What does error P0500 mean and how to correct it

What does error P0500 indicate and how to cope with it

During the operation of a car, a large number of different errors are encountered. Each of them has a certain meaning and carries a potential threat.

Fault code P0500

Some errors are more of a warning, they indicate the necessity for some kind of repair-restoration work to be performed in the nearest future. At the same time further operation of the machine with such errors is allowed.

There is another category of errors, if you define them, it is better to make repairs right away and refrain from driving.

You should find out what category the error P0500 belongs to, what it says, what are the reasons for its appearance. Plus about how to eliminate the problem on your own.

What does the error say

The error under consideration is directly related to the car’s speed sensor, or its electrical circuit.

The error P0500 indicates malfunction of the sensor or problems in the electrical circuit. In English it sounds like Vehicle Speed Sensor.

This defect is specific for vehicles that are equipped with an anti-lock braking system. It prevents skidding.

ABS system operation is controlled by the ECU. The latter compares the speed at which the wheels of the car rotate and the speed of the crankshaft. The control signal passes through the ECU. If the car’s speed sensor gives incorrect data, it leads to the formation of error P0500, which is stored in the memory of the control unit.

For such an error to be recorded, 5 conditions must be met at once.

Conditions of formation

Several conditions must be met in order for the control unit to register and store this error.

  1. The engine crankshaft angular rotation speed exceeds the value of 1600 rpm.
  2. The engine coolant temperature must be over 80 degrees Celsius at the time the error is detected.
  3. Load parameters (TL) exceed 3 milliseconds.
  4. The ECU signal that reports vehicle speed transmits a value of about 5 kilometers per hour. Although on others it may be 9 kilometers per hour or less.
  5. All the listed conditions appear together, and their duration is from 4 seconds or more.

Immediately after one cycle of such conditions on cars with an automatic transmission, the Check Engine light turns on. If the car has a manual, this will occur on the second trip or second start from a place.

If these conditions are met, the ECU will fix the error and store it in memory. As a result, the corresponding symptoms will appear, forcing the motorist to pay attention to the potential malfunction in the system.

Error code P0500

Symptoms of malfunction

There are several signs that may lead the motorist to believe that an error code with the value of P0500 has been recorded in the memory of the electronic unit. The symptoms are rather indirect.

  • The ABS system is disabled. The antilock braking system will automatically shut down because the control unit has detected a malfunction.
  • The engine traction control system stops working. The cause is similar. Because of such an error, the ECU disables this system.
  • The lamp representing brake operation on the dashboard will light up.
  • At the same time, the check engine light starts on. It is also everyone’s unloved Check Engine.
  • If the car is equipped with an automatic transmission, there may be difficulties when shifting gears.
  • Speedometer operation is disturbed, it may display incorrect information.
  • If some programs are programmed into the ECU, a forced maximum speed limitation system is activated.

To confirm or disprove the theory that all the fault lies with the speed sensor, you will need to perform diagnostics.


There are several possible reasons for the occurrence of the error, the code of which is presented as P0500. It depends on the specific make and model of the car. The causes appear separately or several at the same time.

  1. Faulty speed sensor. Breakdown of the sensor is not the most frequent phenomenon, since it is a reliable and durable element. But this option can not be excluded. It is important to consider that the sensors are installed on the drive wheels. Depending on the type of drive, you will need to check the appropriate number of controllers for their integrity.
  2. Wiring breakdown or short circuit. These phenomena can occur in the electrical or signal circuit of the sensor.
  3. Contact failure. Again, the contact may be broken in the signal or electrical circuit. Deterioration of the contact is caused by poor connection of the chip, oxidation, rust, etc.
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In most cases, during the inspection it is possible to find that the contact is broken, or there is no contact at all. Because of this, the diagnostic equipment reports no signal from the speed sensor. This leads to the error P0500 and all the accompanying symptoms.


The occurrence of error P0500 potentially indicates several sources of problems. It could be:

  • The speed sensor itself;
  • The dashboard electronics;
  • ECU.

The speed sensor on front-wheel drive cars is usually located in the hub bearing. If rear-wheel drive, the location will be the differential or gearbox.

Before you start diagnosing and repairing, make sure that the problem is not on the side of the speedometer itself. It is easy to do this. All you need to do is perform a test drive.

New speed sensor

If the diagnostic scanner showed error P0500, you need to do the following:

  • Using diagnostic equipment, check the operability of the speed sensor. Not everyone has special equipment in the garage. Therefore, the easiest way is to connect a known faulty controller. If the error does not go away after resetting, keep searching.
  • Using a multimeter, check the circuit between the input signal and the mass, or power wire, for a short circuit. It is quite common for a broken insulation to cause a short circuit, and the system will no longer function correctly.
  • Check the connection between the controller and its ground.
  • If you have a 4 wire sensor on your car, use a multimeter to check the continuity of the last one.

