A coolant temperature sensor is especially important for the optimal performance of your vehicle. While you drive your vehicle, the engine goes through continuous combustion. This can make it very hot during the drive, especially during daytime driving. To keep the engine cool, there is always a mechanism used in vehicles to keep them cool, usually by passing different fluids and liquids through the engine.
You may already know that overheating can affect the performance of your engine and too much heating can eventually make the engine seize or break down. To keep things cool, the water in the radiator is passed through the pipes to maintain the temperature. The engine oils are also specially designed to ensure the minimum heat production while your engine runs. This is why it is important to regularly check and fill the water in the radiator through the opening situated under the hood of your vehicle.
Like every other component, the ECT sensor can also get damaged, resulting in a number of engine-related problems. Hence, it is advised to have your car inspected right away to avoid any serious problems. Here are some of the common symptoms you might face if the ECT gets damaged or becomes faulty. Common symptoms of a bad engine coolant sensor are overheating, difficult starting conditions, poor idle, check engine light ON and electric fans not working properly. A faulty ECT sensor can send a false signal to the onboard computer, resulting in an incorrect air-fuel mixture.
For example, a faulty sensor can send a signal indicating the engine is cold when it is not and as a result, more fuel will be used to heat up the engine quickly. One of the first symptoms you will notice is that the check engine light will activate. Due to an incorrect temperature signal, the ECU may enrich the fuel mixture to a point where the combustion process becomes difficult.
The excessive fuel will burn in the exhaust pipe and will produce thick black smoke. This fan is electrically controlled and relies on the signal from the onboard computer. If the fan receives a false signal, the fan might not turn on, causing the engine to overheat. Some vehicles have a separate coolant temperature sensor for the fan, but a lot of cars use the same sensor.
Due to a faulty ECT sensor, the fuel mixture will adjust accordingly. This will cause the engine to vibrate or shake when the car is at low speed and lead to other power losses and strange behaviours.
Coolant temperature sensors are also known as engine coolant temperature sensors or ECT sensors. The principle working of this sensor involves the use of an electrical resistance which measures the temperature of the coolant. These measurements produce essential data for the engine system of your vehicle. The readings produced from the coolant temperature sensor are transmitted to the engine control unitwhere they are utilized as data for regulating and maintaining the proper ignition time and the optimal fuel injection through the computerized approach.
It is usually placed on the right side of your vehicle adjacent to the radiator. The heat produced as energy waste due to fuel burning is regulated by the coolant that we use in our vehicle. The coolant temperature sensor plays an important role in monitoring the performance of the coolant and takes measurements of the temperature.
It can help the control unit in your engine system to detect when the coolant is not functioning well and your vehicle is overheating. Hence, the coolant temperature sensor carries out its primary function of alerting the engine system when the temperatures are beyond the standard limits, which may damage your vehicle. The ECT sensor is usually located somewhere near the engine thermostat.
The sensor measures the temperature provided by the thermostat as well as the coolant itself. The recorded temperature is then sent to the ECU which then adjusts the engine functions accordingly.Skip to main content.
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Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor Symptoms & Replacement Cost
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How to Test a Chevrolet Coolant Temperature Sensor
Today's Deals. StockWise Auto. Auto Accessory Depot.The coolant temperature sensor on a Chevrolet engine is used by the vehicle's computer to determine how hot or cold the coolant flowing through the engine block is at any given time, so that the computer knows how to properly run the engine. It's difficult to know if the sensor is broken just from normal operation of the vehicle; to find out, you have to test the sensor itself. In this case, the project vehicle is a Chevrolet Silverado, but the process is similar for other Chevrolet vehicles as well.
Allow the vehicle to cool completely. Lift up the front end using the jack, and set the frame down onto a pair of jack stands.
Locate the coolant temperature sensor on the driver's side of the engine block, just behind the power steering pump. Unplug the electrical connection to the switch with your hands, revealing two posts on the sensor. Set the multimeter to the Ohm symbol for resistance. Hold the black lead from the multimeter on one post of the switch and the red lead on the other. Note the number on the multimeter, then remove the connections from the sensor.
