The location and movement of the steering wheel in a vehicle are measured by a sensor called a steering angle sensor (SAS). It is intended to measure the angle and rotational speed of the steering wheel and is normally mounted on the steering rack or column.
The electronic stability control (ESC) system of a car, which is intended to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle during rapid maneuvers or slick road conditions, includes the SAS as a key component. In order to identify any departure from the driver’s desired course and apply the brakes or change the throttle to help maintain the car on course, the ESC system receives information from the SAS regarding the position and movement of the steering wheel.
The adaptive front lighting system (AFS) and the lane departure warning system (LDWS), which depend on precise information on the position and movement of the steering wheel to function properly, are two more systems in the car that utilise the SAS.
The ESC system and other vehicle systems that depend on the SAS’s input may experience a variety of issues if it malfunctions or starts to give erroneous information. Warning lights on the dashboard, lowered stability control, and inappropriate AFS and LDWS operation are all signs of a bad SAS. In this situation, a skilled mechanic may need to replace or recalibrate the SAS.
Types of Steering Angle Sensor
In cars, steering angle sensors (SAS) typically come in two different varieties:
- Contact-type SAS: A potentiometer positioned on the steering rack or column makes up this sort of SAS. The steering wheel position is determined by moving a wiper arm along a resistive track. The friction between the wiper arm and resistive track in contact-type SAS can make it susceptible to wear and tear despite its simplicity and low cost.
- Non-contact SAS: A magnetic or optical sensor is used in this sort of SAS to determine the location of a magnetic or reflective ring installed on the steering column or steering rack. Since it is not impacted by wear and tear or mechanical issues, non-contact-type SAS is more dependable and accurate than contact-type SAS. However, compared to contact-type SAS, it is more expensive and sophisticated.
The electronic stability control (ESC) system and other vehicle systems that rely on it get this information from both types of SAS in order to measure the angle and rotational speed of the steering wheel. The type of SAS employed in a vehicle is determined by the car’s make, model, as well as the particular specifications of the ESC and other systems.
What are the Common Problems?
- False readings: If the sensor fails or malfunctions, an SAS may give false readings. As a result, the electronic stability control (ESC) system and other vehicle systems that depend on the SAS input may not function properly.
- Malfunctioning sensor: Damage or general wear and tear could cause an SAS to malfunction. For instance, a non-contact SAS may be harmed by debris or external impacts, but a contact-type SAS may become worn out or damaged as a result of friction between the wiper arm and resistive track.
- Problems with calibration: Whenever a sensor is replaced or the alignment of the vehicle is changed, an SAS may need to be recalibrated. The ESC system and other vehicle systems that rely on the SAS input may operate incorrectly and produce inaccurate readings as a result of improper calibration.
- Electrical Issues: A damaged wire or a poor connection are two examples of electrical faults that an SAS may experience. These problems may lead to inaccurate readings or the sensor failing entirely.
The adaptive front lighting system (AFS), lane departure warning system, reduced stability control, and dashboard warning lights might all be signs that the SAS is malfunctioning (LDWS). To maintain the effective operation of your vehicle’s safety systems, it is crucial to get your SAS inspected and fixed by a trained mechanic if you think there might be a problem.
Symptoms of Bad Sensor
- Dashboard warning lights: The ESC (electronic stability control) light, the ABS (anti-lock braking system) light, or the traction control light may all turn on if the SAS isn’t working properly. This can point to an issue with the SAS or other connected systems.
- Safety systems not functioning properly: The SAS gives the ESC system crucial information that keeps it stable and in control during rapid movements or slick road conditions. The ESC system may operate incorrectly if the SAS isn’t working properly, which could result in less stability control and a higher risk of accidents.
- Off-center steering wheel: If the SAS is giving inaccurate readings, this may result in the steering wheel being misaligned or off-center. This might make it challenging to steer the car straight and present a safety risk.
- Incorrect operation of other systems: The vehicle’s adaptive front lighting system (AFS) and lane departure warning system also make use of the SAS (LDWS). Some systems may not run at all if the SAS isn’t functioning properly.
Fixing and Replacement of Steering Angle Sensor
The precise issue that is causing the issue will determine how to fix a steering angle sensor (SAS). These are a few standard actions that could be followed to repair an SAS:
- Diagnose the issue: To identify the precise issue with the SAS, a mechanic will use diagnostic equipment. This could entail examining the sensor’s wiring, looking for damage, or calibrating the sensor.
- Repair or replace the sensor: The SAS may need to be fixed or replaced if it is broken or not performing properly. The old sensor must be taken out and a new one put in. The cost of the repair will vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model as well as the price of the new component.
- Recalibrate the sensor: Recalibrating the sensor is necessary if the SAS has been repaired or replaced in order to make sure it is giving accurate results. The sensor may need to be reset using diagnostic tools, or it may need to be physically moved into the proper position.
- Test the vehicle: The vehicle should be tested to make sure the issue has been resolved after the SAS has been repaired or replaced. Driving the car could entail looking for warning lights on the dashboard or testing the ESC, AFS, and LDWS systems.
Prices of Repairs and Fixes
The cost of repairing a steering angle sensor (SAS) is determined by the vehicle’s make and model, as well as the specific problem with the SAS. In general, the cost of repairing an SAS can range between $150 and $800 or more. Here are some of the factors that can influence the cost of repairing an SAS:
- Replacement part: The cost of a replacement SAS varies greatly depending on the vehicle’s make and model. Some SAS units can cost hundreds of dollars, while others may be less.
- Labor costs: The cost of diagnosing and repairing an SAS can also vary depending on where the sensor is located and the difficulty of the repair. Some repairs may be simple and quick to complete, while others may necessitate more time and specialized tools.
- Recalibration costs: If the SAS needs to be calibrated after it has been repaired or replaced, the cost of the repair will be increased.
- Other related repairs: If the SAS fails, other related components, such as the steering column or wiring harness, may need to be repaired or replaced. This may raise the cost of the repair.