Note that the connection with the sensor will be interrupted when the car is standing still. Therefore, in this case, the diagnosis is performed in motion. It can be simulated by hanging out the drive wheels.

Then follow the following algorithm:

  • connect a laptop with diagnostic software to the diagnostic connector of the car;
  • turn on the ignition and start the test programs;
  • select the speed display item;
  • start driving so that the wheels turn;
  • compare the speed readings on the laptop and on the speedometer;
  • if the parameters match, just reset the error, it is most likely an accident;
  • If the readings are different, check the voltage in the dashboard;
  • then check the pins and wiring from the sensor to the ECU;
  • Since sometimes the speed sensor itself also fails, you should check it with a multimeter for resistance and voltage.

Practice shows that most often the reason is in broken insulation and short circuits. Or the sensor does not fit tightly enough to the contacts, due to which the accuracy of the transmitted signal is violated.

In what cars is it used?

When choosing a new or used car, the buyer thinks about the practicality, reliability and safety of the purchased car.

There is no way to guarantee that the error P0500 will never appear on this or that car.

Error P0500 appears only on those cars that are equipped with ABS system.

Therefore, it is not the fact that the error P0500 can appear on your VAZ 2107 or UAZ. What cannot be said about the cars from the following list:

It is somewhat strange to observe that a recognized reliable car of Toyota Avensis level and a budget domestic car Lada Priora appear in one list. But the fact is that in both cases, the error P0500 is probable.

The only question is in the reliability of the sensor and in the quality of used components. Here the obvious advantage is on the side of more expensive cars. But they are not immune to the error P0500 appearing on the diagnostic scanner.

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Error P0500 is serious enough by itself. It is not recommended to continue operation if it is detected. It is better to send your car to service or do the repair-restorative work with your own hands. Error P0500 can be eliminated by performing the appropriate manipulations, which depend on the reason for writing the code in the ECU memory.

If the error P0500 still occurs, do not delay with the repair. Besides, ABS system will not work during this time. And this is potentially dangerous, because without the antilock system in some cases, when the driver is used to relying on it, you can lose control.

Error correction

The actions required to eliminate the error are directly related to the causes of its occurrence.

The following procedures are usually recommended:

  • Resetting the error. This can be done either by software or by disconnecting the minus terminal from the battery. This will help if the error occurs accidentally. After resetting, run it again and re-scan the ECU memory.
  • Circuit Repair. Problems can concern the electrical and signal circuit of the speed sensor, the dashboard, or the ECU itself. It’s a mistake to think that with an error like P0500, the only solution is to replace the entire ABS unit. This is relevant in the most extreme cases when the ABS has failed.
  • Repair contacts and insulation. A broken contact or insulation is most often the cause of error P0500. The problem can be eliminated by cleaning and treating the contacts with special compounds. If the integrity of the insulation is broken, it is better to replace the wiring.
  • Replacement of the sensor. Such a problem is rare, which is due to the peculiarities of the controller. Usually it serves hundreds of thousands of kilometers. But under certain circumstances, the sensor fails. Then the only solution to the problem is to replace it.

Error P0500 is not critical. But it will be right, if at its detection you take up the repair or send the car to the service center. Sometimes you have to spend a lot of effort and time for troubleshooting, partially or completely dismantling elements of the car front panel.

Error P0500

Fault P0500 indicates malfunction of the car speed sensor or its circuit (“Speed Sensor Fault” or in English – Vehicle Speed Sensor). And this error occurs on cars equipped with an antilock system (ABS), which prevents braking a car with a skid. The point is that the work of the system controls the electronic control unit (ECU) of the car, in particular, compares the speed of the crankshaft and the wheel. A four-pulse signal with corresponding information passes through the ECU. Five conditions must be met simultaneously to generate error P0500.

Error P0500

As for the diagnosis of code P0500, you can perform it with your own hands, having only an electric tester (multimeter) and elementary tools. As practice shows, often a signal wire breakage or critical decrease of its insulation value (simply speaking, it is chafed) leads to an error with code P0500. According to the statistics, such error occurs more frequently at the following car brands: “Toyota”, “Ford”, “VAZ”, “Peugeot”, “Chevrolet” and “Opel”.

Causes of error P0500

Regardless of the car model, the causes of code P0500 may be one or several of the following reasons:

    On one or both (four) drive wheels.
  1. A wire break or short in the speed sensor electrical or signal circuit.
  2. Bad contact in the sensor electrical or signal circuit (there can be many variants, from oxidation to bad connection of the connector).