Turn on the engine and allow it to run for 5 minutes, or until the temperature starts to go up. Test the sensor again with the multimeter.
If the number on the multimeter is lower than the reading you got in Step 2, the sensor is working correctly. If not, it needs to be replaced.
This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Works, contact us. Step 1 Allow the vehicle to cool completely.
Step 2 Locate the coolant temperature sensor on the driver's side of the engine block, just behind the power steering pump. Items you will need Jack Jack stands Multimeter. About the Author This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.This dictates the dynamics of how the engine will work. Prior to such sensors, choke was the mechanism that did it.
Now, with these temperature sensors, the process is more automated, and the engine runs smoothly without freezing off in the winter and overheating in the summer. But, why would you need to text it? Simply because it can malfunction sometimes.
If the coolant temperature sensor malfunctions or dies, you could face problems like stalling, increased fuel emission, disrupted ignition timing, rough transmission, etc. This blogs instructs you on how to. Here is another of our maintenance tips that help you maintain your car better. There are 4 simple and easy steps that you need to follow.
It is situated under the hood on the engine block. Just open the latch of the hood and hold it open. Use a drop light if you need better vision into the engine block.
Peep in the middle of the pulleys at the front of the block. A small terminal coming out of the block itself will become visible. You will see a wire lead coming out of the terminal. Simply take a digital volt-ohm meter. Testing it with this meter is the surest way to tell if the sensor is fine or faulty. Remember, connecting the right way is important. In fact, if you have a good understanding of the terminals, you can even jumpstart a car with a dead battery. Here is how you must connect the meter to the sensor.
Take the black lead of the meter and touch it to any solid metal. Now, take the red lead and connect it to the terminal end of the coolant temperature sensor. Set the reading on the digital meter to 20k range. You will now need to turn on the engine and let it run for at least two minutes to allow it to gain the running temperature. You will have to read the meter all this time while the engine is running. Pay attention to what you should be seeing on the digital meter.
As the engine runs, you must see variations more than ohms variations between cold and warm engine. If you see that the difference is not more thanyou are dealing with a faulty coolant temperature sensor. If you are checking a brand new sensor, you need to follow this. Attach the black lead of the volt-ohm meter to the body of the cold sensor this is before turning the engine on. The reading should be ohm approx. If the reading is not way lower than ohm, you have a broke coolant temperature sensor.
In case you find it to be faulty, you must replace it at the soonest. If not, it can cause quite a few problems some of which we mentioned right at the start of this blog. Tsukasa Azuma is an awesome car blogger of Car From Japan. He owns a car repair shop at downtown Osaka, and he put all that experience to good use in his sharing posts. Car Transmission Types and Their Functions. Login with Google. Likes Followers Followers. Import used cars directly from Japan.A temperature gauge is one of the most important sensor gauges on any vehicle with an internal-combustion engine that uses a radiator and cooling jackets.
Engine temperature directly affects combustion and moving internal parts. Without a temperature gauge, the engine would be subject to various modes of heat without the operator's knowledge, and this could lead to bearing failure and engine seizure.
A vehicle owner can wire a temperature gauge in his or her vehicle in a driveway or garage. Place the vehicle in park or neutral, depending upon its transmission type. Set the emergency brake. Raise the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket.
Refer to your owner's manual for the location of your existing temperature sensor wire. Some are connected to the top of the thermostat housing, attached to a sensor probe. Other wires can be found in the side of the engine block, where the sensor probe screws into a mounting flange.
Remember the location. Search for a location on your dashboard for the gauge. Make sure no components exist behind the mounting location.
Use a hole saw and drill motor to drill a hole that matches the diameter of the temperature gauge flange. Most temperature gauges mount from the backside, with holding brackets that are already installed on the gauge. Fit the gauge in the hole to size it, then remove it. Detach the small gauge bracket with a socket if it doesn't fit initially. Measure out a length of gauge wire and run the end of the wire through a grommet on the firewall underneath the dashboard.
