There are few components on your vehicle that can improve its overall power more than a turbocharger or supercharger.
But while these can be powerful engine components, your vehicle also needs to monitor them to make sure everything is working as it should.
This is where the boost pressure sensor comes into play. But how do you know if you have a bad boost pressure sensor and what exactly does this sensor do?
We’ll break it all down here before delving into how much it will cost you if you need to replace this sensor. Let’s start with the signs to look out for to know if your boost pressure sensor is failing:
The most common symptom of a bad boost pressure sensor is a check engine light on the dashboard. You may also notice signs, such as accelerating slower or faster than usual.
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at these signs, here’s a more detailed list of the most common symptoms of a bad boost pressure sensor:
Bad Boost Pressure Sensor Symptoms
1. Check engine light
If you have a bad boost pressure sensor, you will have a check engine light. Specifically, you will have a code of P0236. If you have this engine code, you likely have a bad boost pressure sensor, but that’s not the only thing that could be causing it.
You’ll still need to rule out an underlying electrical issue and you’ll need to check that there isn’t anything wrong with your turbo or supercharger. If there is an underlying problem, your boost pressure sensor does exactly what it is supposed to do, alerting you to an underlying problem.
2. Decrease or increase in engine performance
Your boost pressure sensor tells your ECM the actual output of your turbo or supercharger, so if it doesn’t report accurate numbers, the ECM will adjust to faulty readings. This will cause an overall decrease or increase in engine performance.
A faulty boost pressure sensor will cause more noticeable performance drops in a turbocharged engine than a supercharged engine, but engine performance drops can occur in both. This is because even with a supercharged engine, the ECM does not know how the supercharger works, so it cannot optimize performance.
However, with a turbocharged engine, this can cut off the turbo completely, causing a significant drop in engine performance.
In some rare cases, it can also increase turbo pressure, which can lead to an increase in performance. This can be fatal for your engine, so it is absolutely necessary to fix this problem as soon as possible.
3. Absence or increase of impulse
As we mentioned in the symptoms section above, a faulty boost pressure sensor can cause an increase or decrease in engine performance. This is caused by an increase or decrease in turbo pressure.
Some car models actually have a turbo pressure gauge where you can read the current turbo pressure. If you see that the pressure is lower or higher than normal at higher loads, it could be due to a faulty boost pressure sensor.
What is a boost pressure sensor?
Your vehicle’s boost pressure sensor tells the ECM how much boost the turbocharger or supercharger is actually producing. Although the ECM requests a specific amount of boost, it must measure the result of its request.
This is where the boost pressure sensor comes into play. This allows the ECM to know what is really happening to optimize the air-fuel ratio for optimal performance. Additionally, it acts as a way to protect the rest of the engine if the supercharger or turbocharger stops working like it’s supposed to.
Boost Pressure Sensor Location
Your vehicle’s boost pressure sensor is usually located in the boost pipes between the intake manifold and turbocharger. It may also be located in the intake manifold on some car models.
This area allows you to record the boost created by the supercharger or turbocharger without interfering with anything.
Although this is a fairly simple location near the top of the engine, you may need to remove some components to access it. However, when it comes to finding and accessing the boost pressure sensor, it is one of the easiest components on most vehicles.
Boost Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost
The average boost pressure sensor replacement cost is between $175 and $200. However, this cost can vary depending on the vehicle you drive and where you take it for repairs. If you want to replace this sensor yourself to save a little money, you can, but most of the cost is in parts, not labor.
The average boost pressure sensor costs more than $125. But even if you’re not going to save a lot of money, replacing the boost pressure sensor yourself is usually pretty simple. All you have to do is disconnect the battery, then disconnect the electrical connector, and remove the bolt holding the sensor.
From there, screw in the new sensor, plug it in, and reconnect the battery. If the problem was the boost pressure sensor, it should be good to go now.
Can you drive with a faulty boost pressure sensor?
You should never drive with a faulty boost pressure sensor. Without a boost pressure sensor, it is quite common for the ECM to direct too much power to the turbocharger, which can have catastrophic consequences for your engine.
By ignoring a sensor that would cost you less than $200 to replace, you can quickly cause several thousand dollars in damage and wipe out your engine. This is because too much boost can cause the engine to overheat, which can damage various components.
If you don’t have the money to replace your boost pressure sensor right away, it’s best to leave the vehicle in the garage until you can get it repaired. It could be a big inconvenience, but it’s not worth the risk.