Your car is made up of thousands of pieces, large and small, right down to the nuts and bolts that hold the thing together. Ongoing maintenance of every single part over the course of a year, or even the lifetime of your vehicle, can seem overwhelming to most drivers—and rightfully so, that’s a lot of parts to manage! That’s why it’s helpful to follow the recommended maintenance plan set forth by your specific car’s manufacturer. This recommended maintenance plan should also include tasks catered to your car’s vital sensors, which are critical for your vehicle’s performance and overall functioning.
When sensors begin to deteriorate, become dirty, or damaged in some way, it can cause serious performance issues in your car. As we mentioned before, your car relies on the complex interworking parts to perform well, and the sensors play a huge role in how each system functions. In this article, we’ll go over a few of the various types of important sensors in your car and their functions. We’ll also talk about how these sensors can eventually fail and what you can do to prevent that.
Various Types of Sensors and Their Functions
The various systems in your vehicle, including the fuel system, ignition system, transmission system, and wheel system are each equipped with sensors that gather and transmit signals which include critical information to your car’s computer or ECU. While all the sensors are important in your vehicle, some are more important for daily functioning than others. These are three of the most critical sensors in your car that help it function regularly and perform optimally:
Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor plays an integral role in the combustion and ignition processes of your car. It detects the flow of air through your engine and helps it determine what it needs to properly combust or ignite. The proper fuel-to-air ratio is essential for proper engine functioning; otherwise you could encounter difficult running or starting your car.
Along with the mass airflow sensor, the oxygen sensor determines how much oxygen is present in your engine and adjusts the fuel-to-oxygen ratio accordingly for optimal combustion conditions. Without the right amount of oxygen, your engine could run rich, causing it to burn fuel less efficiently.
Wheel Speed Sensor
These sensors are especially critical in today’s cars, as the use of traction control and anti-lock braking systems is commonplace. With the help of the wheel speed sensor, your car determines how to distribute power and control to the various wheels depending on the driving conditions and traction. You might not think of it this way, but the wheel sensor plays an important function in keeping your vehicle safe and securely adhered to the road.
What Can Happen to Sensors Over Time
Just like all the other parts and pieces of your vehicle, the sensors need love and care too. Over time, vehicle parts corrode and can become dirty or damaged. It’s important to perform routine inspections and tune-ups to determine how well your sensors are functioning. Furthermore, your recommended maintenance plan set forth by the manufacturer can help you decide when to investigate the condition of the sensors in your car. If you notice any concerning signs of diminished performance, it’s important to have a differential diagnosis performed to isolate one of the sensors as the main issue.
Why It’s Important to Bring Your Car to a Specialist
When sensors fail or become damaged it can cause your car to become unreliable and ill performing. This is concerning, especially for drivers who have invested their time, money, and energy in driving a luxury vehicle such as a European import. In such cases, it is critical to seek out expert help in the automotive field. It’s best to look for professionals who are especially knowledgeable in the specific type of vehicle you drive, and ask questions about their credentials.
How We Can Help
The European import specialists here at Auto Europa, located in San Francisco, CA, have been providing the highest quality specialized care for luxury vehicles in SF since 1992. For approaching 3 decades, we have remained the leading automotive service and repair for European-engineered vehicles in the area. If you’re wondering when to inspect the sensors in your car, or you’re experiencing concerning symptoms in your vehicle’s performance, please contact one of our specialists right away to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you with your automotive service and maintenance needs.