A malfunctioning Indicator light or noise coming from wheels, ABS control module showing wrong readings, Traction control issues and many others like this are potentially big problems for your car. However, these issues can also occur when you have a hub bearing problem or if you have a problem with the wheel speed sensor.
Which is why I always suggesting to people that whenever doing your regular auto maintenance check-up make sure to check the bearings and ABS wheel speed sensors as well. This may result in you saving money on transmission repairs you don’t need right now. You might think that this doesn’t really happen, but trust me this happens more often than you think.
So how do your hub bearings and wheel speed sensors get damaged? Well, there are many ways that can happen as many hub bearings have built-in sensors. They usually have both internal and external sensors on them. Some of the problems that may happen have been discussed in the following.
Excessive Bearing End-Play, this means that bearings in the wheel have been put through huge stress more than it is usually designed to handle.
Weak sensor signal, this happens when there is corrosion and the air gap spacing is diminished and incorrect readings are sent to the control module.
Debris and Dust, well this happens more to open sensors. Debris and dust may get in and damage or provide inaccurate readings for the module. This means that the part is inoperable and the damages need to be fixed to for the ABS control module to provide accurate actions.
Metallic Debris, well this can happen too as the sensors are highly magnetized. The debris can get attached to the vehicle’s wheel speed sensor’s magnetic encoder ring.
Contamination, this is the same idea as the former two points. The sensors can be contaminated by particles within the environment which may mean inaccurate readings and false alarms going off.
When you have debris on the wheel sensor then you should never use any magnetic material to clean it. This may end up damaging your car’s magnetic encoder ring. Using a soft brush with some detergent or degreaser will do the job. Just make sure you do it carefully. What I suggest to many is to remove the hub bearings completely before cleaning it. What happens when you do is that you can thoroughly clean the wheel speed sensor and also don’t risk damaging the wires during cleaning.
Even though bearings are made to last many a thousand miles, they can falter. The health of any part depends on the conditions you drive in as well as the care you take. When your technician will be running diagnostic checks make sure they first ensure that it’s not an ABS wheel speed sensor issue. Wiring issue or contamination affecting the sensor signal should also be considered before taking other steps. So make sure your technician completes the vehicle’s speed sensor check-up when doing the routine diagnostics.
These are some things that can happen which will mislead you into believing your car has other problems. Your ABS control module will not function properly if the wheel speed sensors are providing the wrong readings. So check the sensors before going into any sort of repairs.