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Engine Sensors in Modern Cars

Engine Sensors in Modern Cars

As technology continues to advance, engine sensors are becoming increasingly prevalent in modern cars. These sensors have greatly improved the performance of vehicles. While they make repairs more complex, troubleshooting problems can in many cases be quicker and easier due to electronic codes. Understanding what engine sensors are in your vehicle will help you keep your vehicle running in top condition. A good piece of advice is to learn what engine sensors you have in your vehicle and then find a source for cheap sensor parts. Then if you ever run into any problems with your engine sensors, you’ll already have an affordable source of sensor parts.

 

While every vehicle is different, the following engine sensors are common in most modern cars:

 

  • Crankshaft Position Sensor – The crankshaft position sensor determines the position and rotational speed or RPMs of the crank. This sensor transmits information to the engine control units in order to control parameters including the ignition timing and fuel injection timing. The output from this sensor is used in combination with other data to derive the current combustion cycle of the engine. Therefore, it is a very important sensor for starting a four stroke engine and an integral sensor for most modern cars.

 

  • Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor – The engine coolant temperature sensor measures the temperature of the engine coolant of internal combustion engines. The readings from the sensor are sent back to the engine control unit or ECU. The engine control unit uses the data to adjust the fuel injection and ignition timing. Some modern cars also use the sensor to turn on the electronic cooling fan. It also can be used to signal the readings for the coolant temperature gauge on the dash board in modern cars.

 

  • MAP Sensor – The manifold absolute pressure sensor or MAP sensor is found in an internal combustion engine’s electronic control system. These sensors are found in fuel injected modern cars. The MAP sensor sends instant manifold pressure information to the engine’s electronic control unit or ECU. The ECU uses the information to determine the air density and sets the engine’s air mass flow rate, which then sets the required fuel metering to provide optimum combustion and either advances or retards the ignition timing. This sensor may also be used to detect the intake airflow in some modern cars.

 

  • Mass Flow Sensor – The mass flow sensor measures the mass flow rate of air that enters a fuel injected internal combustion engine. Air mass data is required for the engine control unit (ECU) to be able to balance and deliver the right fuel mass to the engine in modern cars.

 

These are just a few of the common engine sensors found in modern cars. You should familiarize yourself with the sensors found in the engine of your car. Once you know what sensors you have in your vehicle, you should find a source of cheap sensor parts so that you can be prepared when one of your sensors fails. The last thing you want to do is wait until you need an engine sensor to start sourcing the parts for your vehicle. You’ll end up paying more and waiting longer for parts, especially if they are uncommon and hard to find. Plan ahead and you’ll be ready for anything problem your vehicle may experience.

The most common car parts

Cars are supposed to be built to last. However normal wear and tear can take its toll on many automotive parts. This means that the parts that are used the most will need replacing. Below we have listed the top 5 most commonly replaced automotive parts to give you an idea of what you should be looking for.

What Parts Are Most Commonly Replaced?

Wiper blades can succumb to a significant amount of wear and tear. Many car manufacturers recommend you change your wiper blades once every 1 – 2 years. This will keep your windshield clean and prevent possible cracks developing.

The battery is something that needs regular maintenance. Depending on the type of battery, it may require a top up of non-ionised water and a voltage check. Car batteries should be replaced every 3 – 4 years.

Headlights and tail lights can fail you at the most inconvenient time. It is against the law to drive without working lights, therefore it is essential to test your lights every now and then. For one who drives mostly during the daytime, a bulb will last up to 6 years.

If you drive a car with a petrol engine, then you will need to check the spark plugs every time you service your engine. Ineffective or damaged spark plugs might contain a white coating and should either be cleaned or replaced with new plugs.

The cam belt is one of the most common casualties of excessive driving. A broken cam belt can result in the complete destruction of your engine so having checking it for splits is recommended at every service. They should last around 70,000 miles depending on the model of your car.

