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Steering Angle Sensor – Everything You Need To Know!

Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor is a very important part of your car’s computer system. The steering angle sensor is responsible for measuring the steering wheel position angle and rate of return. This allows you to make correct turns while driving your vehicle. It is important that these sensors are working correctly so you can safely turn your car when you need to. 

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The steering angle sensor is located within the steering column in a sensor cluster. There are multiple steering sensors to confirm the data and ensure that the calculations are correct before your car turns. Your car’s computer system needs to receive two signals in order to confirm the steering wheel position. This is to ensure that your wheel is in the correct position. These sensors are essential in determining your steering wheel position, so if they start to fail bad things can happen. It is crucial that you get your sensors replaced if they start to fail. 


Analog Steering Sensors


Analog steering angle sensors are wired with a 5-volt reference. The sensors can be tested from a port under the steering column. It is so important to make sure these sensors are working properly since they have such a crucial role. If these sensors are failing, they won’t be able to accurately determine the angle of your car’s turn. So you might be wondering to yourself how do these steering angle sensors actually work?


While the steering wheel is being turned, the steering angle sensor produces a signal that is between 0 to 5 volts. You can observe the 0 to 5 volt signal by connecting meters to both of the steering angle sensors. It is important to note that when the wheels are straight forward the sensors will read 2.8v and .4v. You don’t want these two sensors to read the same thing. If they do, your sensors could be shorted together. The voltage that is produced is dependent on the direction you are turning. For example, most vehicles will produce a positive voltage when they are turning right. This means that when they turn left, a negative voltage will be produced. 


How Does A Steering Angle Sensor Work?


So, you might be wondering how exactly do these sensors work? The purpose of the steering angle sensor is to determine where the driver wants to turn. The sensor’s job is to match the steering wheel with the car’s wheels to make sure it goes in the correct direction. You don’t want your steering wheel turning one way and your car’s wheels turning the other way. If that were the case, we would never get anywhere that we wanted. These sensors are located in the steering column. There are multiple steering angle sensors that are packaged together in a unit to ensure accuracy. The more sensors they have, the more reliable data they can collect.


Now that you know what these sensors do, let’s talk about how they work. These sensors use voltage differences to get the necessary information about turning angles and directions. It is so important that they get the correct information about the angles. If something is off, it will affect how your vehicle turns as well as the direction it turns in. How is the angle measured? The angle of the steering input is measured by an LED light. The sensor will read the information from the LED light and then send signals to your car’s computer system. From there your car's system will use an algorithm to make sure the steering angle is accurate. This occurs from the steering wheel to the wheels. 


Another function of the steering angle sensor is to provide information to your car’s computer system about how fast the steering wheel is being turned. This will indicate how quickly the angles need to be calculated. Think about when you are driving at lower speeds and go to turn right. The steering wheel is being turned pretty quickly at those low speeds. However, if you are driving at higher speeds and turn your steering wheel, it won’t turn as quickly. If you do try to turn your steering wheel at high speeds, your car’s computer system will recognize this as your car losing control.


If you have electric power steering in your car, you might have a steering torque sensor. This sensor detects how much for a driver is putting on the steering wheel when they are turning. This sensor will twist slightly as your steering wheel shaft is being turned. It works together with the steering wheel so as the wheel turns the sensor slightly twists. It is important to understand how these sensors work as well as the importance of them to your car’s steering wheel system. 


How The Electronic Stability Control Works


The electronic stability control system is very important. This system takes in all the information from the sensors and calculates the correct angles of the steering wheel turns. Once the ESC module gets all of the signals, they are compared to the software within the ESC system. This is important so it can compare angles and determine which ones are the best for your turning situation. If the ESC module detects any irregularities, it will correct them itself and allow the driver to maintain control over their car. 


Let’s say your ESC system detects loss of steering control. This could be due to poor weather or you just turning your car at high speeds. The ESC will send a signal to your car to reduce the engine torque. The majority of vehicles have this feature on the electronic throttle bodies. This is implemented as a safety feature to help avoid accidents and help you gain control of your car. Now let’s say the torque reduction fails to get your car back in control. The car’s electronic stability control module will go into effect and apply the brakes to the correct wheels. This will help gain control of the car again. 


