With so many parts under the hood of your vehicle, it can leave you wondering how to know when a part is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced. One part that you may have to troubleshoot is the knock sensor, which communicates to the engine control module when it notices that the engine is vibrating when it shouldn't. Here are some ways to identify if the part is working correctly.
Engine Error Codes
One way to easily tell that there is a problem with the knock sensor is because you have a service engine light illuminated on your dashboard. While the light doesn't tell you much, it can help tell you there is an error code that a part is giving off that indicates something is wrong. Thankfully, mechanics and auto part stores have code readers to tell you the exact problem you are running into. You can even buy a code reader and have it on hand for when the service engine light comes on.
There are several different error codes that can come up when there is an issue with the knock sensor. For example, code P0324 gives an error that says that the knock control system has an error. Code P0334 indicates that a knock sensor in a specific part of the engine is giving off an incorrect signal. If you see anything indicating an issue with the knock control system, take your car to a mechanic to look into the issue further.
Bad knock sensors are going to lead to poor performance when driving. This is because the knock sensor is giving incorrect information to the engine control module, which causes the combustion within the engine to be inefficient. What happens is that the engine control module then changes the ignition timing when it isn't necessary, which causes you to drive slower on the road due to issues with poor combustion efficiency.
Pool Gas Mileage
Those issues with the engine burning more fuel due to incorrect information will also lead to poor gas mileage. This is because the ignition timing is off and the combustion process happens when it shouldn't. You end up wasting fuel because the engine doesn't know when it should be combusting fuel to be efficient, and just end up wasting fuel in the end.
Knocking Noise and Vibrations
Of course, a bad knock sensor is going to cause a knocking noise. What you are hearing are unwanted detonations while the engine is performing the combustion process. It not only creates the odd sound from under the hood but causes those vibrations to be noticeable as well.
For more information on automotive repair, contact a professional near you.