Reputable automotive garages should fault check the components of your car when you take it for a service, however, even the most experienced mechanics can miss simple faults so learning to check your own vehicle and replace components is a useful skill to acquire.

What is an oxygen sensor?

Most new cars now come with Oxygen sensors? Many car owners haven’t even heard of oxygen sensors until their mechanic tells them that the sensor needs replacing.

So.. what is the oxygen sensor and what does it do?

The sensor is part of the emissions control system and feeds information to the cars onboard computer. The sensor helps the onboard computer to run the engine as efficiently as possible with the lowest emissions as possible.

All engines burn fuel in the presence of oxygen and the ratio of air and fuel is important for efficiency and CO2 emissions. Different fuels have different ratios. If there is less air and more fuel then there will be fuel left over after combustion which is not terribly efficient and the unburnt fuel will create high emissions. If there is more air and less fuel this will result in poor performance, high nitrogen pollutants and can even possibly result in engine damage.

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The Oxygen sensor resides in the engine exhaust system and detects the ratio of air and fuel by way of a chemical reaction. This reaction will create a signal for the onboard computer which adjusts the amount of fuel entering the engine accordingly, aiming to achieve a perfect balance of fuel and oxygen. The balance can be impacted by a number of factors such as the load on the engine, the atmospheric pressure, the temperature (outside, and of the engine), altitude, etc.

It is important to replace the sensor when it fails as the vehicle will not be operating efficiently and this will cost more in the long term as the car will probably burn more fuel that it needs to.

We have a wide variety of cheap oxygen sensors on our website. You can rest assured that you are getting one of the most competitively priced oxygen sensors in the market today.

Squeaking Auto Brakes?

If you’re noticing that your car brakes are squeaking, then it may be time to get into your car and have a look yourself. One of the best solutions to determine whether your brakes need replacing or need to be fixed it to perform a test while moving. Slow down your car to a speed of around 30 mph, and then slowly edge into the break. As your edging downwards on the brake, look out for a brake pedal pulsation or any kind of braking noise that shouldn’t occur. Squeaking brakes can be frustrating, but it’s also important that you see to them straight away. A pulsation with the brake pedal may indicate that your rotors are currently out of round. This is not uncommon, and is usually caused through excessive heat and cold. The friction between the brake pads and rotor is huge, and the friction produces heat, which is hotter than boiling water. As such, you can probably imagine that driving through a puddle of water after a long drive is the wrong thing to do – and is often attributed to the squeaking of brakes.

Additionally, squeaking brakes may also indicate that you have a potential brake failure, and this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Your brakes could be on their way out. Maybe they won’t break today or tomorrow, but the squeaking is only going to get worse – and they could break and stop working at any moment. With newer models of cars, the manufacturers are purposefully installing squeaking break mechanisms as a way to tell the drive that the brakes need to be replaced, or that the lining with the brakes is wearing thin. The brake pads need to be replaced as soon as the squeaking noise is heard – plain and simple.

If you choose to ignore the squeaking noise, you may find that the noise quickly turns into a grinding noise. This indicates that the brake pad lining has completely gone and the back plate of the brake pad is now grinding against the brake rotor. You will still be able to stop the car at this point, but your brakes are completely destroying your rotors the longer you move. Preventing all of this damage is actually quite simple. As soon as you hear the noise of squeaking brakes, get them checked out by a mechanic or order new brake pads and fit them yourself.

Top 5 Auto Jump Starters

It pays to be prepared at all times especially if you’re a car owner. Draining the batteries of the car accidentally can happen to anyone but if you have a jump starter, you will be prepared to deal with such situation.

