3 Types of Car Sensors Seen in Auto Repair Careers
August 1, 2017
Vehicles are made up of a variety of intricate and complex systems, many of which rely on communication from other systems within the vehicle to function properly. Sensors help a vehicle’s systems monitor performance and communicate with each other. There are over a dozen different types of sensors that can be found in modern day vehicles, each playing an important role in the way the car functions. As a future auto mechanic, it’s important that you’re aware of these sensors, so you can determine if they are malfunctioning and repair them if necessary.
Do you want to become an auto mechanic? Read on to learn more about three automotive sensors you may encounter during your career.
1. Professionals with Auto Repair Careers Know Crash Sensors Are Essential for Safety
After seatbelts, airbags are one of the most important safety features in modern vehicles. To keep passengers safe during an accident, airbags must deploy immediately after a crash occurs. And to help airbags deploy in time, crash sensors have the important job of detecting a collision and quickly triggering the airbags. There are two main types of crash sensors you might encounter during your auto repair career: mechanical and electrical.
Mechanical sensors use a firing pin, which generates a tiny explosion when a collision occurs. It is this miniscule explosion that tells the airbags to deploy. Electrical sensors, on the other hand, work a little differently. The main type of electrical sensor you’re likely to find in airbag systems is the ball-and-tube sensor. This type of sensor contains a small ball, kept in place by a magnet, within a tube. In the event of a crash, the force of the impact dislodges the ball and sends it down the tube. Once there, it hits an electrical trigger that causes the airbags to inflate.
2. Speed Sensors Help Engines Adjust for Ideal Performance
Speed sensors communicate important data to the engine about the car’s speed, which in turn helps the engine regulate its functions. As a result, speed sensors are an extremely important component in any vehicle. You can usually find a vehicle’s speed sensor near the transaxle or transmission. Speed sensors are mainly responsible for tracking transmission output and wheel speed information, which the engine then uses to adjust transmission shift points, ignition timing, AF ratio, and other important functions.
3. Pros with Auto Repair Careers Know a Working Fuel Level Sensor Is Important
A functional fuel level sensor is essential. If a car owner doesn’t know how much fuel is in their tank, they could end up stranded on the side of the road. In order to avoid the stressful guessing game that comes with a broken fuel level sensor, it’s important that professionals with careers in the auto industry make sure these sensors stay in tip top shape.
A typical fuel sensor system is made up of several components: a float, resistor, metal rod, and wiper. Inside the fuel tank, the float, which is typically made of foam, is connected to a metal rod that leads to a resistor, which slows down the flow of electricity. The more resistance the resistor creates, the less electricity is able to flow through it.
The wiper is found in the resistor, and moves up and down with the rod. When the tank is full, the float will be near the top of the tank, meaning that the rod will be up as well, keeping the wiper up. With the wiper in place, the current can pass through the resistor and move the needle of the fuel gauge up, indicating that the tank is full. As the tank empties, the float drops, pulling down the metal rod and wiper. With the wiper moving away from the electrical current, the signal becomes weaker and weaker, indicating that the tank is emptying.
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