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Understanding your car’s assist technology and tips for keeping the sensors clean

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Feb 7, 2023 8:42:15 AM

Keep your car sensors cleanTechnological advancements have made our cars more sophisticated. However,  keeping the sensors clean during winter ensures the systems function correctly.

Here’s a list of sensors your car may have:

1. Forward Collision Warning System (FCW).

Car manufacturers have done an excellent job installing the sensors, so it may take a couple of strolls around your car to find them. FCW checks the road in front of you and is designed to warn you if a car in front of you is traveling at a slower speed or has stopped. If so, the system may send you various warnings, such as sounds, visuals, vibrations, or a brake pulse.

2. Adaptive Cruise Control.

This system automatically adjusts your speed if you approach a car traveling slower than you are. This system may use radars mounted in your grille and an in-vehicle camera.

3. Blind-Spot Monitoring System.

This system warns of cars or motorcycles hidden from you, i.e., in your blind spot. In the good old days, blind spot mirrors were used to help with this. Today, this system alerts you by sound, visualization, or vibration. In my car, the outside mirrors light up with an orange color. The radars for this system are usually found in your car’s rear quarter panels. While this part of the car doesn’t get as dirty as the front and rear, it’s important to be mindful of their location.

4. Cameras.

Front and rear cameras help you to see what’s in front or behind your car. Three hundred sixty-degree camera systems give you a virtual top-down view of your surroundings. I’m constantly cleaning our cameras. Road spray can make it difficult to see. Snow or ice buildup can cause them to function erratically. 

5. Back-up Warning/Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

These sensors provide an audible alert as you get close to things or as rear-cross traffic approaches you. The closer an object is, the faster the signal sounds. These sensors are usually in your car’s rear bumper.

6. The Windshield.

Cameras and other technology, such as automatic windshield wiper sensors may be built into the glass. Be sure your entire windshield is clear of snow and ice. The little peephole that some motorists use isn’t sufficient for safe driving.

If your car has this technology, a regular car wash can help keep it free and clear of snow, ice, and road spray. If the temperature is too cold, a small damp cloth may do the trick.

If you have difficulty finding the sensors on your car, please refer to your owner’s manual or call your local car dealership.

Finally, rely only partially on your safety sensors. Always use your eyes to keep track of what’s happening around your vehicle.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

Topics: Auto Safety, Weather

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