What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Steering Angle Sensor?

A bad steering angle sensor can cause a wide range of issues with your vehicle’s handling, stability, and safety. Symptoms of a bad steering angle sensor include:

1. Steering wheel vibrations: A faulty steering angle sensor can cause the steering wheel to vibrate while driving, which can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

2. Erratic steering: The steering wheel may become difficult to control or feel inconsistent, making it difficult to keep it on course while driving.

3. Loss of power steering: A bad sensor can also cause loss of power-assisted steering at low speeds, making it difficult to maneuver the vehicle in tight spaces or parking lots.

4. Abnormal tire wear: If the sensor is not providing accurate information about your vehicle’s alignment and direction, then abnormal tire wear can occur over time due to incorrect wheel alignment angles.

5. Inaccurate readings from instrument cluster: The instrument cluster may display inaccurate readings or fail to display important information if the sensor is malfunctioning or providing incorrect data.

Automobile: What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Steering Angle Sensor?

Steering angle sensors are an important part of the modern automobile, and they can be found in almost all cars, trucks, and SUVs. They are responsible for the accuracy of the steering wheel angle when driving, and can have an effect on driver comfort and safety. When a steering angle sensor is not functioning properly, it can lead to a number of problems that can range from minor to major. This article will look at what a steering angle sensor is, how it works, common problems associated with it, as well as what the symptoms of a bad steering angle sensor may be.


A steering angle sensor is an electronic device that measures the angular position of the steering wheel in relation to the car’s direction of travel. It works by sending out a signal to other components in the car such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), power-assisted brakes (PB), dynamic stability control (DSC), and traction control system (TCS). The signal sent out by this device allows these systems to adjust their performance according to the current steering wheel angle.


The components that make up a steering angle sensor typically include an electronic circuit board, potentiometer (measuring device), and rotary encoder or resolver (a type of motor). These components work together to measure and transmit information about how far and in which direction the steering wheel has been turned.


The purpose of a steering angle sensor is to provide accurate data about how far and in which direction the vehicle is turning while driving. This information helps keep vehicles stable while driving on roads with sharp curves or uneven surfaces by improving traction control, stability control, cornering brake control (CBC), brake assist systems (BAS) etc. Additionally, this data helps reduce driver fatigue by providing more even handling when driving on winding roads.

Sensors & Signals

In order for a vehicle’s computer system to accurately measure how far and in which direction its wheels are turning, it uses two different types of sensors—a rotary encoder or resolver and a potentiometer. The rotary encoder sends out signals based on how far or fast its internal shaft has been rotated from its starting point. This signal is then used by other systems in the vehicle such as ABS or DSC to adjust their performance accordingly. The potentiometer measures voltage changes caused by rotating its internal shaft; this voltage change corresponds directly with changes in wheel angle relative to forward motion.


In order for a vehicle’s computer system to accurately read these signals from both types of sensors mentioned above—the rotary encoder or resolver and potentiometer—it must first perform calibration procedures every time its wheels have moved more than 15 degrees from their starting point during normal driving conditions. Calibration ensures accuracy between measured data points so that any changes in wheel angles can be accurately recorded by other systems within the car such as ABS or DSC for improved performance adjustment capabilities while driving.

Common Problems With Steering Angle Sensors

Common problems associated with steering angle sensors can include failure of one or both sensors due to age or damage; incorrect calibration due to improper installation; dirty connectors between one or both sensors; software bugs or glitches; mechanical damage due improper maintenance; water damage; electrical noise interference; internal component failure; etc.. Each of these problems will cause various symptoms within your vehicle’s computer system that may be noticed during normal driving conditions such as decreased fuel efficiency, reduced power output, poor handling/stability control/braking performance etc..

Symptoms Of A Bad Steering Angle Sensor

Some common symptoms that may indicate your vehicle has an issue with its steering angle sensor include: excessive vibration when turning corners at slow speeds; increased fuel consumption due to incorrect balancing between throttle input and brakes output during cornering maneuvers; poor handling/stability/braking performance when making tight turns at high speeds; sudden jerks when turning corners at low speeds due misreadings caused by dirty connectors between one or both sensors etc.. Additionally if you notice any warning lights related to ABS/DSC/TCS blinking on your dashboard then these could also indicate an issue with your car’s steering angle sensor.

