NC is bound to become a pioneer in terms of allowing autonomous driving systems on the road. Especially because of initiatives such as the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.What this means for car owners is that the average amount of sensors in their vehicles will likely triple.
A modern car easily features 50 sensors that collect and transmit data to engine control modules, infotainment units and driving-assistance systems. Imagine how many more sensors reporting will be needed for your future car to drive you around Raleigh.
Sensors have been part of passenger cars since the early 1980s; one of the first mass-produced ECM systems was the Motorola 6802. Which was first installed as a trip computer on a Cadillac Seville. Back then, only a handful of sensors were in cars. And they were mostly for monitoring emissions & control purposes. These days, the functionality of sensors has been greatly increased for the purpose of maximizing the efficiency of several automotive systems. Whenever you see the dreaded “check engine” light on your dashboard, chances are that at least one sensor produced a reading interpreted by the ECM as a potential issue that deserves your attention.To further understand car sensors and what they do, let’s take a look at some of the ones you may find in a 2018 Honda CRV:
When the idling of your vehicle seems to be off, you will probably notice a sharp reduction of fuel efficiency, and these are issues likely related to the oxygen sensor, often located between the catalytic converter and the exhaust manifold. You do not want to drive too many miles with a faulty O2 sensor, particularly when considering that replacement is not an expensive repair.
Mass Air Flow Sensor
You can see this sensor when you open the hood of your Honda CRV. It attaches to the air filter casing. The purpose is to measure the amount of fresh air flowing through the engine. A complete malfunction of this sensor may result in random stalling of the engine. However, it may also be indicative of other issues such as obstructions or even a very dirty air filter.
Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor
As its name suggests, this sensor measures pressure. And the ECM needs pressure to adjust fuel injection patterns according to engine load. This sensor is crucial in terms of engine performance and fuel economy.
Crankshaft and Camshaft Position Sensors
These long lasting sensors, measure mechanical positions. Without these sensors, your CRV will not operate. This is because the ECM would not be able to control the timing of the engine. The engine speed sensor works together with these two devices to control proper fuel injection and performance.
Spark Knock Sensor
Internal combustion engines are powered by means of regulated explosions ignited by the spark plugs. Detonation that can damage the engine because the resulting mixture of air and fuel produces very high pressures and temperatures. The spark knock sensor resembles a spark plug; it listens for abnormal detonations, thus allowing the ECM to formulate the right fuel and air mixture.
Throttle Position Sensor
This sensor measures the mechanical performance of the throttle valves, which open up based on the position of the accelerator pedal as you press down on it. In essence, the TPS detects the response time of the throttle valve. Abnormal readings or total TPS malfunction will likely activate the “check engine” light, and they may also cause the car to hesitate or suddenly accelerate.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor
The function of this sensor is pretty easy to guess given its name. Basically, the TPMS is the modern equivalent of the manual tire pressure gauge. The “old timey” things that you can sometimes still find at many gas stations and auto parts stores. The difference is that installation in new vehicles has been mandatory since 2008. These sensors are battery-powered and located near the wheel assembly. They offer reading transmissions to the ECM. Your vehicle then displays them on the dashboard for your convenience. Some drivers feel that these sensors are not as critical as the ones others. But they are very important in terms of road safety. This is because they can let you know about problems with your vehicle’s tires.