How to install parking sensors or a parking assistance system on your car
#obdelevenHow to install parking sensors or a parking assistance system on your car

While some form of a parking system, whether it would be the classic beeping parking sensors or a rear-view camera, has become a household item across vehicle fleets worldwide, some of the older cars might have not had either of the two systems in place. Even if a rear-view camera has been mandatory in the United States (US) and Canada since May 2018, while in the European Union (EU), the package of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), which will become mandatory on all new models in 2022, and new vehicles from 2024, includes a reversing detection device (REV). Still, installing aftermarket or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parking sensors is not that difficult of a process and will improve your ability to park your car and the safety of pedestrians walking on the roads.

Every car, including Volkswagen Group’s (VAG) brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, Seat, and others, can be equipped with such systems even if they came out of the factory without any parking sensors. With the help of OBDeleven’s feature to easily adapt retrofitted parts, the process will be even smoother and does not require extensive knowledge of car maintenance.

1. Purchase the parking system control module (either four or eight sensors) and other parts

The first step to installing parking sensors on your car is to purchase the sensors (four or eight, depending on if you want them in the back and the front, or only in the rear), a wiring harness, a buzzer, a park control button, and a cutting tool for parking sensors from the manufacturer.

The cutting tool, while often overlooked, is an important part of the installation, as it will prevent your bumper‘s paint from being damaged unnecessarily. Another item to note is the wiring harness, as you have to make sure that it fits your model – if the harness is too short, you will have a problem connecting the sensors to their control module.

2. Disassemble the interior parts for the control module and the wiring harness to be installed

Firstly, make sure that you have enough space to work comfortably and move or drop down the seats, as well as move them either forwards or backward to give you enough room to maneuver the parking sensors’ harness comfortably. 

By using the trim remover tool, remove the interior parts alongside the left side of the dashboard, including the front left vent to be able to place the control module inside the dashboard rather than it hanging somewhere. Remove the interior parts alongside the driver’s side doors for the wiring to reach the sensors that will be placed on the rear bumper or the front bumper, depending on the location of where you will install your control module.

Remove the rear bumper and the taillights to prepare for the installation of the parking sensors themselves, as you will have to open up holes in your bumper to fit them.

3. Install the parking assistance system control units and parts

While on a Volkswagen Beetle, on which the tutorial was based, the parking sensor control module is installed in the front of the car, the location of the module can differ between brands and various models. So, before you install the sensors, make sure you have the right location for the module for the assistance system to work accordingly. 

Also, do not forget to place the Buzzer somewhere inside the vehicle. The location of the Buzzer is not fixated and you can place it either in the front or the back areas of the car, as it all comes down to personal preference. Nevertheless, we do recommend placing it at the back to avoid the excessive beeping noise distracting you while you park your car.

4. Route the wires and prepare the bumper for the installation of the sensors

Route the wires alongside the driver’s side from the control module to the rear, and prepare the bumper to fit the parking sensors. If you are also installing the sensors on the front bumper, repeat the same steps that were outlined above and lead the wires to the front of the car as well.

Preparing the bumpers for the installation of the parking sensors is a straightforward process, however, there is a caveat. When drilling the bumper to open the holes, do not drill straight through the bumper, as it will damage the paint on it, and could even crack the bumper itself. You must soften up the bumper with a drill, per se, and then use a cutting tool for parking sensors, preferably an OEM one, to open up the holes without damaging the bumper itself.

Subsequently, install the parking sensors with their brackets in their respective places and connect the wiring to both the sensors and the control module, as well as the Buzzer. Re-attach your bumper(s) and install a park button in your dashboard that will allow you to either turn on or off the parking sensors once you press it.

5. Program the parking assistance system into the vehicle’s control units using OBDeleven

Once you have installed all of the physical connections and wires to the vehicle, you will now have to program the parking sensors to work with your car. You can either bring your car to a workshop to do it for you or with the help of the OBDeleven device, do it automatically and with only a few touches on your smartphone.

Start off by plugging the OBDeleven device into your vehicle’s OBD-II port and connecting it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Once you pair the device with your phone, on the OBDeleven application do the following steps:

1. Click on the Control Units icon, which is shown in blue color on the main screen;

2. Click on the Gateway List Coding icon found in the top-right corner;

3. Select Gateway;

4. Choose Parking Assistance and tap Code;

5. And that‘s it! Check whether the system is working correctly by either putting the car in reverse or by clicking on the park button that you just installed on the dashboard.

While this tutorial was based upon a Volkswagen Beetle, the principle should be the same for all Volkswagen Group (VAG) cars, including vehicles from Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, and Seat, as the OBDeleven device supports all of the named brands as an officially licensed third-party tool, allowing for easy integration and customization of your car. If you own a car from other manufacturers, the basic rules should also apply but be mindful of any differences that could hinder a successful installation of parking sensors on your vehicle.

If you need additional clarification on any of the steps that were outlined above, you can check out our video tutorial that can be found here: