Most modern vehicles have anti-lock brake systems that use sensors to detect wheel rotation rates, reporting to a computer that is able to modulate brake pressure if one or more wheels should lock during a braking operation. Usually, the sensor is a Hall Effect, or so-called reluctance component, which looks at a toothed ring (called a tone ring) that is affixed to the wheel or axle. The teeth passing by the sensor creates a waveform that can be recognized and interpreted by the ABS controller. On three-channel ABS systems (typically found on older pickups), the rear axle is monitored by one sensor while the front wheels have their own individual sensors and anti-lock control. Four-channel systems monitor each wheel independently.
The camshaft position sensor monitors the position of the camshaft and reports that data to the car’s onboard computer system. This computer system works with sensors and other devices to keep the engine running. With data from the camshaft position sensor (CPS), the fuel injectors know when to fire. When the sensor malfunctions, the computer does not know when to fire the injectors and may not fire them at all. The faulty readouts may also throw off spark timing, which will affect the car’s fuel economy. This sensor is used in conjunction with the crankshaft position sensor to control ignition timing. It is common for heat and oil leaks to cause this sensor to fail, due to where the sensor is located.
The coolant level sensor is designed to alert the driver when the coolant level is low and to prevent overheating or damage to the engine. This aids in diagnosing leaks and other dangerous cooling system conditions.
Coolant level sensors can consist of a plastic sensor with a plastic or foam float that sits underneath the coolant reservoir cap. Or, they can be plastic sensors that plug into the radiator or another component of the cooling system.
Some vehicles are equipped with a Low Coolant or Check Coolant warning light, while others may display a picture of the vehicle with a red dot in the engine bay. This is to inform the driver that the coolant needs to be checked or that there is a fault
with the sensor.
A speed/timing sensor measures the rotation of a component to determine its physical rotational speed. When it is monitored, it can be used to determine the correct air/fuel mixture, the spark advance, and variable valve timing for your engine. The speed
timing sensor is a magnetic coil that is mounted stationary to the engine block and reads the teeth on the crankshaft as it rotates. As the crankshaft spins during driving, an induction current is created around the magnetic coil. The crankshaft’s serrated
edge obstructs this magnetic field and the result gets recorded.
Engine oil is needed to lubricate the inner workings of your engine and prevent damage from friction. It works alongside the coolant that circulates in and around the engine to cool it. However, engine oil temperature must be strictly controlled. If the temperature crosses a threshold, engine damage can result. The oil temperature sensor’s job is to monitor oil temp and communicate the information with the car’s computer. In some models, the oil temp is actually displayed in the dash, but many newer models only display engine coolant temperature. The oil temperature sensor works in tandem with the water temperature sensor and other temperature monitors to ensure that the temperature remains within an acceptable range.
The vital role of the low oil level sensor is protecting your engine from friction as well as wear and tear. You need to have the right amount of oil in the engine at all times or the friction and heat will severely lower the longevity of your engine components. Today, most cars come with an oil level sensing system that determines how much oil is in the pan and transfers the information to the car’s computer.
It’s important for drivers to have access to a wide range of information while behind the wheel. This includes vehicle speed, RPM, fuel level, coolant temperature and much more. The information needed is displayed for the driver on gauges – the fuel gauge, the speedometer, the tachometer, etc. This is the instrument cluster. Like many other elements of your vehicle, the modern instrument cluster is electronic, nd requires voltage in order to operate. The instrument cluster consumes less power than batteries do (Batteries use around six volts).
Many newer cars have computerized engine management systems that rely on sensors to report data to the computer. The crankshaft position sensor is used in conjunction with the camshaft position sensor to control ignition timing and to let the computer know when to inject fuel and provide spark sequence. Due to the mounting locations of this sensor, it is common for heat and oil leaks to cause this sensor to fail.