Causes of a Parking Sensor Failure

Updated February 21, 2017

Parking sensors provide an early warning to drivers coming dangerously close to a wall and can prevent accident and injury. When a parking sensor malfunctions, the same dependence on the device that made parking safer can now become a blind spot that can make an accident more likely. Fortunately, some common causes of parking sensor failure can be watched for and prevented.

Blind Spots

A common reason why parking sensors malfunction is the presence of blind spots. Blind spots are areas where the connection between the sensor and receiver cannot complete a connection. Often, this is due to an obstruction (something in the way) such as a hardware box, a hamper or another object. If no object is found that obstructs the path of the sensor, clean the sensor since the obstruction may be dirt blocking the path of the sensor beam. If this does not solve the problem, check the placement of the parking sensor connections on the garage wall. If the sensors are mounted too low, a connection cannot be completed. The minimum recommended distance to mount a parking sensor from the ground is 50 CM.

Speed Requirement

While backing into a space should be completed with utmost precaution to avoid injury or property damage, backing in too slow may cause the parking sensor to malfunction. This is because a parking sensor must detect the movement of the vehicle to activate properly. To ensure the proper function of the parking sensor while backing into the spot, pull in going 2 to 3 miles per hour. This is the average walking speed and is slow enough to maintain control of the car while still setting off the parking sensor's alarms.

No Display

Many parking sensors mounted to the car include a display in the dash of the car. This display allows the driver to see where the car is backing into from the rear view, close to bumper level. If this display malfunctions, the difficulty often comes from dirt on the sensor. Clear the sensor of silt, dirt and wetness thoroughly as directed in your car manual. If this does not solve the problem, check that the rear display is powered on and that the power and display connections are not frayed, melted or otherwise rendered ineffective. If the wiring appears sound and the unit is powered on, seek help from a certified technician.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.