Owning a car is exciting, but it’s also a big responsibility. It’s important to become familiar with car sensors, how they work, and what happens when they don’t. Here are seven sensors in your car that you should know about.
Engine Speed Sensor
The engine speed sensor is a sensor that is attached to the crankshaft to monitor the spinning speed of the crankshaft. The crankshaft controls the fuel injection and timing of the engine. When the speed sensor stops working, you may begin to have issues with cruise control, improper shifting, and your check engine light will come on.
Fuel Temperature Sensor
The fuel temperature sensor ensures the car’s fuel consumption is efficient. This sensor tells the engine control unit to adjust the amount of fuel it injects. When fuel is warm it is less dense and burns more quickly. Cold fuel is more dense and burns more slowly. If this sensor fails, your car won’t be affected, but its use of fuel will be. The check engine light will come on when this sensor isn’t working.
Spark Knock Sensor
The spark knock sensor ensures fuel is burning efficiently. Spark knock (detonation) is a form of combustion that occurs when multiple flame fronts occur simultaneously inside a combustion chamber instead of just one flame growing smoothly and expanding. A spark knock detonation can be caused by fuel being subjected to too much heat, too much pressure, or both. You may hear a pinging or knocking noise when this happens.
An oxygen sensor, or lambda sensor, is important to your car’s exhaust system. It’s used to measure the proportional amount of oxygen in a liquid or gas. The sensor sends data to the management computer of the car’s engine. The sensor will keep emissions in check and warn you when they are excessive. A faulty oxygen sensor can also contribute to poor idling and higher fuel consumption.
Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor is critical to the performance of the car’s engine, good gas mileage, and low emissions. The sensor calculates the volume and density of air that the engine takes in. This ensures that the correct amount of fuel is used. Should the sensor become faulty fuel usage will go up and the car may stall. As long as a mass airflow sensor is functioning well it doesn’t need to be replaced.
Tire Pressure Sensor
Tire pressure monitor sensor (TPMS) will warn you of any tires on your vehicle that are under-inflated. The indicator is yellow and shaped like a horseshoe. When this appears, don’t ignore it. An under-inflated tire can create unsafe driving conditions and accidents.
Throttle Position Sensor
The function of the throttle position sensor is to monitor the throttle position of the vehicle. This sensor is located on the butterfly spindle/shaft so that it can monitor the position. When this sensor fails, your check engine light will illuminate. Other signs of a throttle position sensor failure may include: rough or slow idle, stalling, and lack of power when accelerating.
Knowing about the various sensors in your car is important. If one needs replacing you’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run by doing so.