Your Vehicle’s Computers & Sensors: The Complexity of It


Your Vehicle’s Computers & Sensors

At Carolina Auto Service, some of our mechanics remember when all you needed to fix a car was ingenuity, a wrench, and a couple of screwdrivers. Things have certainly come a long way, and now, you need more than essential tools to fix car issues. Today’s vehicles have computers and sensors to keep things running smoothly, and these complex designs are all about getting maximum performance.

Even if you bought the most inexpensive car with no bells and whistles, it still has impressive computing power. It’s estimated that those no-frills cars still need 50 microprocessors to run. What makes it even more interesting is that it took less energy in the 1960s to put a spaceship on the moon than to operate a modern vehicle.

Understandably, all these advanced systems come with parts that make them run more efficiently, such as sensors. Most homes in America have a computer or electronic device. Inside each of these devices is a mainframe or motherboard. These boards control every aspect of the machine, and if one part of the panel is on the fritz, it can cause a system failure.

Have you ever had a computer, TV, or other device fail you over a simple part? Your vehicle runs by the same concept. These little sensors indicate a problem causing it to “short circuit,” and the automobile won’t run as efficiently.

Understanding a Vehicle’s Advanced Diagnostics System

Your car’s computer and sensor system control every function of your vehicle. It also ensures the airflow is right, as the fuel is being delivered in the right ratio to the engine. Even stopping your vehicle with your brakes is controlled by this mainframe.

Now think of all the little extras that your car has inside. The computer system controls the heated seats, radio, USB ports, navigation, and 100 other things. Within the computer are microsensors.

These sensors are constantly relaying information to keep things running smoothly. If they detect an issue, they send error codes to the computer to let it know there’s an concern. The problem may be something minor, or it can be something on a grander scale.

For instance, an O2 sensor is a common one that throws codes. It means there isn’t sufficient oxygen in the gas, or the ratio is wrong. Now, it’s common for these sensors to fail at around 100,000 miles, but replacing them isn’t always as simple. Sometimes the sensor alerts you to a problem that needs to be addressed.

So, not only can you have the sensor itself fail, but it can also alert you to another issue that needs to be fixed. It’s easy to see how diagnostics have changed over the years, and things have become much more challenging for the typical person to work on their cars.

Diagnosing a vehicle issue is often as simple as the technician hooking the car up to a diagnostic machine. While that works most of the time, it’s not always the quick fix. Sometimes, you need to pull out old-school methods of problem-solving to get to the crux of the problem.

The Seamless Operation of Your Car’s Computer

You’re driving down the road, and someone hits you from the side. The sensors in the computer detect the collision, and they assist you with braking, locking the seatbelt, and releasing the airbags. It’s pretty impressive when you think about it, especially when you consider that all of this is happening, and you don’t give it a second thought.

Your navigation system takes you from here to there and everywhere. You probably don’t think much about it as you get in, program the address, and go. However, should your infotainment sensor malfunction, it could cause panic. Thankfully, your friendly technician can fix or replace the console in several hours.

It’s easy to see that computer systems and sensors play a vital role in the way automobiles of today function. When one of the many sensors detects an issue, it causes the “check engine” light to appear. This prompts you to have the car scanned and find out what’s going on.

Getting Help for Faulty Sensors and Computer Issues

When you see that “check engine” light on your dash, it’s time to inspect your vehicle to avoid trouble. While some indicators are minor, sometimes the computer system lets you know there’s significant trouble ahead. You can often see the severity of the issue by the “check engine” light blinking rather than being sedentary.

Don’t brush off these warning lights and think it’s nothing; bring your car to Carolina Auto Service to scan it. Our repair shop has the latest diagnostic equipment to ensure we can fix the problem fast and get you back on the road. Call us today at (336) 765-8599.



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