Types of Car Sensors

I have scoured the web looking for the best car sensor videos to help you understand your OBD Codes. These videos have a basic explanation of each one and what it does with some notes on how to diagnose the problem. If you are looking for OBD-II diagnostic information, then this is the best place to find it.

This page is designed for both DIY vehicle owners as well as professional mechanics. This information will be valuable to anyone who wants to learn how to pinpoint problems with their vehicles. The carefully selected videos below will give you a good overview of the different types of car sensors and how each of them works.

If there are any additional videos on auto diagnosis that you would like to suggest, please let me know using the "Contact Me" link at the bottom of this page.

TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) Sensor

The throttle position sensor (aka TPS) is a sensor that your car uses to determine how far the gas pedal is pushed down. The TPS can sometimes be cleaned on some cars. If you have a TPS code then you might want to try cleaning it first.

MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) Sensor

The car sensor called the manifold absolute pressure sensor, or MAP sensor is used by the ECM to determine the pressure inside the intake manifold. The PCM then uses this info to determine the required fuel mixture for the best combustion possible.

MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) Sensor

The mass airflow sensor also known as the MAF is used by your cars computer to determine how much air is flowing into the engine. It can then use this information to calculate the correct amount of fuel to put into the engine. Most cars will have either a manifold absolute pressure (MAP sensor) sensor or a mass airflow sensor (MAF sensor) but rarely both.

O2 Sensor (Oxygen Sensor)

The oxygen sensor (sometimes called the 02 sensor) is something that you will find inserted into the exhaust pipe in several different places. It is usually in the exhaust manifold and usually on the downstream side of the catalytic converter or CAT.

It is used to determine the amount of oxygen that is left in the exhaust. When combustion occurs in the cylinder there is very little oxygen left. If there is more than normal the 02 sensor reads this and send that info to the computer. The PCM will then set the check engine light if a problem continues.

Crankshaft Sensor (CKP Sensor), Camshaft Sensor (CMP Sensor) and Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)

The crankshaft (CKP) and camshaft (CMP) are types of car sensors used to determine the position of the crankshaft and the camshaft so the ECM knows how to set the timing.

The VSS or vehicle speed sensor is used to determine the speed of each wheel. The PCM uses this info to apply the anti-lock braking system. It also uses this info for the speedometer sometimes.

Fuel Level Sensor

Knock Sensor

This measuring device is basically a small microphone that is bolted onto the engine block. When the engine causes a "knock" it will send a small electrical charge to the computer. The computer can then adjust timing to prevent the knocking from continuing.

Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)

Transmission Shift Solenoid (TSS)

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