How To Know When A Knock Sensor Is Bad

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By Louise Balle

The knock sensor is a small part on a car engine. It helps regulate the air-fuel mix that enters the engine and notifies your car's computer when the engine is knocking. It stops the fuel from exploding in the cylinder and allows it to burn smoothly as it should. A bad knock sensor can cause performance issues and strange noises in the car. There are a few ways that you can determine if you need to replace the knock sensor.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Listen for a knocking or bumping sound under your hood, particularly around the engine. This is the most telling sign of a possible knock sensor problem. A persistent knocking sound means that the knock sensor is broken or cracked and not communicating with your car's computer to correct the problem. The knocking sound is most common when you are driving at high speeds.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Monitor your gas mileage. When the knock sensor is bad your gas will burn quicker, so watch your gas gauge daily. If you are using more gas to drive the same distance, then there could be a malfunction that involves your knock sensor.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Check your car for sluggishness and acceleration issues. When the knock sensor is bad, the car will not reach higher speeds as quickly---the engine will have to work harder to reach the desired speed.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Get a diagnostic test done to confirm your suspicions. Go to a mechanic or auto parts store and have this test done on your car. Some major auto parts stores offer this service for free, since it could lead to a sale.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Get your knock sensor fixed promptly when you confirm that this is the problem. Expect to pay around $150 to $200 for the part plus labor (Reference 3). It is possible to replace your own knock sensor, but this job should only be done by someone who is very familiar with car engines and has the ability to safely get underneath the car to reach the part.

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