JK Christmas tree lights on? Traction control and ABS light comes on after you've been out on the trail? Brakes applying while driving under normal conditions? That drag sure is a drag. One potential problem that causes all these effects is the JK wheel speed sensors. There is one on every corner wheel, so potentially you could have one or all four that need to be replaced.
First, you should identify the problem with a scanner. (We'll dive into scanners more in another article). If you have your own, use it, and if you don't, you can go to a dealership or an auto parts store and ask to use theirs. The scanner will pull a code that will reflect which sensor is bad.
It is highly recommended that you do a thorough inspection of the sensor wires at this point. It is super easy to pinch a wire wheeling by having your suspension collapse on it, or a rock or tree branch could have caught it. If you find a wiring issue, fix that first and reread the scanner.
If you don’t see any wiring issues it's time to gather your parts or schedule your service appointment. You can purchase these sensors online, in your local parts store, or at the dealership.
Tip: If you wheel a lot get some spare sensors while you are at the store. The front vs rear sensors are specific. I also recommend disconnecting the battery before doing any of these repairs, which will also reset the codes while you are doing the work.
How To Fix
This is a fix that can be done on the trail or in the garage depending on if you are replacing the front or rear and if you have to remove the wheel.
Removing the tire isn't required, but you may choose to for access.
- 8mm socket/wrench
- Mopar PN 52125003AD (Be sure to double check for your specific vehicle make and model)
Identify the sensor, and pull back on the red tab to disconnect it by pressing the tab and gently pulling the harness away from the sensor. Remove the 8mm bolt, and then remove the sensor. The rear doesn't come with a length of wire because it plugs directly into the sensor at the wheel. The sensor should pull out easily. Install the new sensor, and reinstall the 8mm bolt. Reconnect the new harness and plug. It's really no biggie, and it can be done fairly quickly. The only challenge would be if you have a broken sensor.
For the front you will have to remove the wheel and tire for access.
- Lug wrench or air tools for tire removal
- 21mm socket and wrench
- 8mm hex wrench
- Mopar PN 68003281AC (Be sure to double check for your specific vehicle make and model)
The front sensor comes with approximately 15" of wire with it. You may need to loosen it from the shock tower for a little more convenience. You'll have to remove the caliper bracket carefully to avoid damaging brake lines (Tip: a bucket works well to set it down). You will then remove the rotor and the screw on the sensor (8mm). Wiggle out the sensor (hopefully it won't break, be gentle). Disconnect it from the brake line and clips. On the other end of the sensor, behind the shock tower, it is held by plastic push fasteners, which you can pull out to see the wiring harness. Look for a red plastic tab, and pull the plug apart with it. Replace with the new sensor, and run the wire to the harness you just disconnected. Attach new clips, and reinstall the rotor and caliper.
Charlene Tip: Be sure to take your time, and understand what you are taking apart so you can put it back together again in the same order. It is important that all the parts are reinstalled correctly. Safety is the main concern for this manageable fix.
Voila` you're back in business. Christmas will just have to wait!
Go Touch It
If reading about the red tabs doesn’t make much sense, go o out to your vehicle, grab a creeper or a towel, and climb under your Jeep. Look for the wheel sensors (easily found on the rear). Trace the wires and see where they go. You may even find some wear that you can fix right now before it becomes an issue! Let us know when you find yours…
Author: Heather McCallay
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