Terry Connor's relegation-haunted side remain rooted to the bottom of the table five points behind second-bottom Blackburn and six adrift of third-bottom Bolton, but they at least ended a run of seven straight defeats in the league.
They also ended a run of league matches without a clean sheet that stretches back to their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa in August.
Both sides had chances to win the match, but a draw was probably about the right outcome from an instantly forgettable contest in which Sunderland failed to find the net for a third straight game.
The last time a league meeting between these two teams ended goalless was in Wolverhampton on 17 March 1984.
They have played 25 matches since then, but will have to wait a while for their next league meeting with Wolves almost certainly returning to the Championship next season with only four games of this campaign to play.
Whether or not the much-maligned Connor will be around to lead their bid to return to the top flight at the first attempt remains a point of some dubiety, but Wolves managed to unearth a level of backbone not seen for much of a wretched campaign in which they have shipped 73 goals while scoring only 34
James McClean should have found the opening goal for Martin O'Neill's side on 15 minutes when he skipped onto a pass from the busy Stephane Sessegnon only to knock the ball wide of Wayne Hennessey's goal.
Home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet dived to hold a shot by Anthony Forde on 57 minutes as the game gradually opened up after a pretty insipid first period.
Sunderland had enjoyed the better moments in the first period, but the visitors were the more vibrant side in the second half with Steven Fletcher playing in Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to hammer an effort wide on the hour-mark before Fletcher saw Mignolet claw out a header with 12 minutes remaining.
Sunderland could and should have won it when McClean headed straight at Hennessey on 71 minutes while Sebastian Larsson lifted the ball over the bar from six yards out after a piece of direct play by Sessegnon saw him clatter an effort across goal.
Wolves substitute Dave Edwards drove a volley wide on 86 minutes after a mistake by Matthew Kilgallon, but a winning goal would have been harsh on either team.