Curb detectors first started off as curb feelers (or known as curb finders), which are springs or wires installed on a car and acts as “whiskers”. It is installed to warn drivers that they are too close to either the curb or other obstructions. These curb feelers are still used on some of the hot rods to achieve the 1950s look. It is also especially popular for cars that are using whitewall tires – because these tires easily lose their white coating when they come in contact with the curb or obstructions. Some of the curb feelers have a single wire (or spring), and other have two to increase the contact surface. Often times, curb feelers are only found on the passenger side of the vehicle.
This is because the passenger side is mostly the side that is near a curb during a parking situation. Other times, these curb detectors are added only on the front wheels. There is no restriction of car models when it comes to installing curb detectors – any owner can install more than one curb detector if they wish. They can be installed on the front and rear, and also on both sides of the car. Through technological advancement, there are now similar use curb sensors (or parking sensors).
The name differs accordingly to the usage. Though the system has changed, the usage is still the same – to warn drivers of obstruction or curbs. The only difference between the traditional and the modern detectors is that the modern sensors work in terms of proximity of an obstruction, whereas the traditional detectors work when it comes in contact with the obstacle. Curb sensors are usually installed on the bumper of the car to warn you when you are getting too close to objects. The sensors will emit an alarm or sound when they detect obstacles (like a curb), and some have a digital display to show you the distance that is left before making contact with the said object. On the other hand, there are also parking sensors – built in sensors installed at both the front and the rear end of your car. When the driver starts the car, the front sensor will be activated – and the rear end sensors will be activated when the driver engages in the reverse gear.
There are ultrasonic radio waves being sent out from the control unit of the wireless parking system to the sensors attached to the vehicle. The control unit’s computer will measure the distance between the obstacle or curb and your car. This is done through measuring the time it takes the radio waves to bounce back to the car, from the obstacle. As mentioned above (and through the entire article), the detectors function as a warning system. Wireless parking systems (curb/parking detectors) will warn the drivers as they approach an obstacle through either audible, visual, or both means. Some visual systems will display the distance between the vehicle and the car when it is within four feet from the front, or six feet from the rear.
On the other hand, the audio system will emit a warning, beeping sound when the vehicle’s front (or rear) is below two feet from the obstacle, or the curb. Through technology advancement, there are also many choices of warnings that could be chosen from. Some of the vehicles will emit a continuous tone to alert the driver, or some models display the word “stop” when the vehicle is within a foot away from the curb. Do a Google search to check for an aftermarket system that can be installed on your classic. Some new and sophisticated cars even have back cameras to help them see the distance between their cars and the curbs.
Too many car owners, especially the ladies, this has proven to be very handy indeed as with any restoration of Mustangs you must take the necessary time to hit every detail including the angle of the reverse camera. Owners should also take note that the different types of sensors function differently, so always understand the function that you wish to install. Installing something that you don’t need is certainly a waste of money.