Q: Steering Angle Sensor

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My maintenance required light blinks on and off for about 10 seconds when I start the car. A friend put a OBD tool on it and said it showed a code indicating something with the Steering Angle Sensor. Does this mean I need the sensor replaced? It seems that its a costly repair and I don't want to do it unless its necessary. I have NOT had a front-end alignment and have NOT had any steering issues. The car seems to drive fine - no noticeable difference from before. thank you!

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Your vehicle has an electronic vehicle stability control (VSC) system. The VSC system relies on data from the steering angle sensor to keep the vehicle on the intended path during an emergency maneuver. Inasmuch as this is a valuable vehicle safety feature, the reported malfunction in the sensor must be addressed, particularly if you allow family members to drive the vehicle and they are unaware of the potential loss of control should they ever have to carry out an evasive, emergency maneuver. The sensor can merely get out of adjustment and it can be re-calibrated, and brought back into proper operation, using the appropriate Toyota scan tool. An attempt at re-calibration, performed by a certified and knowledgeable mechanic, should be made first and then the vehicle will be road tested to verify normal operation (i.e., code will turn itself off). It is only after re-calibration is attempted that you would consider sensor replacement and, even at that, there are additional diagnostics that must be performed before the sensor is condemned. In all events, to answer your question, yes the sensor should be repaired as it is an integral component of a very useful vehicle safety system. YourMechanic can perform re-calibrations of the sensor in the field and to obtain that service, simply request steering angle sensor replacement/re-calibration. If you have additional concerns by all means please let us know.

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