Parking Sensors
Reviews,  Auto Parts

How Does A Parking Sensor Work?

When I park my truck, I often look in the side and rearview mirror to make sure I’m not going to hit anything. If I’m not careful, I can back up too far or rub my tire against the curb. Now, many cars come with sensors or the option to install them later. I know this could be a lifesaver for me.

Car parking sensors use ultrasonic sound waves or electromagnetic fields to measure distance. They usually come with a visual display with audio sounds that indicate how close you are to objects. When you park, you will be able to tell how close things are to the bumper so you can avoid hitting them.

When signals reflect off objects and back to parking sensors, you can get a good idea if something is in your way most of the time. If you’re ready to stop bumping into objects as I do from time to time, then parking sensors might be a good investment. We’ll talk more about how sensors work and which ones you might want to choose for your vehicle.

Types of Parking Sensor Systems

Ultrasonic and Electromagnetic

The two types of sensors you will find for cars are ultrasonic and electromagnetic sensors. If you have a car that has little round circles on your bumper, then I would first see if there are specific sensors for your car.

Ultrasonic sensors –

Ultrasonic Sensors

These sensors send out unheard sound waves that can bounce off objects. Similar to sonar, sound signals are sent out and bounce back so the sensor can tell if something is there. The time it takes for the sound wave to come back to the sensor, lets the sensor system know how close an object is so it can show the driver.

Some sensors work up to 30″ long and about 12″ wide. That’s why most sensors come in groups of four to give you a wider area of sensing what might be behind or in front of you.

Know problems – These sensors aren’t great at distinguishing objects that are very thin in width or depth. The sound waves don’t bounce off of these objects well. In addition, they can usually only distinguish objects directly behind them and not higher or lower than the bumper.

Electromagnetic Sensors

These sensors create an electromagnetic field using radio waves that can be disrupted when it comes in contact with objects. Similar to radar, radio signals are sent out and bounce back with a different signal if they hit an object and the sensor system knows how close an object is.

Some sensors can work up to 36″ long and some are longer. Their horizontal sensing is limited so prevents sensing anything too low or high.

Know problems – These sensors might not be as sensitive as ultrasonic sensors, but some may be depending on the type you get. If there are other electronic devices near, it may disrupt the signal that the sensor receives.

If your car doesn’t have holes meant for sensors, most sensor kits come with a drill attachment to make holes in plastic bumpers. If you have a metal bumper you can get an electromagnetic sensor strip that attaches to the inside of the bumper.

Parking Sensor Choices

To make a good choice for the sensor you want from your car it is important to consider the different types of sensors and how they are different from each other.

  • Wired Parking Sensor System: This is the traditional option and also the one that is often cheaper. Its installation can be tricky since it involves the need to route the wires under the vehicle
  • Wireless Parking Sensor System: This is almost the same as a wired system but has a display receiver that can be plugged into your dashboard. This is a good choice for large vehicles, such as trucks and RVs. The installation will be simpler but you still need to wire up the bumper area.

More so, they are also different in terms of the sensors that they are equipped with:

  • Ultrasonic Parking Sensor: Between the two, this is the older technology and often includes four to six sensors. The sensors are placed on the bumper of the car. You may need to drill holes in order to create a seamless look.
  • Electromagnetic Parking Sensor: If you want a sensor that can be installed without the need to drill, this is the perfect option for you. They rely on an electromagnetic field to function. They can also be more expensive if they are barrel-type sensors.

Factors to Consider Before Buying A Parking Sensor

While these backup sensors can assist you in parking, there are differences between types of sensors.

To make the most out of it, you need to carefully evaluate the choices. Here are some of the most important considerations:

  • Reviews: The easiest way to list down the best products available in the market is to rely on the feedback of other users. Their real-life experiences can provide you with insights into how one product can be a better option compared to its competitors.
  • Installation: You do not have to rely on the services of the pros to complete the assembly of the unit. Pick a product that comes with a detailed manual so that you will easily know how to install it.
  • Ease of Use: Aside from being easy to install, the parking sensor system must also be easy to use. It must be effortless to operate. Even the maintenance must not require too much effort on your end.
  • Durability: To be provided with the best value for money, make sure to choose a product that will withstand the test of time. Choose one that is waterproof. It will also be good if it has an anti-freeze feature.
  • Sensors: As you try to evaluate the options, take a look at the number of sensors. Ideally, choose one with more sensors. They can be more expensive, but they are usually more reliable.
  • Visual Display: There should be an LED or LCD screen that is included in the kit. This will provide a visual representation that can assist you in parking, making it easier to be notified if there are obstacles.
  • Audio Feedback: Aside from visual feedback, the parking sensor system must also be able to provide clear audio feedback. The audio must be loud enough but never annoying. A sound-based warning system will help you to be notified of obstacles.
  • Compatibility: It is also important to think about the type of vehicle where the parking sensor will be installed. Not all models will offer universal compatibility. There are some that cannot fit large vehicles, such as trucks and RVs. To avoid wasting your money, see to it that the sensor will be suitable for the vehicle where you intend to use it.
  • Warranty: The standard warranty offered by manufacturers is one year. This means that within such a period, they can offer free repair and services. Some also provide a money-back guarantee, which means that you will be refunded within a specific duration if you are unhappy in any way with your purchase.

