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How to Troubleshoot Malfunctioning Reverse Parking Sensor

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Does this sound familiar? You start to reverse and, instead of hearing the familiar beep, beep sound, you hear and feel a crunch. That’s usually when you realize your reverse parking sensor is not beeping. In most cases, you were probably going slow enough that no damage has been caused, but a malfunctioning reverse parking sensor can quickly cause an array of issues.

That’s why you should always pay attention to the beep and sort the problem as quickly as possible. Here are some ways to troubleshoot a malfunctioning reverse parking sensor.

parking sensors on a car

Clean Your Sensors

Sometimes a malfunctioning reverse parking sensor isn’t working correctly simply because it is coated in dirt. This can affect its ability to sense anything around your vehicle. So, your first step, if your reverse parking sensor is not beeping or you are having another sensor issue, is to clean the sensors.

Soap and water are effective and easy. Make sure you use a soft cloth so you do not scratch the sensors. If you’re cleaning the sensors, you should take advantage of the opportunity and go ahead and clean the rest of the car as well.

When cleaning you may also want to pop the sensors out and wipe the back of them with a clean rag. This is because oil and other debris can build up behind the sensor and cause issues.


If the sensors are clean and you’re still having malfunctioning reverse parking sensor issues, enlist the help of a friend. They can stand at the back of your car as you start the engine and put it in reverse.

Your friend can then slowly walk toward the vehicle while you keep it stationary. You should hear the beep getting faster and then becoming a solid sound as he or she gets to the back of your car.

Don’t forget to have your window open so they can keep you informed of their position.

If the sensors aren’t reacting properly then place your ear to the sensor when you’re in reverse (be sure to keep your foot on the brake). You should be able to hear a buzzing sound. If there is no sound your sensor probably needs to be replaced.


When the sensor is buzzing slightly and making a sound but is not working correctly, it’s likely that the issue is somewhere else in the system or it has simply failed due to age. If the parking sensor system is built into the car, then you’ll want an auto technician to run a diagnostic test.

This will identify any faults in the wiring, the system, or even in the vehicle. Your technician will then be able to advise on the best course of action regarding the malfunctioning reverse parking sensor. This could be replacing part of the system or even the entire thing.

Try to Reset the Reverse Parking Sensor

In some cases where your reverse parking sensors are not working correctly, you may be able to reset the system. This depends on the type of sensor you have and whether it is an aftermarket sensor or one that came with your vehicle.

For aftermarket parking sensors, there should be a switch or a button that allows you to reset the sensors. This is usually located near the system’s control panel. If you cannot easily find it, refer to the user’s manual.

If your reverse parking sensors are factory-installed, you should consult your owner’s manual. In most cases, you will need to access the vehicle’s diagnostics mode. then, once the vehicle is in diagnostic mode, look for a menu option that allows you to reset the parking sensors.

Again, if you cannot find this option, refer to your owner’s manual.

Final Thoughts on Troubleshooting a Malfunctioning Reverse Parking Sensor

Remember, if you have parking sensors on your car, you most likely rely on them more than you realize. Unfortunately, these sensors can fail for many reasons whether it is due to dirt, damage, or age.

As soon as you think you have a malfunctioning reverse parking sensor, follow the above steps. It’s the fastest way to get the issue resolved and keep you safe on the road. After all, you don’t want a large repair bill just because you miscalculated while reversing!

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