Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Sensors Do All Cars Have? And What Optional Ones Are There?

car sensors

Technology has made people’s lives so much easier, even during the time they spend driving. These days, you don’t have to scratch your head trying figure out what’s wrong with your car, because it gladly tell you. The use of sensors has enhanced the capability and reliability of cars, but not all sensors are seen in every model.

The essentials

Certain sensors are pretty much standard and may even be required by law. For instance, oxygen sensors are required to control emissions and reduce pollution. ABS sensors are necessary for the ABS system to work. They tell the system when a wheel isn’t rotating correctly to help prevent a problem before it occurs.

Another important sensor in modern vehicles is the throttle position sensor. It monitors the gas pedal and how much pressure is applied and compares it to the amount of fuel being sent to the engine. The mass airflow sensor is seen on all multiport fuel injection systems. It monitors the amount of air to ensure the correct fuel/air ratio is maintained for optimal performance.

The manifold absolute pressure sensor helps ensure the ignition timing is at the right speed. This is another sensor that is needed to keep your car running. The crankshaft position sensor is essential in any vehicles without a distributor. It helps control ignition timing.

The options

When you go car shopping, you need to know that some sensors aren’t standard on all models. Otherwise, you might be disappointed when you drive your new vehicle home.

Tire pressure sensors are becoming more common, but they aren’t on every model. They monitor the air pressure in the tires and tell you when you need to add more air.

Parking sensors are also optional. Backup cameras are required, and sensors may be one day. As vehicles compete for five star ratings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, manufacturers are adding them to more models. They beep when obstacles are close to your vehicle and may be seen on the back or front of some models.

Sensors are an important part of your vehicle, but you should know which ones you don’t have or may have to request when you buy a new model.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem What the P0121 code means P0121 is a generic OBD-II code which indicates that the Engine Control...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse running rich and stalling at idle

First of all, you've got to realize that, although those technically don't have a MAF mass air flow sensor, those use what is called a Karman vortex sensor. Those sensors are notorious for going bad on Mitsubishis. They do...

Q: It starts but stalls when you let off the gas

This is a common sign of a failing throttle position sensor. The throttle position sensor (TPS) is a sensor used to monitor the throttle position of a vehicle. The sensor is usually located on the butterfly spindle/shaft so that it...

Q: Does traction control depend on catalytic converter functioning properly?

You are right, the traction control system is not related in any way to the exhaust system (e.g., the catalytic converter) in the vehicle. Traction control involves wheel speed sensors, the ABS system, and electronic controllers. If there is a...