As a rule, the cause of the speed sensor error code can be bad electrical contacts or their complete absence. Then at diagnostics the program gives out the message that there is no car speed sensor signal.

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Signs of the Vehicle Speed Sensor error

The external symptoms of error P0500 are one or more of the following situations:

  1. The speedometer and/or odometer (if any) is not working properly. This is especially true for electronic speedometers.
  2. In cars with automatic gearboxes, gear shifting may be incorrect (incorrect) because the ECU is unable to make a correct decision on how fast the vehicle is moving.
  3. ABS and/or Traction Control System (TCS) may be disabled (the ECU forcibly sets them in emergency mode).
  4. The ABS and/or brake warning lights on the instrument panel are activated.
  5. On some machines, the maximum speed and/or engine speed will be limited by force.

If at least one of the above problems occurs, ECU diagnostics must be performed using the appropriate software tools.

Error code formation conditions P0500

The following five conditions must be met for error code P0500 to be generated and, consequently, for the Check Engine warning light to activate on the dashboard:

  1. The angular speed of the engine crankshaft exceeds 1,600 rpm.
  2. Engine coolant temperature exceeds +80 degrees Celsius.
  3. The ECU information signal of vehicle speed corresponds to 5 km/h (in some machines this value may differ, for example 9 km/h) or less.
  4. The TL load parameter exceeds a time of 3 milliseconds.
  5. The above four conditions all together last from 4 seconds or more.

However, note that the Check Engine light is activated the first time on cars with automatic transmission, and the second time (second trip, touching up) on cars with a conventional manual transmission.

Checking the system status

The problematic nodes in this case may be a speed sensor (on front-driven cars is installed on the hub bearing, on rear-driven cars – on gearbox or differential), instrument panel (panel, its electronic part), On-Board Management System (ECM in English acronym). Before checking it is desirable to make sure that the speedometer in the car works correctly. It is easy to make sure of it, making a short trip.

If the error code P0500 occurs, it is necessary to perform the following actions:

  1. With the help of special diagnostic equipment, check whether the speed sensor is functioning properly. If there is no appropriate equipment, you can install a working sensor of the same model on the car.
  2. With the help of multimeter check if the circuit between the sensor input signal and its mass or power wire is closed (often exactly because of the insulation violation there is a short circuit in the circuit, and respectively, incorrect work of the sensor and the whole system).
  3. With the help of a diagnostic device find out if several times a second on the signal cable comes the forming voltage from the sensor. The connection may be interrupted for the first few seconds, but then it is restored.
  4. The connection between the sensor and its mass is checked.
  5. If the sensor is four-wire, the integrity of the fourth wire is also checked with a multimeter.

Note that the connection with the sensor is interrupted when starting and stopping the car on the spot, and is restored directly in motion. Therefore, the testing process is performed according to a certain algorithm.

How to check the speed sensor P0500

The connection scheme for different car brands will be different, but the general logic of checking the speed sensor will be the same. Let’s consider the procedure on the popular car “Toyota RAV 4”. Diagnosis of the error should be performed with a special diagnostic device. Depending on its model and software used, some steps may differ. The algorithm has the following steps:

  1. Suspend the drive wheels so that they rotate freely.
  2. Connect the ECU connector and the diagnostic tool (laptop) to the DLC3 connector with the signal cable.
  3. Turn on the ignition and the diagnostic tool. Select menu in its program, which shows real speed of the car.
  4. “Drive” the car for a short distance, noticing at the same time the speedometer readings. Stop the spinning wheels. See what speed the program noted, compare them. If everything is the same, it is enough to reset the error programmatically, most likely it is an episodic trip.
  5. If the readings are different, that the next step is to check the dashboard for voltage value. To do this, disconnect the connector E22 (power) of the dashboard and turn on the ignition.
  6. If everything is OK, there will be a voltage between ground and pins E22-39 in the range of 9 to 14 volts. Please note: this action must be checked both when the wheels are not rotating and when they are rotating. However, the wheels should not be rotated by the engine, but mechanically (manually, by putting the gearbox in neutral).
  7. Next, you need to measure the resistance of the wire between pins E22-39 and A12-8, that is check the presence of open and short circuit. The resistance of this wire according to the multimeter should not be lower than 1 ohm and should not exceed 10 kOhm. Otherwise, there is a wire breakage or short circuit (damage to the insulation).
  8. In rare cases, the controller “glitches”. If the voltage value is +12 V, then there is a short circuit to the power supply. Also the controller can “glitch”. For additional diagnostics it makes sense to start the engine, then touch the ground with one probe and touch the second one to pin 2 of the wiring harness from the sensor. At the same time, you need to look at the readings of the diagnostic device (program). If the speed value is indicated there as 0 km/h, then the controller is out of order.
  9. Under similar conditions, you need to check the voltage between the mass and pin 1 of the harness block. If there is voltage there – good, otherwise there is a wire break or its damage (its insulation often fails).
  10. Under similar conditions, you must check the voltage between the ground and wire #3 of the harness. If there is voltage, it means that the sensor is either completely defective or has a bad contact. If there is no voltage through the multimeter, there is a break in the wires.
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It is interesting that in some cases with bad insulation the speed sensor signal can be tapped from other systems. For example, in Toyota Camry cars the described problem occurs when the wires of the parking sensor are located next to each other in the harness. Therefore it makes sense to inspect and check not only insulation of wires of the sensor and its system, but also other wires, located in close proximity to it.

