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What occurs if a yaw sensor malfunctions? | Parts Experts

Yaw Sensor

A growing number of sensors are necessary for modern cars to operate accurately, effectively, and safely. The yaw sensor, also referred to as the yaw rate sensor, is one sensor that supports the car's safe functioning.

The yaw rate sensor is essential to the traction control systems (TCS) or stability systems of the vehicle. It detects oversteering or understeering, particularly in narrow turns, and activates the TCS to fix the issue. You'll notice alerts like the Check Engine light, stability or traction control light, and OBD2 fault codes when it fails, as well as a loss of traction control.

You can learn everything you need to know about yaw rate sensors and how they work from this guide. Then, you'll discover what happens when they malfunction so that you can rapidly troubleshoot and fix the problem.

How Do Yaw Sensors Work?

Your car's yaw sensor, also referred to as the 'yaw rate' sensor, is an instrument that gauges the rotating speed of the car.

Technically speaking, the sensor accomplishes this by calculating the angular velocity of your car (i.e., how quickly and how far it is spinning). It then sends that information to your car's onboard computer, which uses it to determine whether the automobile is driving dangerously, especially around tight turns.

In plainer terms, it detects the amount of wheel rotation occurring at any given moment and alerts the onboard systems to identify whether the vehicle is oversteering, understeering, or spinning out of control.

The sensor will trigger the automobile to take precautionary action in accordance with the brand, model, and safety features of your car. For instance, it will automatically apply the brakes or slow the engine when it detects that your automobile is turning too much in order to stabilise the vehicle.

The yaw rate sensor is a component of your car's stability system, as you would have guessed.

What's the location of my car's yaw rate sensor?

The yaw rate sensor for your car is normally mounted someplace on the floorboard. Typically, the sensor is hidden beneath the driver's or front passenger's seat.

The sensor is connected to the rest of the car's onboard systems through a wire harness that runs along the floorboard.

The sensor must be positioned precisely such that it rests at the centre of gravity of the vehicle. In this manner, it is better able to determine whether the car is turning at an unsafe angle.

What occurs if a yaw rate sensor malfunctions?

The following indications will point to a faulty sensor:

1. The Check Engine Light Turns On

When the Check Engine light comes on, it's one of the first indications that your yaw rate sensor has failed. As you may already be aware, your car may have a wide range of issues that could cause that light to come on.

In other words, it's not very useful in figuring out whether the yaw rate sensor or another device is turning on the Check Engine light.

The fact that it alerts you to an issue that requires your immediate attention is still a great first warning. When other symptoms from this list also arise and the Check Engine light illuminates, you'll know your yaw rate sensor is to fault.

2. Vehicle Stability or Traction Control Light

The yaw rate sensor is a component of the vehicle's stability or traction control systems, as you read before. The vehicle stability or traction control light will come on if there is a yaw sensor issue.

These indicators, like the Check Engine light, serve as a first warning of the issue even if they aren't specific to the yaw rate sensor. These lights, at least in this instance, pinpoint the traction control or stability control system as the main source of the problem.

3. Stability Control Light Flashes Intermittently

The yaw rate sensor (or any sensor, for that matter) doesn't always fail all at once, which is one of the most crucial things to keep in mind. Instead, it could malfunction for a short while before failing completely.

Therefore, the intermittently flashing Stability Control (SC) light is one indication that the sensor is failing. You must get the yaw sensor checked by a specialist if you believe that the SC light that momentarily flashed while you were driving is actually the SC light because the light is now off. Such intermittent alerts might be an indication that the yaw rate sensor is nearing the end of its useful life and is about to malfunction.

Early detection of the issue allows you to replace the sensor before it gets worse.

4. Reduced Stability Control

Unfortunately, you can also discover it the hard way.

Keep in mind that the sensor detects when your automobile is turning too quickly or too forcefully and then activates the stability control systems to assist in resolving the issue.

The feature that is designed to help drivers control stability is put at risk since a broken sensor is unable to detect when that circumstance arises.

Another sign of a bad sensor is when your automobile tilts significantly as you do a sharp turn. In that situation, regardless of any other symptoms that may or may not manifest, you should have the sensor examined right away.

5. Onboard Diagnostics Fault Codes

Last but not least, a failed yaw sensor will cause the onboard diagnostics system to generate OBD2 fault codes. When you use a code scanner or reader to inspect your car for issues, those codes will be revealed.

A qualified reader will be available at your mechanic's shop to check those codes for you. However, given how affordable they are, you could easily buy a code reader and examine the car yourself.

Driving is possible without a yaw sensor?

Even if you completely remove the yaw sensor from your automobile, it won't affect how well your car runs. But doing so is never a smart idea.

Keep in mind that your car's yaw sensor prevents risky driving situations like understeering or oversteering at a tight bend.

You run a higher risk of your car spinning out of control without a working sensor.

You must never drive without yaw rate sensors since they safeguard your car. If your sensor has failed, search Parts Experts for replacement parts that are appropriate for your car. 

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