Three Signs That Your Boost Pressure Sensor Is Not Working (& How to Replace It)
A turbocharger and supercharger are two components that will increase your car's power output.
These components can have a powerful effect on your engine, but you must also monitor them so that they work properly.
That’s where the boost pressure sensor comes in. What is the purpose of the boost pressure sensor?
We’ll break it all down here before diving into how much it will cost you if you need to replace this sensor. Let’s begin with the signs you should look out for to know if your boost pressure sensor is bad:
A check engine light is the most obvious sign of a low boost pressure sensor. Also, you might notice a slower or more rapid acceleration.
These are the symptoms that can indicate a bad boost pressure sensor. Here's a detailed listing of these common signs:
- Bad Boost Pressure Sensor Symptoms
- What's a Boost Pressure Sensor?
- Location of the Boost Pressure Sensor
- Cost of replacing Boost Pressure Sensor
- Are You able to Drive with a Faulty Boost Pressure Sensor?
Bad Boost Pressure Sensor Symptoms
1. Make sure your engine light is on
If you have a faulty boost pressure sensor, you’re going to have a check engine light. More specifically, you’re going to have a code P0236. If you have this engine code, there’s a good chance that you have a faulty boost pressure sensor, but it’s not the only thing that could be causing it.
You’ll still need to rule out an underlying electrical issue, and you’ll need to verify that there’s nothing wrong with your turbo or supercharger. If there is an underlying issue, your boost pressure sensor is doing precisely what it’s supposed to, alerting you of an underlying problem.
2. Reduced Performance or an Increased One
Your boost pressure sensor tells your ECM the actual output of your turbo or supercharger, so if it’s not reporting accurate numbers, the ECM will adjust to faulty readings. It will result in a general decrease or increase of engine performance.
Although a bad boost pressure sensor may cause more performance drop in turbocharged engines than supercharged, it can also lead to drops in overall engine performance. That’s because even with a supercharged engine, the ECM doesn’t know how the supercharger is performing, so it can’t optimize performance.
A turbocharged engine might cause the turbo to stop completely. This will result in a drop in engine performance.
It can increase turbo pressure, which in rare instances can lead to performance increases. You should address it immediately as this can lead to engine damage.
3. Lack of or an increase in Boost
We have already discussed how a bad boost pressure sensor could cause engine performance to decrease or increase. The turbo pressure may be either increased or decreased.
Some models of cars actually come with a turbo pressure gauge that allows you to see the current turbo pressure. A bad boost pressure sensor can cause pressure drops or rises on high loads.
What's a Boost Pressure Sensor?
Your vehicle’s boost pressure sensor tells the ECM how much boost the turbocharger or supercharger is actually producing. The ECM can request a certain amount of boost but it must measure its results.
That’s where the boost pressure sensor comes in. This lets the ECM know what’s actually happening to optimize the fuel-to-air ratio for optimal performance. Moreover, it acts as a way to protect the rest of the engine if the supercharger or turbocharger stops functioning the way it’s supposed to.
Location of the Boost Pressure Sensor
Your vehicle’s boost pressure sensor is usually located on the boost pipes between the intake manifold and the turbocharger. On some cars, it can be found on the intake manifold.
It can record any boost the turbocharger or supercharger creates without getting in the path of anything else.
Although it is located near the top, this location can be difficult to access. However, when it comes to finding and accessing the boost pressure sensor, it’s one of the easier components on most vehicles.
Cost of replacing Boost Pressure Sensor
Average replacement costs for boost pressure sensors are between $175 to $200. This cost will vary depending on what vehicle you have and the place you are taking it to be repaired. If you’re looking to replace this sensor yourself to save a little money, you can, but most of the cost is in parts, not labor.
An average cost of a boost pressure sensor is over $125. But while you’re not going to save a ton of money, replacing the boost pressure sensor yourself is typically fairly straightforward. You just need to disconnect the battery and then remove the connector.
Once the connector is plugged in and seated, you can attach the new sensor. You should now be able to proceed if the boost pressure sensor is the issue.
Are You able to Drive with a Faulty Boost Pressure Sensor?
A faulty boost pressure sensor should not be used in a vehicle. Without a boost pressure sensor, it’s quite common for the ECM to direct too much power to the turbocharger, which can have catastrophic consequences for your engine.
You could end up destroying your engine by neglecting a sensor costing less than $200. That’s because too much boost can cause your engine to overheat, which can damage various components.
If you don’t have the money to replace your boost pressure sensor right away, it’s better to leave the vehicle in the garage until you can repair it. It might be a major inconvenience, but it’s not worth the risk.