If you have ever been pulled over or gotten a speeding ticket, there is a pretty good chance that you doubted that you were going as fast as they may have said that you did. One thing that contributes to uncertainty when it comes to knowing your speed when driving is the engine speed sensor. The engine speed sensor sends information to the car’s computer regarding how fast the car’s engine is spinning; it sends this information by constantly recording how fast your vehicle’s crankshaft is spinning, giving you a reading on your speedometer as well. A speed sensor beginning to go bad can be the source of a wide variety of strange issues in your car and when you notice any of them it’s important to have your car looked at immediately. These speed sensors have a tendency to go bad or faulty and these are just a few indications to look for that something is going wrong.
- Improper Shifting– Without a good signal from the speed sensors, the PCM won’t be able to control the gears shifting in the transmission correctly. This can cause the transmission to shift faster than usual and a problem with the speed sensors can also impact the timing between shifts, making it take longer between shifts as well. In an automatic transmission it is hydraulically controlled so when a transmission begins to have harsher or harder shifts, it can start to damage these components and things like the valve bodies and hydraulic lines.
- Your Check Engine Light Turns On/Off– If something is wrong with the communication from the speed sensor to the car’s computer or there is no communication at all, it’s possible that the check engine light will turn on each time you accelerate. Every driver knows the stress the check engine light can bring so one that is intermittently turning on and off can be a particularly bad headache though it is often just a symptom of a bad speed sensor.
- Your Speedometer Is Erratic or Does Not Work At All– Since the speed sensor delivers the information about how fast the car’s engine is spinning to the speedometer, a speedometer that is not working at all or is giving you constantly varying readings and results that you know are improbable, it is likely an issue in the speed sensor. Whether it’s not properly determining the rate the engine is spinning or it is becoming faulty or worn down and is in need of replacing, it is important that you have your vehicle looked at immediately as knowing your speed and having proper and correct readings while out on the road is extremely important for your safety and the safety of other drivers.
- The Brakes are Harder than Normal When Just Coasting– When you aren’t accelerating at all, your brakes should be smooth and easy to pump and apply. In the event that your speed sensor is going bad or has failed, there will be no communication of engine spinning to the computer in your vehicle and in turn, even when not accelerating and just coasting, your brakes will be much harder to apply and will feel stiffer. Any trouble applying the brakes is not to be taken lightly and you should seek the help of a professional and certified mechanic to determine the issue.
Often times the transmission is a popular scapegoat for these issues among others but before you visit an expensive transmission specialist, you should take your car in for a complete diagnostic test to truly determine the cause of the issues you are having or are noticing in your car. Finding a shop with full factory level diagnostic equipment will not only ensure a more accurate reading for your car but will also make sure that you get the same level of service you would at a dealership but without the high costs or extended wait times that come from the over crowded dealer mechanics.
So the next time you get pulled over and you think you may not have been speeding, take your vehicle in to have the speed sensor checked. While it probably won’t help you get out a ticket or fight the ticket should you dispute it, a properly working speed sensor will help you ensure that you won’t have any more coming in your future.
Keeping your engine cool is a vital part of preserving your vehicle’s health and performance and will help you avoid massive damages to your car’s internal systems. In the engine the oil pump not only helps to cool the engine but it will circulate the engine’s oil, lubricating all of the bearings and allowing the engine to function properly. Should your oil pump suddenly fail one day while out driving, it can be extremely dangerous to both you and other drivers, making staying on top of routine maintenance and service very important. There are many signs to look for as well that indicate that your oil pump may be beginning to fail and knowing what to recognize will go a long way to having the issue repaired before it becomes too serious. These are just a few of the most common signs that your oil pump is in need of service or replacement.
Oil pump failure symptoms
- Your Oil Pressure Will Decrease– Since the oil pump is responsible for regulating oil pressure, should it begin to go bad or improperly oil the components in the engine, you may notice the oil light turn on, other symptoms of oil pressure decreasing will be a decrease in power, your engine will run much hotter and there is a good chance your vehicle will begin stalling out much more often.
- Clanking Noises– There is a chance that there will be a loud clanking noise coming from under the hood if the oil pump is going bad. Since a main function of the oil pump is to lubricate the engine and prevent friction, the loud clanking noise is an indication that there is not enough lubricant passing through, which is often caused by a defective oil pump. The hydraulic lifters shouldn’t make noise at all so any noise is likely an indication that not enough oil is being pumped through to them.
- Higher Operational Temperature of Your Engine– As oil is moved through the engine, it will help the engine stay cool and reduce the internal friction that can occur. When the oil pump is bad or beginning to go bad, the temperature of your vehicle while you’re operating it will rise substantially. This is because the normal flow of oil is reduced and more friction can occur, which causes the heat in the engine to go up. There should be a heat light on your dashboard that will light up to indicate that this is an issue.
- Noise From Within the Valve-Train– The entire valve-train system includes components that will keep the engine in your car running, aside from the hydraulic lifters there also includes pushrods, valve guides and seals as well. Each of these components rely on proper oil flow to stay lubricated so without the proper amounts of oil, they will begin to stop working properly or may begin to make noise. As the oil flow decreases because of a faulty oil pump, this can cause the valve-train as a whole to become extremely noisy when driving.
Oil pump life span
A properly working and functioning oil pump should usually last anywhere between 60,000-70,000 miles in a vehicle that has been well maintained. Usually on new cars there are warranties on parts and labor on pieces and parts like all of the pumps for at least a limited time, most factory warranties last around 12,000 miles but with proper maintenance the average driver won’t have any issues and most drivers can typically last 6 years or longer before an oil pump fails though that is dependent on the type of car you have along with your driving and service maintenance tendencies.
The best way to prevent damages to the oil pump is by regularly scheduling and having the oil in your car changed. Oftentimes drivers will drive well past the recommended intervals for oil changes and while that is not the most harmful, avoiding stretching it out for too long as the debris and filaments that begin to collect in the oil can eventually start to affect the performance of your vehicle and the cleanliness of the components. Properly lubricating each piece of your engine is vital to clean, efficient running and by knowing which signs to look for that indicate potential issues in the oil pump will help keep you free of any unexpected damages or incidents, extending the life of your vehicle in the process.