My Top Picks For Parking Sensor

To make it easier for you to decide, here are five products that should be on the top of your list. We will also tackle their main features, as well as the pros and cons, to help you narrow down the possibilities.

1. Striker Adjustable Garage Parking Sensor (Ultrasonic Sensor)


Simplicity – this is one of the reasons why this is a product that is highly recommended. As you drive going to the sensor, there is a green light, which is a signal that you should keep ongoing. It will turn yellow to tell you to slow down, and finally, red when you have to stop.

It is also a good thing that it comes with walkway lighting as an add-on feature. This will provide the illumination that you will need in a dark garage.

In terms of installation, the manufacturer provides double-sided tape and Velcro to make it easy. There is also a set distance button, which will allow you to specify the stop zone.

For versatility, the stop zone can be set anywhere from 6 inches to 6 feet. You will have the freedom to choose which distance suits your needs.

Lastly, this sensor comes with range-finding technology, making it the perfect option for buyers who would like to have a sense of where they are in relation to their garage wall.


  • Delivers a wide range of detection capabilities
  • Installation can be accomplished in a snap
  • Has an innovative range finding technology
  • Has bright LED signal lighting
  • Can be easily mounted on the wall


This parking sensor system is easy to install and effortless to use. It has an adjustable stop zone and comes with Velcro and double-sided tapes that will be used for its installation.

2. 4 Parking Sensors With Display (Ultrasonic Sensor)


This is another nice option for the best parking sensor systems. The package is inclusive of all the things that you will need. Aside from the four parking sensors, there is a LED display indicator, main control box, hole saw, and power cable.

The four sensors are exceptional in terms of their functionality. They are shockproof and waterproof. To add, they also have an anti-freeze feature. With the universal hole saw, the sensors will easily fit in any car.

The digital display is also a plus for this model. It is easy to see, regardless of it is day or night. The display has three colors and will show you the exact distance that exists between an obstacle and your car.

Lastly, there is an audible sound that will let you know if you are getting near an obstacle. The sound is loud enough to be easily heard. For some people, however, the loudness of the beep can be quite annoying.


  • The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Made from premium materials to ensure durability
  • Effectively provides enhanced safety
  • Has four parking sensors
  • Comes complete with everything that you will need


The functions are one of the leading reasons why this product is a top-notch option. It even comes with a bright display that shows the exact distance.

3. Tiemahun Car Backup System (Ultrasonic Sensor)


Even if you are a beginner, there is no need to be worried about using this parking sensor system. It is intuitive, which lessens the effort that is required in its installation and use. The system also automatically engages as soon as you reverse.

With a four-sensor system, it can offer a high level of reliability, specifically in terms of detection and coverage. It is even made better by the advanced chipset and double CPU incorporated in the system, allowing it to function intelligently.

The sensor system also offers a universal fit. You can use it not only for cars but also for trucks and RVs.

To give you peace of mind, the manufacturer is offering a money-back guarantee for 30 days, which will be an assurance of your satisfaction. To add, they also extend a one-year warranty.


  • 4 sensor
  • Universal compatibility
  • Delivers intelligent functionality
  • Has a screen with a generous size


This is another parking sensor system that offers intuitive operation. It has a fully-functional LED screen.

4. Car Parking Sensor System (Electromagnetic Sensor)


For effective collision avoidance, this product is sure to provide you with peace of mind. The innovative sensors and microcomputer system will provide you with the assurance that you can park your car safely without hitting possible obstacles.

Among its features, one worth noting is the electromagnetic sensor. This allows the sensor to sense even small objects as you back up.

Also, it comes with a digital display, which will be easy to see even during the night. The audible beep is also a good thing, which provides immediate notification if there is an obstacle.

It also comes louder and faster beeping as you get closer to objects, even when backing into curbs.


  • User-friendly in terms of operation and installation
  • Comes with a clear display
  • Has reliability when sensing objects throughout your bumper.
  • Has beeping sounds when getting close to objects.


In terms of the intelligent functionality that it can offer, it provides you with differentiated beeping to assist you when parking close to objects.

5. LETihebeyan Car Parking Sensor System (Electromagnetic Sensor)


The installation of this parking sensor system is quite easy. All that you need is to install it on the inside of the bumper. There is no need to worry as there is a comprehensive manual to provide you with a detailed guide.

The product is invisible once the installation is done.

The package is inclusive of one long strip that creates a radio signal along the length of the bumper for a consistent signal from one side of the bumper to the other. It delivers a reliable sensor to avoid collisions and obstacles. The sensors can resist various external environmental conditions since it is inside the bumper, so it should last a long time.


  • 3-foot range of detection of objects near the bumper.
  • The kit includes everything that you will need
  • Compatible with most all vehicles
  • Comes with a speaker that indicates proximity to objects.


This may not be the most popular option, but it promises to provide value for money. It is a sensor that can detect radio signals when an object gets close and makes a sound so you know.


Since I have a metal bumper on my truck, I would get an electromagnetic parking sensor system for my truck. That way I can install it and not need to drill holes into my bumper. Which sensor would you get?

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