Originally Posted by zippyh
Jeebus, just replace it. They're about $125. Don't cheap out and get the non-OEM ones. You're driving a 10+ year old car in the north east, it's going to be crudded up. Those sensors aren't known for their longevity. Try not to kill yourself and use jack stands and block the wheels.
I'd look into those DME fan codes too. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpost.php?p=3320166&postcount=13
Thanks for the only helpful post, lmao.
I did a lot of searching on the car forums and it was very evenly divided over the alleged efficacy of cleaning the sensor. Some people say that cleaning it theoretically should have no effect because it operates based on magnetic sensing (i.e., dirt / debris wouldn't impact that). But a LOT of other people say that cleaning their sensors fixed the issue after seeing a build-up of metallic shavings around its magnetic poles.
The DIY guide for accessing the sensors shows it to be very straightforward -- should only take 15 minutes or so: lift the car, pop off the wheel, and the sensor is right behind the rotor and easily accessible. ECS Tuning has the OEM part but it won't ship out for another five days, meaning I wouldn't get it for at least another week or two if I ordered today. I figure I can try cleaning the sensor as a preliminary step and see if that resolves the issue. If not, I'll replace it with a new one. If THAT doesn't work too, I'm taking it to my mechanic.
When I told him my symptoms and codes, he said that's what he would do as well because it's a process of elimination type thing for this common issue. He admittedly joked and said he would have just started off with replacing the sensor from the get-go so he could charge me, lol. I also called a dealership and spoke to a service manager, gave him the codes, etc; he said they would start off with replacing the ABS/DSC module and quoted me $1,500+ for parts and labor
In any case, I have a hydraulic lift, jack stands, and wheel blocks getting delivered to me on Sunday (dat Amazon Prime). Perfect timing to jack the car up when it'll be relatively warm outside.