Jump starters are not only great for providing a power boost for vehicles but it can also be used for almost any machine. Below are the top 5 jump starters you can find in the market and on our website:

  • 5: Stanley J509 Amp Jump Starter – This product can provide you with an instant 500 cranking amperes and 1000 peak amperes. You will know if there is an incorrect connection because of the built-in alarm for reverse polarity. It comes with a 120V AC charger plus USB and 12V outlets.
  • 4: Black & Decker JUS500IB 500-Amp Jump Starter – You’ll get instant 500 starting amps from this particular product. Storage is not a problem because of the low-profile design. Like the J509, it also comes with an alarm for reverse polarity. This can be used even in dark areas since it comes with an area light that is ultra bright.
  • 3: Schumacher XP400 Instant Portable Power Source – This Comes with an on/off switch which activates the starting mode and an internet battery that automatically charges. You will know if the battery needs charging because of the LED light indicator. You can store this jump starter in any position because the lead acid battery is sealed; thus making this product maintenance-free.
  • 2: Stanley J509 500-Amp Jump Starter – The product comes with a built-in air compressor that you can use when inflating tires. It provides instant 500-amp power and peak power of 1000 amps. The product also comes with alarm signals for improper connections.
  • 1: Schumacher PSJ-2212 DSR Pro Series 2200 Peak Amps Jump Stater & Portable Power Unit – this product can provide you with peak power of 2200 amps, cranking 330 amps, and cold cranking 275 amps. It is equipped with an AGM battery that is 22 Ah professional grade; also comes with an automatic charger and 12V power outlet for DC

These are some of the best jump starters you can find in the market. The PSJ-2212 is a great jump starter and it is quite affordable for a price starting at $120 to $202. If you shop around, you can find a store that sells the product at a reasonable price.

The PSJ-2212 also comes with a manufacturer parts warranty, and if you get it at the right store, the product can be delivered within one or two business days. A Schumacher jump starter is a reputed product, and it is a great investment.

When looking for cheap auto parts, you need to shop around. You can trust our website for the best deals when it comes to finding your  ideal jump starter.

Spark Plugs

The least expensive part in your automobile engine is also one of the most important part – The Spark Plug! Many manufacturers are now claiming many crazy miles between spark plug changes but the reality is that few cars can last that long. This is a simple maintenance task that can save you may thousands of dollars in fuel costs, major breakdowns and more expensive repairs caused by spark plug neglect.

Installation Guide

1. Only attempt to replace the spark plugs on a cool / cold engine

2. Disconnect the plug connector. If disconnecting multiple cables mark them to ensure correct re-asseembly.

3. Loosen the plugs first and clean the surrounding area to ensure no dirt particles get into the combustion chamber.

4. Remove the used spark plugs. If its too tight, loosen it and pour a little oil / kerosene to lubricate the edges before attempting to remove again.

5. Check gap of new spark plugs and adjust if necessary. (check with your local garage or manufacturer handbook.)

6. Thread in the new spark plug by hand until tight. Using a torque wrench and suitable spark plug socket, tighten the spark plug according to the torque guidelines chart below. If a torque wrench is not available, then tighten ¼ of a turn (90 degrees) for gasket type plugs or 15 degrees for tapered seat plugs.

Recommended Torques for Spark Plug Installation

Thread Size

10mm
With Gasket

12mm
With Gasket

14mm
With Gasket

14mm
Tapered Seat

18mm
With Gasket

18mm
Tapered Seat

Torque Ft.-Lbs.

8-11

12-15

19-22

12-15

20-23

14-17

Be careful and avoid overtightening or undertightening as spark plug or engine damage may result. More specifically, if the spark plug does not sit or fit in correctly, you will get a damaged spark plug and will have to repeat the process above. Worse, incorrect spark plug replacement will cause engine damage so please check with someone if you are not confident about replacing the spark plugs yourself.

We stock all kinds of spark plugs but NGK and Bosch spark plugs are the most popular.

