A List of Engine Sensors

by Felicia Dye
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Properly functioning sensors are essential to a properly functioning engine. AA 1 Car simplifies the role of sensors saying, "They act like the engines eyes and ears, helping it make the most of its driving conditions." The analogy of eyes and ears has a tendency to conjure up images of pairs, but engines in modern vehicles have far more than two sensors. Although they may work together, each sensor is responsible for specific tasks.

MAP Sensors

A MAP sensor is one of the electronic controls listed in a group known as pressure sensors. It analyzes the pressure of vacuum created when the fuel mixture passes through the intake manifold. Then, it emits a signal that helps the Engine Control Module (ECM) make adjustments that affect internal combustion.

Barometric Pressure Sensors

Barometric Pressure Sensors are sometimes called High Altitude Compensators. These components measure changes in the atmosphere that result from varying weather and varying elevations. Based on the acquired information these sensors allow adjustments to fuel mixtures and engine timing.

Oxygen Sensors

O2, or oxygen sensors, measure the amount of oxygen that was not burned by the engine and therefore escapes through the exhaust. These sensors then send a signal that allows a computer to make the adjustments that are necessary to keep emissions at an ideal level. Many cars have two O2 sensors.

Coolant Temperature Sensors

The Coolant Temperature Sensor (CLT) is located near the thermostat. As its name suggests, this sensor analyzes the temperature of the engine coolant. According to AllPar Repairs, information from the CLT controls when the engine enters closed loop and when to turn on the radiator fan for 1985 and later models.

Crankshaft Position Sensor

The Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) emits signals that help a vehicle control ignition timing and operation of the cylinders, says AA 1 Car. Although they serve the same purpose, there are two types of CKPs. One uses a magnet to detect notches in the crankshaft as it spin. The other, known as Hall Effect, uses a magnetic field.

Vehicle Speed Sensors

The Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) monitors the speed of the vehicle. How the acquired information is used depends upon the type of vehicle that it is in. According to Engine Light Help, this sensor can regulate power steering pressures, release the pressure on a locked wheel, and determine the ride height in vehicles with air suspension systems.

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