Code P0500: Vehicle Speed Sensor VSS Malfunction

Whether you’ve encountered speedometer and shifting issues or simply found the trouble code P0500, this issue is the result of your vehicle speed sensor, or VSS, malfunctioning. You’re probably wondering, how do I fix trouble code P0500? Find out more about this malfunction, common symptoms, causes and solutions today.

Understanding Your Vehicle Speed Sensor VSS

Your VSS is the main input for your powertrain control module to monitor your speed. For most vehicles, a VSS is an electromagnetic sensor that is connected to the powertrain control module through a rotating reluctor ring.

This ring passes in close proximity of your VSS and is attached to your transmission’s output shaft. Notches and grooves in the reluctor ring complete a circuit with the electromagnetic tip of your VSS. Any issues with this connection or an unusual signal will alert your vehicle with trouble code P0500. This trouble code comes with a series of potential symptoms and causes. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions to restore your vehicle.

Symptoms of Trouble Code P0500

There are many possible symptoms of trouble code P0500, depending on your particular make and model of vehicle. Here are just a few common symptoms you may experience with an OBD-II scanner error code P0500 problem:

  • Improper speedometer and odometer readings
  • No speedometer and odometer readings
  • Decreased RPM limiter
  • Erratic automatic transmission shifting
  • Anti-lock brake loss

Inspect your VSS sensor and related components for typical causes. Each of these symptoms could be dangerous or damaging to your vehicle, so it’s essential to find the proper solution.

Typical Causes

A typical cause of this error code is a damaged VSS. A damaged sensor won’t communicate properly with your powertrain control module. Just like any other sensor or electrical component, there could be many issues with the wiring that would also affect the performance of your VSS.

Inspect the sensor itself and the wiring leading to the sensor. A wiring harness may have a minor hole, which allowed water to enter the harness and short-circuit the sensor. Wiring can also be burnt, broken or cut from extreme stress or high temperatures. Wiring connectors are also a typical trouble point. Connectors can wear down over time, making a loose connection. Check each connector for a loose wire, signs of corrosion or any cracks.

These are just a few common causes. Your VSS can be unique to your particular vehicle, so always check your service manual while you inspect your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to look up any technical service bulletins related to your vehicle. These are extremely helpful for troubleshooting common issues that may require a unique solution in your particular vehicle.


The most common solutions involve replacing or repairing your vehicle’s electrical components, so you should gather your electrical tools and meters to start checking for the right solution. The best place to start is your speed sensor. Look for physical signs of damage as well as any voltage issues. If there’s internal damage in your VSS, you may need to replace the entire sensor. Refer to your service manual for the location of your speed sensor.

Next, repair or replace any damaged lengths of wiring. Just like any other electrical system, the smallest frayed wire can prevent your speed sensor from operating. Typically, this error code doesn’t involve any issues with your transmission or other system. It’s also rare for the fault to be in your powertrain control module.
Once you’ve inspected your vehicle speed sensor and wiring, it’s time to clear the code and inspect your vehicle. Solving this issue helps you better understand what does the code P0500 mean? Your P0500 trouble code should be removed and your vehicle’s performance should be restored once you implement the correct solution.

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