The temperature of your vehicle’s engine must be maintained at a specific level. If this is interrupted by a faulty coolant temperature sensor, the engine will overheat, resulting in severe engine damage.
The car computer will alter the engine performance setting if it gets a signal that the coolant temperature is over the usual operating temperature to prevent the engine from overheating and inflicting catastrophic damage.The coolant temp sensor is one of the car engine management systems that measure the temperature of the radiator coolant. The coolant temp sensor monitors the coolant temperature with the help of an electrical circuit. The sensor sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer, telling it to modify the fuel calculation and engine timing for optimal performance.
Because it plays such a vital role in engine timing and calculation for best performance, a faulty coolant temperature sensor may quickly degrade your engine’s performance. In this post, we’ll go over how to tell whether your coolant temp sensor is malfunctioning, the signs and symptoms of a bad coolant temp sensor and how to fix it.
The Signs and Symptoms of a Faulty Coolant Temperature Sensor
When the coolant temperature sensor, like every other mechanical component in your car malfunctions, it causes symptoms that warn the driver. Look for the following symptoms before a coolant temp sensor failure evolves into a more significant transmission or engine repair:
Inconsistent Temperature Readings
If your temperature gauge exhibits temperature swings or stays lower or higher than expected while the engine is running, it might indicate a defective or malfunctioning coolant temp sensor. Keep in mind that, in addition to a faulty coolant temp sensor, a variety of additional causes, such as cylinder head leaks, low coolant levels, a failing radiator fan, and a broken pressure cap, can produce irregular or fluctuating temperatures.
While a failed or faulty temp sensor would obviously result in cold reading, in certain cases the coolant temp sensor may malfunction and provide a hot signal even while the engine is operating at normal operating temperatures. When this happens, the computer in your car will think the vehicle is hot when it isn’t. As a result, your car will slow down and a dashboard warning light will appear. Look for a full car service near me garage to fix this problem as soon as possible to avoid total engine failure.
Black Smoke from the Exhaust Tailpipe
A malfunctioning coolant temp sensor is frequently indicated by black smoke from the exhaust tailpipe. A faulty coolant temperature sensor will provide a chilly signal to the car’s computer, deceiving it and causing it to over-enrich the air/fuel combination ratio. If the air-fuel mixture becomes excessively rich, the exhaust tailpipe will produce black smoke, preventing the fuel from being adequately burned during the combustion process. Smoke may get so dense in extreme conditions that driving a car is difficult.
Is a rough idle caused by a malfunctioning coolant temperature sensor? Because of the erroneous signal sent to the car computer, the air-fuel combination will be changed. The mixture given will be inadequate, resulting in vibrations and shaking at idle and low speeds, as well as other strange behaviour and engine power loss.
Check Engine/Engine Management Light Illuminates
An illuminated check engine light signals a potential problem with internal engine components or a faulty electrical system. A variety of factors might cause the engine warning light to illuminate. When the light is on, you’ll need a scan tool to quickly analyse the vehicle. The diagnostic tool will read and translate the trouble codes in alphanumeric order.
Poor Fuel Economy
One of the most common indications of a malfunctioning coolant temperature sensor is poor fuel efficiency. A malfunctioning coolant temperature sensor will give the car’s computer an incorrect reading, causing problems with fuelling and timing calculations. A faulty temperature sensor will provide a chilly signal to the computer on a regular basis, leading the computer to assume the automobile is always cold, even though it is running hot. Fuel efficiency and engine performance decrease as a result.
Coolant Temperature Sensor Issues and How to Fix Them
You may feel that the best solution to this problem is to replace the sensor. However, in rare situations, the sensor may not need to be changed. As a result, understanding how to use a diagnostic machine, an oscilloscope or a digital multi-meter to examine coolant temperature sensors is crucial. A low coolant level, for example, may cause the coolant temp sensor to give false readings. If this is the case, you may fix the problem by topping up your coolant to the correct amount.
Working beneath the bonnet may be filthy, especially if you’re cleaning an area that hasn’t been cleaned in a while. So, a mechanic glove, goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt are required. Keeping your mechanic equipment organised and in good working order will help you do the task faster. Anyone who is familiar with the “under the bonnet” components may replace a temperature sensor with ease.
- Step 1 – Locate the Temperature Sensor – The temperature sensor is generally located near the radiator or in the thermostat box. With certain cars, the temperature sensor is located in the back of the engine, necessitating the use of a touch light to detect it. The upper radiator hose is connected to the thermostat housing; follow the upper radiator hose to the thermostat housing and search for the CTS.
- Step 2 – Remove the Electrical Connectors – The temp sensor is connected to the automobile computer through an electrical link. Because the connection is delicate and can break, it must be carefully disconnected. Always inspect electrical connectors for corrosion and clean them if you find any.
- Step 3 – Remove the Coolant Temperature Sensor Using A Long Socket and Ratchet Handle – Coolant temperature sensors are usually installed like a spark plug, so you’ll need a long socket and ratchet handle to remove them. Don’t apply too much pressure on the sensor if it refuses to break free. It’ll be much simpler to slack with a spray of break-free solvent. Remember to take off the radiator cover before removing the sensor. After the CTS has gotten loose, unscrew it by hand. Make sure you replenish the antifreeze since it will leak from this location.
- Step 4 – Replace with A New Sensor – Before installing the new one, compare the two sensors side by side. This is usually necessary if you purchase an aftermarket component. Using a towel, remove the debris from the old sensor from the CTS housing. Hand-thread the new CTS into place in the housing. After you’ve installed the sensor and double-checked that it didn’t miss any threads, tighten it using a torque wrench to the manufacturer’s recommended range.
- Step 5 – Reattach the Electrical Connectors – After tightening the sensor, you must reinstall the electrical connector. Before attaching it to the CTS, inspect the electrical connections for rust. Check for a good fit by replacing any fasteners on the sensor. Refill the coolant and replace the pressure cap on the radiator. Start the engine and check the temperature gauge to verify whether it is correct.
- Step 6 – Take the car for a test drive to see if all of your hard work has finally paid off. Once you’ve returned from the test drive, check the coolant level to see whether it’s dropped and if it has, refill it. If everything went nicely, pat yourself on the back.
The temperature of your vehicle’s engine must be maintained at a specific level. If this is interrupted, the engine will overheat, resulting in severe engine damage. Car manufacturers use antifreeze in the radiator to keep the engine cool and prevent it from overheating. The coolant must be checked to ensure that the vehicle engine works at an average operating temperature at all times. As a result, a temperature sensor for the coolant is necessary (CTS).
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Failure of the coolant temp sensor can result in specific engine problems, such as a blown head gasket or, in the worst-case scenario, damage to the aluminium engine block. As a result, you should always be on the lookout for indications of a faulty coolant temp sensor and either fix it yourself or get it replaced by your technician.