Wheel speed sensor vs ABS sensor – Difference

The wheel speed sensor and ABS sensor are the same things used to sense the wheel speed. The ABS sensor specifically indicates the wheel speed sensor used in an antilock braking system (ABS) and the wheel speed sensor indicates the sensor that senses the rotational speed of the wheel.

Wheel speed sensor used for the bike ABS control

The wheel speed sensors provide data about the rotational speed of the wheel to the ECU (Engine control unit) or other electronic modules. This data is used for the different purposes as follows:

Traction control system (TCS): In traction control, the speed of all wheels is monitored by using a wheel speed sensor. If one of the wheels is spinning at a different speed than the other three wheels then the engine identifies loss of traction on the particular wheel.

Thus it applies brakes to the particular wheel or stops the power transmission to the particular wheel till the wheel gains traction again.

ABS: In the ABS (Antilock braking system), the wheel speed sensor is used to identify the sudden deceleration of the wheel (Locking of the wheel) during the application of brakes. The wheel speed sensor used in ABS is also referred to as an ABS sensor.

ESC (Electronic stability control): In ESC, the wheel speed sensors are mounted on all wheels. In order to avoid skidding the vehicle, the ESC module takes input from wheel speed sensors, yaw sensor, and steering angle sensor.

The role of the wheel speed sensor or the ABS sensor is the same in all applications.

Difference between Wheel speed sensor and ABS sensor:

In the below table, the difference is provided based on the purpose of the wheel speed sensor in the ABS system and other systems.

Sr. No.Wheel speed sensorABS sensor
1It is used for the Traction control system, ESC, ABS, and Speedometer.It indicates specific use for an antilock braking system (ABS).
2Data is used for finding vehicle speed or acceleration or decelerations.Data is used for finding sudden acceleration or deceleration.
3It is connected to the ECU/ TCM/ ABS module /ESC module.Sensor output is connected to the ABS module.
4If the wheel speed sensor becomes faulty then it will disturb the respective system.A faulty ABS sensor can disturb the antilock braking system.
5For ESC, all wheels have wheel speed sensors.ABS either uses 2 or 4 sensors.


  1. What is the use of a wheel speed sensor in the ABS system?

    The wheel speed sensor helps to identify sudden deceleration in the wheel, this helps to identify the locking of the wheel for the ABS system.

  2. Is the same wheel speed sensor used for ABS and traction control?

    The data from the wheel speed sensor is used by the multiple systems, thus the same sensor is used to provide input to the ABS and traction control system.

Pratik is a Graduated Mechanical engineer. He enjoys sharing the engineering knowledge learned by him with people.

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