Car sensors relay important information. If they don’t work correctly, they may send faulty information or none at all. The result is that the car doesn’t run as well and it may even leave you stranded. Keeping the sensors clean can extend their use and prevent damage.
Protected by design
Some sensors, such as the coolant sensor, are placed in an area where they are less likely to come in contact with dust or other debris. This sensor is located on the cylinder head, or sometimes the intake manifold.
Those sensors located in precarious areas, prone to be exposed to smoke, dust, and debris, must have a design to protect them. For instance, the oxygen sensor is built in such a way that it keeps working even when it comes into contact with contaminants. It features a shell with a laser-welded body to keep out all types of contaminants.
With no moving parts, the mass airflow sensor has fewer issues that can go wrong with it. The main concern is how dust and contaminants can touch the heating element and prevent it from working.
Protected by cleaning
Many of the sensors can be maintained by being cleaned. When the engine is washed, dirt and dust are removed. Using safe cleaning fluids allows you to get the sensors clean, so they keep working the way they are supposed to. The throttle position sensor can be cleaned with a solvent and toothbrush. The wheel speed sensor is another one that can be cleaned and should be on a regular basis because of all the road contaminants that accumulate in the wheel area.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Are Car Sensors Protected From Heat and Debris? and was authored by Joyce Morse.