OBDII Code P0501: Vehicle Speed Sensor Range/Performance

When you get the P0501 code with an Obd2 Scanner for European Cars or other scan tools, it means that the speed sensor in your vehicle is not within the engine’s normal range. However, this does not imply that it is a long distance away. You might get this code from the scanner’s reading or as your vehicle’s computer has informed you about it.

It is more likely that there is an issue with the wiring that is disrupting the signal that is being sent from the sensor of speed to the engine control module(ECM) in your vehicle.

P0501 Code Definition/Meaning

P0501 refers to “Vehicle Speed Sensor Range/Performance” problems. P0501 is a generic OBD II code that indicates that the ECM has read an intake from the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) that is excessive outside of the allowed range. This is indicated by the fact that the ECM has detected the code. 

There is also the chance that the voltage output is erratic, meaning that it becomes unstable or rough but rather has movements either up or down. The ECM then detects the particular code which is P0501.

Since this code may refer to one or more issues, a proper diagnostic is highly required if you really want to fix the problem. You’d also have to perform visual inspections to confirm the problems and exclude irrelevant factors.

Error Code P0501: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis

Causes

When the voltage from the VSS rapidly rises or falls, the ECM wrongly assumes the VSS is not performing within its expected range of stability and determines that the VSS needs to be reset.

Since the voltage output from the VSS is less than predicted, the speed output is also less than usual or the standard/ideal level. This condition would trigger the P0501 code on the OBD2 Scanner With TPMS Reset after you run the diagnostic.

Despite those common causes, there are also other possibilities that may cause the P0501 code. These include:

  • It’s possible that the VSS sensor’s cables or connectors are broken.
  • Motor vehicle speed sensor becomes malfunctioning which eventually provides bad or false readings to the ECM.
  • Since the VSS voltage fluctuates faster than the PCM predicts, the necessary conditions are not met.
  • Both the projected and actual VSS voltage and speed outputs are below average which triggers the ECM to send the code.
  • A differential gear or a transmission is the driving force behind many VSS. Any gear may have an unstable VSS signal if teeth break. The transmission VSS may need to be replaced or fixed.
  • It is also possible that the PCM configuration is incorrect for the tyre size of the car.

Symptoms

Most OBD II codes typically come with noticeable symptoms but they could have been various. You might observe or go through some of these things if you have a P0501 code.

  • Slowing the maximum allowed RPM (revolutions per minute).
  • It has been recorded in the ECM memory and the MIL has become illuminating
  • It’s possible that you’ve misplaced the anti-lock brakes.
  • There is a possibility that the automatic gear shift is faulty.
  • Neither the speedometer nor the odometer may be accurate (or at all).
  • The engine’s seeming lack of power could be a result of the transmission’s erratic gear shift.

Whenever you notice those symptoms, you should grab your Professional obd2 Scanner to see whether or not you have a P0501 code.

Diagnosis

As previously mentioned, a proper diagnostic is highly required to reveal the actual problems causing the P0501 code. These are some ways you can perform the proper diagnostic:

  1. Scan codes and document the code that is stored in the ECM.
  2. Using a GPS signal or the signal from another vehicle, the driver must monitor the VSS signal while travelling at established speeds in order to determine whether or not the speedometer is correct to what it’s supposed in mph.  
  3. Performs a connection check on the VSS electrical system, looking for any loose or corroded connections.
  4. You can remove the VSS, inspect the sensor tip for metal particles that could be generating poor signalling performance, clean the corresponding sensor, and retest it to ensure that it is functioning correctly.

Common mistakes when diagnosing P0501 obdII code

The first common mistake when diagnosing P0501 is neglecting to check whether or not the output from the previous sensor is faulty and rushing to replace the VSS. 

Another mistake is the failure to remove the VSS and inspect it for the excessive presence of metal particles, which could indicate a problem with the internal components of the back axle or the transmission.

How to Fix P0501 obd2 code

P0501-related problems need to be fixed before you clear the code with Autel MaxiCheck PRO or other OBD II scanners. Not solving the problems before clearing the DTC can cause the code to reappear along with the symptoms. These are some possible solutions to fix those problems:

  • Fix or replace any connections in the assembly
  • Perform a voltage check on the VSS sensor, as well as a check against the manufacturer’s specifications. If not, you should change it.
  • It sounds like the VSS’s transmission or back end has to be replaced.
  • Remove any metal particles that may be present, clear any error codes, and then put the vehicle through a road test.

Tips to Avoid future

The VSS has the potential to disrupt many systems at once since those systems rely on its input. At this point, it’s very important to prevent P0501 from manifesting and damaging other related components.

It is absolutely necessary to perform regular maintenance on the components that correspond to the P0501 error code in order to avoid future instances of this and other associated issues.

Final word

The VSS performance is your main concern when you’re dealing with the P0501 code. Through the use of OBD II scanners Foxwell NT614 & NT510 Elite or others, this problem can be fixed rapidly, or at least, be properly diagnosed at home. DIY requires some familiarity with the subject matter, though.

Because of the potential damage, it might do to the engine’s power or transmission, this error code needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness. As a result, having a professional examine the car is the best option for more solid solutions.