Product Review: Precision Hub Assembly

What do our customers say about the Precision Hub Assembly? We asked a sample of the product’s buyers and summarised our findings below:

  • CheapCarPartsdirect.com was less expensive than O’Reilly’s and almost $200 dollars cheaper than auto dealerships.
  • Main symptom:  ABS light kept coming on without warning or reason. Replacing the Hub Assembly solved the problem, even if the problem was not the assembly, but the sensors or bearings built into the assembly.
  • The Hub Assemby was an exact fit and were working fine 6 months following replacement.
  • Cheaper to buy the entire Hub Assembly rather than the ABS sensors or bearings
  • No difference in quality between the parts from our website, and the parts from the local dealerships.
  • All sampled (10 in total) customers would have no hesitation in buying the same product again from our website.
Precision 515036 Hub AssemblyPrecision 515036 Hub Assembly

 

Precision 513124 Hub AssemblyPrecision 513124 Hub Assembly

 

Suspensions: Dynatrac Axles

USA made Dynatrac axle assemblies are manufactured using the highest quality processes and raw materials. From materials through to assembly, Dynatrac axles exhibit quality through and through. Dynatrac axles set the benchmark on axle design and performance, and have a wide range of products and variants to suit every need and budget.

Dynatrac has been established for over 20 years and is the industry leader in high performance axle and drivetrain assemblies. All harware is proudly sourced and manufactured in the  USA and all products are backed by the best service and warranty in the business.

Dynatrac offers a wide range of axle configurations from OEM bolt-in equipment to custom, bespoke competition units. Whatever your needs or requirements are, chances are Dynatrac will cater for it.

We stock the following Dynatrac Axles for the Jeep Wrangler which we have compared side by side

Dynatrac JP60-4001-M Complete 60.5 Inch Trail Series 60 Rear Axle For 1997-06 Jeep Wrangler

  • Complete Dynatrac Dana 60 axle assembly with 6 month limited warranty
  • Dynatrac Pro 60 Hi-Pinion housing
  • SD 35 spline, 1.5 inch induction hardened alloy steel axle shafts
  • Dual Sump / High Volume-Oil System
  • Rear disc brake assemblies with parking brake
  • Dual 5 on 4.5 and 5 on 5.5 lug pattern (stock 5 on 4.5)
  • Choice of ring and pinion ratio (3.54:1 – 5.38:1)
  • Stock pinion angle
  • D60 heavy-duty steel differential cover
  • 1310 U-bolt style yoke
  • Width is 60.5 inch
  • Billet housing ends, large tapered roller axle bearings, and heavy duty retainer
  • Dynatrac Hi-strength TJ coil spring bracket package
  • Comes standard with a Detroit locker
  • Assembly is finely detailed with high gloss black finish
  • Click here for more
Dynatrac JP60-3002-E Complete 61.5 Inch Pro 60 Hi-Pinion Front Axle For 1987-95 Jeep Wrangler

  • Complete Dynatrac Dana 60 axle assembly with 12 month limited warranty
  • Axle is set-up for an application with a driver’s side offset pumpkin
  • Dynatrac Pro 60 Hi-Pinion housing
  • SD 35 spline, 1.5 inch induction hardened alloy steel inner axle shafts (uses 1480 axle joint)
  • Upgraded disc brake assembly with a 5 on 5.5 bolt circle (stock uses 5 on 4.5)
  • Choice of ring and pinion ratio
  • Open differential
  • Best pinion angle and wheel alignment for 4-6 inch lifts
  • D60 heavy-duty steel differential cover
  • 1310 U-bolt style yoke (U-bolts included)
  • Dynatrac Pro 60 knuckle, Pro 60 wheel hub, & spindle package
  • High-clearance steering package
  • Width is 61.5 inches (stock is 60.5)
  • High-clearance u-bolt and spring plate kit
  • Assembly is finely detailed with high gloss black finish
  • Click here for more

 

Do it yourself: Change Air Filter

Your air filter needs replacing generally every 50,000 kilometers or 30,000 miles. More frequent replacement would need to occur if you drive in a very dusty area all the time. Your owner’s manual will give you more information specific to your vehicle.

