What Is the Purpose of a Steering Position Sensor?

The purpose of a steering position sensor is to monitor input from the driver’s steering, including the rate that the driver turns the wheel and the steering wheel angle. The stability control system can use the information to enhance braking, handling and traction as driving conditions change. A variable-assist power steering system can use the information to vary hydraulic pressure. Steering position sensor inputs modify electronic suspension system reaction and delivery of torque in an electronic all-wheel drive vehicle.

Steering position sensor input helps vehicle parking assist systems and accident avoidance systems that detect and steer vehicles around obstacles automatically if the drivers do not react.

The steering position sensor is one of seven main components of the stability control system. Using a steering angle sensor on the steering column, stability control systems monitor a driver’s steering input and the steering angle. Steering angle sensors are located in a sensor cluster behind the steering wheel, and they display data in degrees. More than one steering position sensor is included in the cluster, and some clusters contain three sensors to confirm the steering angle sensor data. When a steering position sensor signal is out of range or lost, the stability control system may generate a fault code.

The assembly containing stalks for the air bag clock spring and other controls may have steering position sensors integrated into it. Before technicians remove some steering position sensors on vehicles that General Motors equipped with Stabilitrak, they must align the alignment marks on the sensors.