My 1996 Ford Explorer began having issues at the end of a moderately long drive home while going approximately 60 miles per hour (not sure if related; I drive that speed often). The speedometer dropped to 0 mph and would only jump up when the car shifted into a higher gear, and it has been doing this since. The overdrive light also flashes sometimes, usually during high speeds. In addition, the shifting feels uncomfortable, as if the car doesn't know when to shift. I believe this problem is with the VSS or ABS Sensor, but I'm not sure. I have not had issues with ABS kicking in inappropriately, and if it's relevant, when driving near 70 mph my car has a tendency to make a rather unpleasant noise like it's failing to shift, so I avoid that, but it may have happened on the drive. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  • Does the transmission change into all the available gears?
    – HandyHowie
    Nov 9, 2015 at 8:28
  • @HandyHowie Coincidentally, no, it hasn't shifted into the higher gears in a long time, meaning I haven't been able to get past 70 for a year now. But I don't think it's been aggravated.
    – Mordecai
    Nov 10, 2015 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


I think you may be correct about the VSS. It certainly would confuse the automatic transmission and would cause problems on the speedo. Why it would spring into life when the transmission changes gear is a bit puzzling. The VSS could also be involved in comparisons of speed by the ABS system, so could be affecting the ABS. If you are not able to get error codes to back up your thoughts, then the VSS sounds like the first sensor to change.

  • VSS = Vehicle Speed Sensor
    – Zaid
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:43
  • Thanks! Yeah, the whole coming back to life thing is really weird, and has me concerned the issue might be deeper than I thought. I'm relenting and taking it into a electric specialist today, who I think will be able to provide more insight.
    – Mordecai
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:00

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