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Parking Sensors in Your car

As the car reverses into a space and moves closer to objects, an audible buzzer beeps more frequently.

This is usually achieved by four ultrasonic parking sensors fitted into the bumper of the car. They send out an ultrasonic wave, and if this hits an object, it bounces back to the same sensor. Information received is then relayed to the brain, allowing it to make the buzzer sounds.

For most vehicles the shape of the car will determine where sensors are fitted. This is due to wide differences in design, between manufacturers and models of vehicles.

For cars with a center panel and separate corner bumper pieces that curve around the car, two low and two higher sensors are often necessary. If a vehicle has a metal panel behind the bumper, this usually means holes must rise above the obstruction, also avoiding interference issues.

Factory fitted parking sensors are the ones fitted to a car at the time of manufacture. Retrofit, often called ‘After-market’, are the ones fitted at some time after the vehicle was produced.

Factory fitted sensors have a certain look, devised by the car designer, which is difficult to recreate in aftermarket sensors. Retrofit devices are made for all cars from all manufacturers, and consequently have their own distinctive look.

It could be argued that some of the latest aftermarket designs are better due to their small, discreet shape. They are also constantly being redesigned for better looks or usage, and not devised and forgotten like factory ones.

Sensor heads are getting smaller. Small is definitely less intrusive although they may have limited colour options, for example only available in black or silver.

Generally it is best to go for the smallest sensor heads possible, as once a hole is drilled it cannot be made smaller.