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If you have a vehicle from model year 2012 or later, it came equipped with an electronic stability control (ESC) system from the factory. The steering wheel alignment sensor is an important part of that system.



What is a Steering Wheel Alignment Sensor?

To help you avoid disaster while driving, your ESC system needs to know where your steering wheel is pointed. Resetting your steering angle sensor (SAS) is an important last step for all alignment services performed on vehicles manufactured after 2012. If your vehicle was made before 2012, you probably don’t need to worry about resetting the sensor unless you drive a luxury or sports car equipped with an ESC system.

How do Steering Angle Sensors Work?

Think of your steering angle sensor as the switch that activates your vehicle’s ESC system. Your vehicle’s ESC system helps you control your vehicle when there’s a discrepancy between where your vehicle is going and where the steering wheel is pointed. ESC helps drivers avoid accidents by “taking over” when it detects a potentially unstable or dangerous situation. Before you take your vehicle in for an alignment, be sure the technician assigned to your vehicle knows about resetting the steering angle sensor.

How are Steering Angle Sensors Made?

Like many other automotive electrical components, steering angle sensors are made in factories using heavy equipment designed for mass-production. It is impossible to replicate this sensor, or any of your other ESC components, without significant engineering know how and experience. If you’re not sure if your sensor was reset after your last alignment service, schedule an appointment at your local Pep Boys and let us figure it out for you.

Why do Steering Angle Sensors Fail?

  • Failing to reset the steering angle sensor after an alignment service could potentially render your vehicle’s ESC system ineffective.
  • Like all automotive electrical components, steering angle sensors are vulnerable to heat, vibration, moisture, and general wear and tear.

What are the Symptoms of Alignment Sensor Failure?

  • Your vehicle’s ESC may throw a trouble code that needs to be checked out by a professional automotive technician.
  • In extreme cases, your ESC may fail to activate when you need it most.

What are the Consequences of Alignment Sensor Failure?

  • An accident may result from a failing ESC or steering angle sensor
  • ESC is designed to protect you in situations that are difficult for the average driver to control. Driving without ESC could be dangerous.

ESC is an important safety feature that comes standard on many newer vehicles. It should be serviced every time an alignment is performed. If you have questions or concerns about alignment sensors or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.