Automotive sensor.

Discover more about your car sensors and how to replace them.

Gone are the days when you could turn a screw on a carburetor to tune up an engine. Today's engines contain sensors to tell the vehicle's computer what's going on.
Sensors eventually wear out or become dirty, and the computer suddenly wonders why it can't see. On comes the check engine light. Don't ignore the light, but don’t panic either. Inexpensive code readers are available that can help you find out which automotive sensor is not functioning properly and how to reset the trouble codes.
Advance Auto Parts is here with code readers, repair manuals, replacement sensors and other quality auto parts for your vehicle.
The important role your car sensors play:
Your vehicle's sensors are its eyes, ears and taste buds.

Car sensors check for fuel-air mixture, incoming air temperature, wheel speed and manifold pressure. They also tell your vehicle's computer what to do. If sensors fail, your engine may experience poor mileage and performance. In severe cases your engine may fail. Pay attention to your vehicle's sensors or you could pay the price.

What you will need to replace an automotive sensor:

  • Repair manual (specific to your make/model)
  • Code reader - OBD I or OBD II (use OBD II if vehicle is 1996 or newer)
  • Replacement sensors
  • Basic hand tools
  • Clean rags

Do-it-yourself difficulty guide for changing an automotive sensor:

Estimated time required - 1 - 3 hours

Troubleshoot your car sensors on your own and save.

Consult a repair manual before attempting any procedure involving car sensors. If you’re servicing a vehicle built before 1996, you'll need a code reader that reads OBD I information. Post 1996, you'll need a code reader capable of OBD II diagnostics. Check with an Advance Auto Parts Team Member to determine your code reader needs.

  1. The idle air control valve (IAC) helps regulate the amount of air entering the engine at idle. The idle air control valve is usually located on the throttle body.
  2. The manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP) checks for variations in air pressure coming into your engine. The computer senses these variations and delivers the right amount of fuel and spark.
  3. The intake air temperature sensor (IAT) helps the computer regulate exhaust gas recirculation for cleaner tailpipe emissions. The intake air temperature sensor is usually located in the air cleaner housing.
  4. Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) work by sensing and comparing wheel rotation speed. If wheel speed is unequal, the anti-lock brake system computer senses impending lockup and adjusts braking to prevent wheel lock.


Trust Advance Auto Parts to provide the high quality auto parts you need to perform vehicle maintenance tasks – including changing an automotive sensor.