I bought a 2006 Kia Rio about a month ago. It's a 5 speed manual. Prior owner replaced the front right wheel bearing and in the process damaged/removed the ABS wheel speed sensor which turned on the check engine light [or so he claimed]

I've been driving it for a few weeks w/ no problems. The brakes work fine, the ABS warning light is not on, speedometer works fine.

I had a friend install a new ABS wheel speed sensor yesterday and cleared the code, but after 5 miles the check engine came back on. I know that sometimes electrical/wiring issues can be difficult & expensive to remedy. I really don't want to go down the rabbit hole w/ this if it's something that's not going to affect the cars performance [it hasn't thus far] and isn't going to be a danger in any way.

My question is: Does anyone have experience with this code? What was your outcome and is it something that may just be an annoyance like an O2 sensor or evap code? I've already dropped more money into this car than I planned and would REALLY like to not have to pay to get this remedied. ANY feedback is greatly appreciated.


P0501 refers to the vehicle speed sensor (VSS), not the wheel speed sensor for the ABS. Some vehicles use only the wheel sensor to provide the speed, while most use two different ones (one at each wheel to detect differences for ABS and one for the actual vehicle speed). The VSS is attached to the transmission. For the manual transmission, it should look like this:

enter image description here

The left part is attached to the transmission while the right side has a wired plug attached to it. It should be located on the top of the transmission (which is on the driver's side for a left hand drive car).

Before you replace the sensor, though, you need to check the wiring to ensure it's in good shape. Seems the Rio may have issues with this sensor going bad due to overheating, so check it out prior to just changing the sensor itself.

  • Great. Thanks. That would explain why the check engine light is on. Your full answer somehow got cut off.... do you think it's ok for me to drive as-is for a while? I'll eventually get it fixed because a check engine light annoys me to no end. Thanks again! – Dexter74 Nov 23 '19 at 16:26
  • @Dexter74 - Actually, I had started writing the last para, the re-wrote it as is now. I have edited. As far as driving the vehicle, it shouldn't be a problem for the most part. It would be a completely different situation if it was an automatic. You may see your fuel mileage get screwed up, though, so be aware of that. I don't think you'll have any "real" issues though. If the speedometer continues to work just fine, I doubt there'll be any issues at all. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 23 '19 at 16:46
  • @Paulster2 - thank you VERY much. This has been a fairly stressful purchase and this whole sensor issue has just added to it. If it's something I can ignore for a bit, that would be a huge relief. Thanks again!! – Dexter74 Nov 23 '19 at 17:11

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