The feeling of driving down the interstate or a desolate country road with your foot on the pedal as you feel the smooth way your car handles is incomparable. There’s just nothing quite like a car with exceptional performance. Several sensors play key roles in getting the best performance possible for your vehicle.
The oxygen sensor
Also called the O2 sensor, the oxygen sensor is an important part of how your vehicle handles emissions. It lets your diagnostic computer know how much unburned fuel is still present in the exhaust. If the mixture of air and fuel is correct, very little will be measured. This sensor monitors if your fuel is rich, lean, or just average, which is right where it should be. Based on information from the O2 sensor, the PCM alters the amount of fuel put into the mixture.
The MAP sensor
The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor monitors the intake volume to change the frequency or voltage if the pressure in the manifold changes. When the sensor doesn’t work, reduced performance is the result.
Throttle position sensor
The job of this sensor is to tell the throttle when to open and close to provide the right fuel mixture when you’re accelerating. The information from the throttle position sensor goes to the PCM so it can increase or decrease fuel and speed up or slow down ignition timing.
The MAF sensor
Another sensor with an important job for your vehicle’s performance is the mass airflow (MAF) sensor. It measures the amount of air coming into the engine. This is another component to ensuring the proper fuel mixture. When the MAF sensor doesn’t work correctly, the engine will have a rough idle, it may hesitate or stall out, or it may have a hard start.
Many components impact the performance of an engine, but these sensors play integral roles in the operation. So, the next time you put the pedal to the metal, you’ll understand what gives you that thrilling ride.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Are Sensors Used to Improve a Car’s Performance? and was authored by Joyce Morse.