Pull the wire through from the engine compartment. Route the wire until you reach the sensor position. Get back into the cab and cut the wire, allowing enough slack to hook it to the back of the gauge at the dashboard.You may not know—but hopefully, your vehicle coolant temperature sensor does.
On most vehicles, the coolant temperature sensor CTS can be found somewhere near the engine thermostat, which allows it to function optimally. The tip of the CTS is probably located right next to the engine coolant.
The temperature is then sent to the on-board control system. As the control system receives the temperature from the CTS, it may trigger the cooling fan to either shut off or turn on. Additionally, it may signal the need for a richer fuel mixture or open the exhaust gas recirculation. As with any other component in your car, the sensor can go bad over time and fall into disrepair.
This can cause a range of problems, including overheating the engine. If you know where the engine sensor is and what it looks like, you can conduct a visual inspection to see if it has developed any cracks or fissures. Generally speaking, if your sensor is not working, it will send a signal to the computer and your Check Engine light will be illuminated. If you see the Check Engine sign light up, take your car in for professional servicing right away.
The sensor will eventually need to be replaced altogether after time. Even general wear and tear can cause the sensor to erode over time. You can always have your CTS replaced by an auto care professional.
Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT)
This aspect of preventative maintenance can certainly save you some headaches and hassle in the long run. Skip to Main Content. Ask an Expert. You May Also Like. News and Commentary. Vehicle Maintenance Tips. August 2 Dan Ferrell writes about do-it-yourself car maintenance and repair. He has certifications in automation and control technology.
Most coolant temperature sensors resemble a large nut with an electrical connector on top. Photo courtesy of l0lnix on Flickr. The engine coolant temperature ECT sensor test is simple and can help you fix your car faster.
You can do it at home using a digital multimeter and a cooking thermometer. A bad engine coolant temperature sensor affects engine performance:. But before you blame the coolant temperature sensor for your engine problems, though, use this guide to test the sensor to confirm that you actually need to replace it.
The test only takes a few minutes. If you still have trouble locating the ECT sensor, consult your vehicle service manual. You can buy a service manual for your particular car make and model in most auto parts stores or online. Check the Amazon ad below. Use a digital multimeter to test your coolant temperature sensor.
Now that you've located the ECT sensor on your vehicle, you're ready to troubleshoot it.
How Coolant Temperature Sensors Work
Get the engine surface temperature using an infrared thermometer or suitable cooking thermometer. Take the engine temperature on a location near the coolant temperature sensor.
Okay, at this point you may be wondering why you need to take the engine temperature to troubleshoot the sensor. The main reason is that you are trying to check two common, potential failures here, the ECT sensor and the thermostat. Let's say that the thermostat on your vehicle got stuck in the open position. This will not allow the engine to reach operating temperature because the coolant is flowing continuously. If you were to test the coolant temperature sensor alone, you may think that it failed because its resistance value has remained at about or ohms, for example, when in fact the sensor is reporting the coolant actual temperature and it's working properly.
You could relay on the temperature gauge on your dashboard. However, on some vehicle models this gauge works through the ECT sensor as well. So, if the sensor doesn't work properly, your temperature gauge won't be of much help either. By using the thermometer, it won't take you long to figure out that the thermostat isn't working.
You'll notice the engine's temperature is not rising above 85 or 90 degrees, for example. On the other hand, if the thermostat works fine, the engine temperature will reach about F 93C and will drop afterwards as the thermostat opens. So you eliminate the thermostat as another possible failure. Now, using your ohmmeter, measure the resistance value of the coolant temperature sensor by hooking up one of the meter's leads to one of the terminals on the sensor electrical connector, and the other lead to the other terminal on the sensor electrical connector.
On vehicles with old, single-wire sensors, hook up the meter leads to the terminal on the connector and the sensor's body ground to take your reading. Check your vehicle service manual for the correct resistance value for your ECT sensor. However, not all service manuals have this information.