A more detailed check of the sensor involves the use of an oscilloscope. With its help, you can find out not only whether the information is coming from the different sensors of the drive wheels, but also see the shape of the signal. And by the shape, in some cases, you can judge the operation of the ABS system. There are cases when the ABS ring on one or the other drive wheel started to rotate itself, i.e. to work out of sync with the CV joint. And this leads to the situation when ECU receives false information. In some cases (but not always, it depends on the ECU firmware), this situation is a direct cause of error P0500.

Methods to eliminate error P0500

The ways to eliminate the error code P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor depend on the causes that caused it. The simplest method of elimination is simply to reset the error (programmatically or simply by disconnecting the minus battery terminal) in the ECU. However, this method is suitable only in the easiest cases, for example, when there is an accidental triggering of the controller, its so-called “glitch”. However, in some cases this simple measure helps.

More serious actions involve finding faults in the electrical (signal) circuit of one and/or other speed sensor, in the dashboard, or in the ECU. On some forums, you can meet the opinion that in case of error P0500, it is necessary to change the ABS unit. In fact, it is not so. It is done only in extreme cases, when the mentioned part is really out of order.

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Most often, the cause of error P0500 (except software) is bad contact or damaged insulation on individual wires. Therefore, you should start with software diagnostics, and then with the help of a multimeter consistently “probe” the circuit. For this, in addition to the device, you also need a circuit diagram of the electrical component of the machine. You can find it in the documentation or on the Internet. It also makes sense to check the contacts directly on the sensor. On forums you can often meet information from car owners, that oxides on its contacts lead to the error. Naturally, it is necessary to get rid of them. Since the contact plates are small and embedded in the depths, often use a liquid that removes oxidation, and then treated with a grease that conducts current and forms a protective layer.

Although the error P0500 is not critical, but the search for the causes of this error can be quite difficult and time-consuming. In the most complicated situations, it is necessary to disassemble separate parts of the interior, for example, wire ducts over the sills of the car. So be prepared for this.

In rare cases, it is possible to replace the speed sensor (in case of complete failure), although it does not happen often, because it is quite reliable and durable unit. In even rarer cases, the mechanical actuator of the sensor, which is worn out, is replaced. The device itself is an electromagnetic sensor based on a rotating relay ring. It is the rotating mechanism that can wear out over time.

In the case described above, when the ABS ring does not rotate synchronously with the C.V. joint, everything is “cured” quite simply. To do this, you need to use a core to put the ring in its seat or simply replace it in case it is significantly worn out. The procedure is not complicated, but it takes a lot of time.

On some models of Opel, the diagnostic connector under the hood of the car is cut (even the official representatives say that there can be magnetic interference from other wires). However, if you decide to do it, you need to know exactly which wire to cut! In other cases, on Opels (relevant to other car brands as well) do a simple cleaning of contacts (from dust and possible dirt). In even rarer cases, some car owners get rid of the 0500 error by re-soldering the pins (connector) of the input sensor (relevant for rear-drive cars with a sensor installed in the gearbox).

After elimination of technical defects which led to the formation of error code P0500, don’t forget to reset the information about it in the car ECU. This can be done in two ways. The first is to remove the minus terminal from the battery for a few seconds. After restoring the electrical contact, the ECU will restart and diagnose the car again, where there will no longer be an error. However, this method is unpopular and can be used only if absolutely necessary.

The second method is to reset the error programmatically. To do this, you need to use a diagnostic tool and the software with which the error was detected. Each program has a corresponding function to free ECU memory from all information.

In general, it is worth noting that error P0500 is not critical, so when its code is formed in the ECU, the car can be used. However, it is still better to eliminate it at least because the Check Engine lamp will be activated, and if you find more serious problems with the car, the driver will not be able to know about it.

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