It is very important to make sure the steering angle sensors are checked after an alignment happens. If they are not checked and working properly, the driver will be fighting the electronic stability control module while driving. This is very bad because the angle calculations will be off and this could also result in unexpected direction changes. The direction changes can occur while the wheel is being turned in on direction. If you get your parts realigned in your steering wheel system, it is important to check out your steering angle sensors to ensure they are working properly.


What Are The Symptoms Of A Failing Steering Angle Sensor?


These sensors play a crucial role in making sure your steering wheel angles are correct. It is important to know the symptoms of a failing steering angle sensor. Typically they don’t fail very often since they are designed to last the lifespan of your car. Even though they are supposed to last, they still can wear out over time and fail. There are two major warning signs that will alert you if your steering angle sensors are failing. You should always be aware of these symptoms so you can detect if yours start to fail. You will want to get them fixed as soon as possible if they do. 


One of the most common signs of a failing steering angle sensor is that your check engine light will come on. When your steering angle sensor fails, it will send inaccurate information and it could stop collecting information altogether. If there are irregularities with the information coming from the steering angle sensors, an error code will be sent to your car’s engine control module. This error code will turn on your check engine light. This is a big warning sign to alert you that you need to take your car in to get it checked out. A mechanic will be able to determine the root problem of this issue and help you fix the problem as well.  


Another common sign of failing steering angle sensors is erratic movements with your steering wheel. This will occur especially after you got your steering wheel aligned or a part in the system replaced. When your steering angle sensor is not installed properly, it will collect inaccurate data. When this happens, your electric power steering module could provide false input or adjustments at the incorrect time. If this happens, your steering wheel will feel loose. This occurs because false information is being provided to your steering wheel. If you ever feel like your steering wheel is disconnected or loose, you should take your car in to a mechanic to get it checked out. 


Oftentimes auto repair shops forget to reset the steering angle sensors after completing an alignment. This is a pretty common mistake and an easy fix. If you start to experience either of the two symptoms above, you need to check with your local repair shop to make sure those sensors are working correctly. They will be able to easily fix this problem if they forget to reset the steering angle sensors. Don’t wait to take your car into your local repair shop. 


How Do I Reset Steering Angle Sensors?


Many cars on the roads nowadays use electronic stability control modules that require resetting the steering angle sensors after wheel alignments. The steering angle sensors also need to be reset if parts in the steering wheel system are replaced. These sensors are crucial in determining the correct angles that a car needs to turn. If they are not reset, the steering wheel system will not work properly. There are two ways that you can reset the steering angle sensors. 


The first way to reset your steering angle sensors is called self-calibration. Some cars will auto calibrate the steering angle sensors. This occurs from turning the steering wheel from lock to lock to center. There are also certain commands that need to be performed to initiate the calibration. This process is very dependent on the type of car you drive. Newer cars typically have more advanced sensors that will automatically reset. 


The next way to reset your steering angle sensors is called a scan tool reset. There are different options for a scan tool reset. Some of these tools are incorporated into the alignment system but a lot of them recommend that the calibration is performed. You will want to do this on a level surface to ensure it is reset correctly. If your alignment equipment has a steering angle sensor reset function, you won’t need mechanical help for this. It is dependent on the type of car you have and the type of scan tool reset. 


If you don’t know how to reset your steering angle sensors, your local repair shop will be able to help you. If you are not confident doing it yourself, make sure you take your car to a mechanic. You don’t want to mess up any other parts. A mechanic will know how to perform this reset so it is best you have them perform this task if you don’t know how to. 




Replacing your steering angle sensor is not very difficult. You can take your car to your local repair shop and they will be able to fix this problem for you. They will first run diagnostics to determine the exact problem, and then they will tell you how they can fix it. They will also be able to give you a price estimate so you can financially plan for your future. 


If your car is getting older and you don’t think it’s worth it to put more money into it, you can sell your car to Cash Cars Buyer. We will take your car off of your hands and give you cash for it. The process is very easy for you. You don’t have to worry about paying for any repairs before you sell your car to us, we will take your car in any condition. We will decide whether we want to fix it up ourselves or refurbish the working parts. Contact Cash Cars Buyer if you would like to sell your car to us.  Head over to our website or call us today to get a quote!


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