How to Replace a Speed Sensor on a 2002 Dodge Neon

by Marion Cobretti
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The speed sensor, also known as the VSS or vehicle speed sensor, monitors the rotation of your Neon’s transmission to determine ground speed. This information is then relayed to your PCM, which helps it control other vehicle functions such as the transmission shifting patterns. A defective vehicle speed sensor will cause your car to shift gears erratically. You may even experience extended gear run-out before the transmission shifts. One example would be driving a manual transmission vehicle and shifting gears far later than you should have. The vehicle speed sensor on the 2002 Dodge Neon mounts beneath the car right at the transmission output shaft.

Step 1

Raise and support the hood on your Neon. Locate the car’s battery and remove the negative cable from the battery post with a socket wrench. Position the cable away from the battery once removed to prevent accidental reconnection during the repair.

Step 2

Open the driver’s side door and apply the car’s emergency brake.

Step 3

Raise the car just behind the front passenger side tire with a hydraulic jack at a minimum of 14 inches from the ground. The car does not have to be extremely high, but you should be able to slide under the car without it touching your chest. Place a jack stand into position on the left of the hydraulic jack beneath the frame rail to help support the car.

Step 4

Slide under the Neon at the center of the front passenger door. Locate the vehicle speed sensor on the output shaft. If you look directly at the transmission from the current position you're in under the car, you should see the sensor’s wiring harness plug. The harness plug will have black sheathing on it, and right at the tip where the sheathing meets the plug you should see the three wires it protects.

Step 5

Unplug the vehicle speed sensor’s wiring harness plug. Press down on the plug’s safety clip with your thumb while pulling the harness vertically off the sensor.

Step 6

Remove the sensor’s mounting bolt with your socket wrench. Lift the sensor out of its housing vertically. If the sensor has never been replaced since you’ve had the vehicle, dirt and debris may be built up around the sensor. Clean the area around the sensor with a wire brush and rag before you remove it.

Step 7

Compare the old vehicle speed sensor with your new one to assure you have the correct replacement. Check the drive gear on both sensors to assure they match as well.

Step 8

Insert the new vehicle speed sensor back into position just as you removed the old sensor. Set your 1/4-inch drive torque wrench to 60 inch-lbs. and secure the sensor’s mounting bolt in place. Plug the sensor’s wiring harness plug back up to it.

Step 9

Remove the jack stand and lower the Neon back down to the ground completely. Disengage the emergency brake. Connect the negative cable back to its post and tighten its bolt with your socket wrench until secure. Shut the hood and test drive your 2002 Dodge Neon.

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