For an aspiring auto mechanic, it’s important to know how to assess engine sensor performance for a vehicle. Sensors are designed to detect any physical and chemical changes that may occur inside a vehicle, ensuring that a vehicle’s engine runs smoothly. They then transmit these changes to the vehicle’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Sometimes these sensors can fail and stop transmitting any signals to the PCM or end up transmitting the wrong signals altogether.
At ATC Toronto you’ll receive hands-on training in electrical systems diagnostics, gasoline engines, cooling systems, ignition systems, fuel injection systems, emissions, computer control systems and much more. With comprehensive training, you’ll be able to diagnose problems with a vehicle’s performance by checking the performance of its sensors.
Read on to learn how you can assess engine sensors below!
Testing the Mass Airflow Sensor When You Become a Certified Mechanic
A mass airflow sensor (MAF) measures the engine’s air intake as well as the density of the air. The mass airflow sensor enables the computer system in the vehicle to monitor and control the engine’s performance. To test the MAF sensor on a customer’s vehicle, you’ll need to check the vehicle’s air intake duct for dirt, loose connections or damage, and unplug the sensor if necessary. After you become a certified mechanic, you may need to check if the MAF sensor is burnt by setting the digital meter to Ohms, unplugging the sensor and then setting one of the meter’s probes to the sensor’s signal terminal and another to the ground. The meter should read 0 Ohms of resistance. If the sensor is burnt, the meter will read infinite resistance.
Check the Coolant Sensor Performance
After you complete your training at an auto mechanic school, you may need to assess a vehicle’s coolant sensor. The coolant sensor ensures that the powertrain control module (PCM) receives information on the coolant’s temperature inside the vehicle’s engine. If the coolant sensor becomes faulty, the vehicle’s control functions will end up changing with the temperature and may cause the engine to overheat or work harder than it needs. This can result in increased fuel consumption and higher emissions.
When assessing the coolant sensor’s output, you need to use a scan tool designed for temperature reading. The sensor should match the air inlet temperature when the engine is in a cold state and increase gradually when the engine starts to warm up. Also, the sensor’s resistance needs to correspond to changes in temperature. If the reading is incorrect, the sensor is faulty.
Assess Engine Load by Checking the MAP Sensor
A vehicle’s Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor is designed to monitor the difference in pressure between the outside environment and the vehicle’s intake vacuum. Information sent from the MAP sensor to the PCM allows it to assess the atmospheric pressure and adjust the air/fuel mixture in the engine. Any problems with the MAP sensor can cause a miscalculation in the amount of fuel and the spark timing needed for correct engine performance.
To properly assess if the MAP sensor is functioning properly, you’ll need to use a scan tool to check its output or use a digital meter to read its voltage and frequency output. You’ll then know if the sensor needs to be replaced when the reading is out of range and there’s no leak coming from the intake vacuum.
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