There are many different sensors in your vehicle that play an important role in how well your vehicle can perform. The knock sensor is one of those as it can prevent many serious issues from surfacing without prior notice. Basically, the knock sensor is a sensor used to detect a knock (pre-ignition). A knock will occur when the fuel/air combination is poorly burnt or burnt in the wrong amount of time. If you get a knock in your engine and it becomes frequent, you could end up having to replace your engine.
Using a knock sensor can eliminate a situation where the condition worsens and you need to replace your vehicle's engine. The knock sensor can determine when a knock occurs and you can act on it immediately. There will be other ways you can repair your vehicle other than replacing the engine if you are quick enough.
How the Knock Sensor Works
When noise is made from within your vehicle's engine it will be considered a knock. “Ping” is another term for this occurrence but is less common. If this occurs, the knock sensor will detect it. These sensors are capable of detecting barely audible sounds that you may not be able to pick up on. Once this is noticed, the knock sensor will transfer the information to your vehicle's Electronic Control Module (ECM).
The knock sensor will allow you to monitor your engine's health and manage the possible problems in a timely manner. The knock sensor is most commonly located in the engine block and is usually attached with a threaded edge (screwed into the block). The knock sensor is also connected to your vehicle's Electronic Control Module via basic wiring.
The process that the knock sensor goes through to detect sound and send information is fairly simple. When a knock in the engine occurs the microphone in the sensor will notice this immediately. Following this, a signal will be sent to the Electronic Control Module through the connecting cables. The result of this will be a minor modification in the engine's timing (2 degree intervals) until the problem is repaired.
Replacing a Knock Sensor
If a knock in your engine is detected, it does not necessarily mean that the knock sensor needs replaced. The idea of the sensor is too detect a knock and act on it quickly. Usually the problem will be repaired automatically but it may need your attention. If you have a faulty knock sensor then you will need to replace it or else a severe problem could form.
First, you should understand that the knock sensor will work with the control unit to modify the engine timing and find the correct setting. The knock will most likely be gone after a short period of time. If it is an issue that occurs regularly then you may want to get it checked out.
Now, if you are looking to replace your vehicle's knock sensor then do so immediately. Failure to do so can cause damage to the pistons and can eventually kill your vehicle's engine. You cannot drive your vehicle like this as you are putting it at risk each time you do so. A knock sensor is not very expensive and is simple to install. Expect to pay around $40 to $60 for a knock sensor for your vehicle. Ultimately, this will be a small price to pay to prevent thousands of dollars in repairs for a dead engine.
The knock sensor is a very important component in your vehicle. Without a working knock sensor many problems can occur. Your vehicle will continue to work with poor engine ignition timing and this will cause many issues. In just a short period of time you could end up with your vehicle being sidelined with extensive problems that could cost quite a bit to repair. Therefore, make sure your vehicle always has a properly working knock sensor and test it infrequently if necessary.