Vehicles need air just as much as they need oil, water and fuel. The filters keep the engine free from dust, insects and all other impurities. Regular cleaning or replacement of the air filter will keep your engine running smoothly. They are not expensive and can be done relatively easily by yourself.

Step 1: Buy the correct replacement filter: Look through our website and pick out the correct replacement air filter for your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual for help in finding the right part.

Step 2: Open the hood and locate the air filter unit. It is usually situated on top of the engine. Again your owner’s manual will point you in the right direction. Older cars with carburettors have the filter located under a bulky, round plastic / metal cover. Newer fuel-injected cars tend to have a rectangular housing between the front grill and the engine.

Step 3: Remove the air filter: Loosen the clamp that seals the air filter. Undo any screws or wing nuts. Some filters have a quick release system. Once the seal / cover is off, simply lift and remove the round or rectangular air filter.

Step 4: Seal the air conduit with adhesive tape to stop any dirt from getting into the engine during the air filter replacement. Then clean the air filter housing with a vacuum cleaner or compressed air.

Step 5: Simply replace the old filter with the new one. Make sure it fits nicely back into the housing and that all edges are sealed by the rubber trim

Step 6: Replace the cover and make sure that its straight and secure. Make sure all screws are tightened and any / all clamps are in place. Double check to make sure!

Step 7: Shut the hood and dispose off the old air filter in an environmentally safe way.

Do it yourself: Change vehicle oil

Do it yourself: Change vehicle oil

Oil changes at the mechanic’s or at the garages can be somewhat expensive. Here is a set of instructions that will help you save a bit of money by changing the oil yourself.

Step 1 – Be Prepared

You will need:

  1. 5 – 6 quarts of your manufacturer’s recommended oil. Choose a good brand, and try and stay with that brand forever. Also try not to mix regular oil and synthethic oil.
  2. A good quality oil filter. Check you manufacturer’s recommended oil filter or speak to your mechanic
  3. A pan to put under the car to drain the existing oil. Get a good drain pan which can be sealed and disposed off in an environmentally friendly way.
  4. A metal strap wrench to get the oil filter off the engine.

You can find all of the above on our website.

Step 2 – Raise the vehicle

  • Raise your vehicle high enough so that you can get access to the underside of the engine and that you have enough room to manouever the wrench.

Step 3 – Remove the Fill Cap and Oil Pan Plug

  • Open the bonnet and remove the oil cap, i.e the cap where you add oil to the engine. Go underneath the car and locate the oil plug which will be at the lowest end of the oil pan. The plug will normally have a hexagonal head and will be around 1.5cm to 2cm.
  • Place the oil pan directly below the plug and using the wrench, loosen and remove the oil plug. Let all the oil drain off completely

Step 4 – Replace the Drain Plug and Remove the Filter

  • Replace the drain plug on the engine oil pan. Then, place the drain pan under the oil filter. Wrench off the oil filter and drop it into the pan. Some oil will escape too which is normal.

Step 5 – Install the New Filter and Lower the vehicle

  • TIP: Open the new filter. You’ll notice it has a rubber gasket on the base. Coat the rubber gasket in some oil as this will make it a lot easier to remove the filter next time.
  • Screw the new filter into the engine and ensure it sits tight. Use the wrench to tighten.
  • Once the new filter is in, you can lower the vehicle

Step 6 – Add New Oil and Pressurize the System

  • Now add 5 quarts of new engine oil into the engine via the oil fill in the car bonnet. Check the oil levels with the dipstick to ensure that you have the right level of oil (between min & max).
  • Start the engine and let it idle for 5 minutes. The oil warning light will come on briefly but will go out automatically once the oil system is fully pressurised.

Step 7 – Final checks

  • Shut the engine off, check the dipstick which should indicate that the oil levels are full. Also check underneath the car to ensure that there is no oil leak from the engine.

Dispose off the drained oil and oil filter in an environmentally friendly way