What is a Steering Angle Sensor?

A steering angle sensor is a device that measures the rotational position of the steering wheel. It is used by many modern vehicles to measure the angle of the steering wheel and control various functions, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control. The sensor is typically installed in the steering column, but can also be found near the wheel hub or other areas near the suspension system.

Symptoms of Failure

When a steering angle sensor fails, it can cause several issues with your vehicle’s handling and control systems. Some of the common symptoms include: diminished control over the vehicle; loss of electronic stability control functions; warning lights on the dashboard; and reduced responsiveness when turning. In some cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by a grinding noise or other strange noises coming from under the hood.

Causes of Failure in Steering Angle Sensors

The most common cause of failure in a steering angle sensor is physical damage or wear and tear. Impact damage from potholes or other objects can cause damage to internal components, leading to failure. Corrosion or rust can also degrade electrical connections within the sensor, causing it to fail prematurely. In addition, there may be an electrical fault within the sensor itself that causes it to malfunction.

Diagnosing a Faulty Steering Angle Sensor

When diagnosing a faulty steering angle sensor, it’s important to first check for any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). These codes are generated by onboard computers when they detect an issue with one of their components, such as a faulty steering angle sensor. If any DTCs are present, they will need to be addressed before moving on to further testing. Additionally, there are several tests that can be performed on the sensor itself to determine if it is functioning properly.

Replacing a Faulty Steering Angle Sensor

Once you have determined that your steering angle sensor needs to be replaced, it’s important to take proper preparation steps before beginning work on your vehicle. This includes disconnecting the battery power and disabling any active safety systems like airbags and traction control systems that may interfere with replacement work. Once this has been done, you can begin removing existing components as necessary before installing your new steering angle sensor unit into place.

FAQ & Answers

Q: What is a steering angle sensor?
A: A steering angle sensor is an electronic component that measures the rotational movement and angular position of the steering wheel. It sends signals to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to adjust the direction of the wheels, helping to maintain control and stability especially in critical driving situations.

Q: What are the symptoms of a bad steering angle sensor?
A: Common symptoms of a faulty steering angle sensor include diminished control over the vehicle, loss of electronic stability control functions, and warning lights on the dashboard.

Q: What causes a steering angle sensor to fail?
A: A steering angle sensor can fail due to physical damage, wear and tear, impact damage, corrosion or rust.

Q: How do you diagnose a faulty steering angle sensor?
A: To diagnose a faulty steering angle sensor, it is necessary to test for faults by scanning for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) or running a multimeter test.

Q: How do you replace a faulty steering angle sensor?
A: To replace a faulty steering angle sensor, you must first prepare for replacement by disconnecting the battery and removing any relevant covers or shields. You should then carefully unplug and remove the old unit before installing and testing the new part.

The steering angle sensor is an important component of any vehicle, and it is essential to have it in good working order. Symptoms of a bad steering angle sensor can include a loss of power steering, difficulty turning the wheel, or the car drifting or pulling to one side. If any of these symptoms arise, it is important to have a qualified mechanic inspect the steering angle sensor and replace it if necessary.

Author Profile

Carl Frisch
Carl Frisch
With more than 30 years in the bicycle industry, I have a strong background in bicycle retailing, sales, marketing and customer service. I have a passion for cycling and a dedication to excellence. As a manager, I worked diligently to increase my capabilities and responsibilities, managing up to eleven mechanics (at Palo Alto Bicycles) and later as a working partner in my own store.

As the shop owner of Spoke n’ Word Cycles in Socorro, NM, the success of the mission was my responsibility, which I pursued passionately since we opened in 2003 through the spring of 2011. I am adept at managing owned and loan inventory, preparing weekly & annual inventory statements, and managing staff. The role as managing partner also allowed me tremendous freedom. I used this personal freedom to become more deeply involved in my own advancement as a mechanic, to spearhead local trail building, and advocating for cycling both locally and regionally.

As a mechanic, I have several years doing neutral support, experience as a team mechanic, and experience supporting local rides, races, club events. I consistently strive to ensure that bicycles function flawlessly by foreseeing issues and working with the riders, soigners, coaches and other mechanics. Even with decades of experience as a shop mechanic and team mechanic, and continue to pursue greater involvement in this sport as a US Pro Mechanic, and UCI Pro Mechanic.

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