4 Signs Of A Bad Steering Angle Sensor (& Replacement Cost)
Modern vehicles come with a plethora of sensors connected with a vehicle’s central computer or the PCM.
One sensor is the steering angle sensor, responsible for keeping a check on the car’s stability and traction. This sensor is linked to the car’s stability technology, which comes under various names.
Every manufacturer has a unique name for their vehicle’s stability technology, but a different name doesn’t change the fact that the technology used by all manufacturers is basically the same.
This article will cover the causes, whereabouts, and cost of replacing a steering angle sensor. Let’s begin with the signs to look out for.
Bad steering angle sensors are most often symptomized by warning lights on the dashboard. It’s either a traction control light or a check engine light, depending on the car model. Another rare issue is heavy steering, or unusual steering following a wheel alignment.
Every sensor is susceptible to damage from constant usage. Electronic components are known to have a limited lifespan.
When a component has reached the end of its life expectancy, its effectiveness begins to decrease. Every part of a car that is failing can give you warning signs and cause you to act quickly.
This is a detailed listing of some of the signs of a poor steering angle sensor.
- Bad Steering Angle Sensor Symptoms
- What's a Steering Angle Sensor and How Does It Work?
- The Steering Angle Sensor Location
- Diagnostics of an Failing Steering Angle Sensor
- Steering Angle Sensor Replacement Cost
Bad Steering Angle Sensor Symptoms
1. Make sure your engine light is on
The sensor in older cars was connected to the ECU. Check engine lights are a sign of ECU issues. The dashboard light that illuminates can indicate any problems with your powertrain.
Both the traction control system and engine control unit need a signal from your steering angle sensor. If this signal is not received, the warning light will be lit.
This means that if the light comes on in your dashboard, it might be an indication of a defective steering angle sensor.
2. Traction Control Light Illuminates
As we have already mentioned, the steering angle sensor can also be connected to traction control.
The steering angle sensor measures how far you're turning your car. It also adjusts for slippery conditions.
The traction control light will be illuminated if the steering angle sensor does not send a signal.
Other warning lights, such as the ABS and the Airbag light may be visible. If the steering angle sensor wirings have been damaged, the airbag can also be affected.
3. Heavy steering wheel turning
Modern cars have electric power steering. To ensure that the power steering works properly, and to know when the pump should be started, it is necessary to measure the angle of the vehicle's steering wheel. This job is being done by the steering-angle sensor.
The sensor might have sent inaccurate information to the car’s onboard computer, resulting in unnecessary automatic adjustments. You might find that the sensor is no longer functioning. In this case, the ECU will send the correct information to the ECU. If the light turns on (the traction control light will turn off), the power steering will cease working.
4. Auto Acts Strangely After Wheel Alignment
If your car has an electric power steering pump (which most cars do), this applies.
A failing steering angle sensor could be the reason your car behaves strangely or drives oddly after an alignment.
After an alignment, it is crucial to reset your steering angle sensor. You could have this issue if the mechanic doesn't do it. If this happens, visit your mechanic again and ask him to reset the sensor and realign the wheels.
What's a Steering Angle Sensor and How Does It Work?
Modern vehicles are riddled with sensors that signal the vehicle’s onboard computer to take the necessary action regarding certain conditions. For a vehicle's performance and safety, one of these sensors is the steering angle sensor.
The steering angle sensor is a device that senses and measures the steering angle. There are two main types of steering angles sensors available.
They use two different ways to determine the steering angle. Digital sensors are the most common in automobiles. They use an LED light to measure the turn rate and wheel angle. After transferring this data to the ECU the ECU adjusts your car's traction control.
The Steering Angle Sensor Location
Most car models have the steering angle sensor wrapped around the steering column.
It is possible for some cars to have the sensor located inside of the steering wheel, however it is rare. It is possible to have 2 steering angle sensors on some cars, making it crucial that the correct one be replaced.
Sometimes, the steering wheel must be removed to view or access the angle sensor.
Diagnostics of an Failing Steering Angle Sensor
It is usually quite straightforward to diagnose a defective steering angle sensor if the equipment is right.
A multimeter can be very helpful in diagnosing the problem, but it's often difficult. It's better to have a tool that is more accurate.
Simply connect the diagnostic instrument and you can check live data sent by the steering angle sensor or traction control unit.
If your steering wheel is straight you will see the signal "0 degrees" If the value changes, try to move the steering wheel a bit more to the left or right. If it doesn’t, you might have a faulty steering angle sensor.
This is where you should verify that your sensor receives power and ground. In the latter case it may be due to a bad steering angle sensor.
Steering Angle Sensor Replacement Cost
The cost of replacing the steering angle sensor ranges from $150 to $500 depending on your car's make and model. The steering angle sensor costs $120 – $250, and the labor costs averaging at $80 – $250.
After looking at the cost of replacement, you may be surprised to learn that prices vary widely. It is not possible to set a fixed cost for either the labor or part. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the part’s price can depend on the make of your car and its model year.
It is important to understand that you must find a qualified mechanic who has the necessary diagnostic tools for this task. Once the steering angle sensor has been removed, calibration is required.
Some sensors for steering angles are part of the steering column control unit. This means that it must be programmed in the car. However, this is not common. However, if this is the case, programming it can be more costly.