properly, as the PCM uses the vehicle’s speed to help determine when to shift
  • Disabled ABS and traction control system

Possible Causes

  • Defective vehicle speed sensor
  • Open or shirt in the wiring harness
  • Poor electrical connection
  • Damaged speed sensor drive gear

How to Check

Diagnosis of this code is very similar to most codes. Technicians diagnose this code by simply hooking up the scan tool to the vehicle and check for any codes present. They will take note of all codes present, along with the freeze frame data.

All codes will then be cleared before starting the vehicle. Then, the vehicle will be taken for a test drive test to confirm if the code comes back.

If the code comes back, the technician will proceed on visual inspection of the speed sensor, along with all associated wirings and check for signs of damage and wear and tear.

Next, they will use the scan tool to check if the vehicle’s speed sensor receives a signal at all when driving.

Lastly, they will check the sensor using a multimeter tool to check whether the sensor receives the right signal or not.

How to Fix

This Error Code is pretty easy to fix, common repairs for this code include:

  • Replacement of the vehicle speed sensor drive gear
  • Repair or replacement of the wiring harness
  • Replacement of the vehicle speed sensor
  • Repair of poor electrical connection

It is important to conduct a thorough diagnosis of the problem before replacing the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) to avoid unnecessary replacement of fully functioning parts.

This code keeps the vehicle from functioning properly, causing the vehicle to shift roughly, which results in discomfort and inconvenience when driving. Also, the ABS and Traction Control System (TCS) will not work, which could pose a danger when driving under adverse weather condition.