What does the air temperature sensor do?IAT Sensor Repairs Hamilton NZ

Air is essential to the operation of your car’s engine. Inside the engine, it is mixed with fuel and ignited. This provides your engine with the necessary power to operate. The intake air temperature sensor (or IAT sensor) monitors the temperature of air entering your engine and helps to create an optimum ratio of air and fuel inside your car’s engine. This improves your engine’s running condition, performance and fuel economy.

The air temperature sensor is a thermistor, which means that its electrical resistance changes in relation to air temperature. The electrical signal is sent to your car’s onboard computer, which uses the information to determine air density and alter fuel injection accordingly. Cold air is denser than hot air, meaning that more fuel needs to be injected into the engine to create an ideal air/fuel ratio.

Problems with the air temperature sensor can affect the levels of air and fuel in your car’s engine. This can affect your engine’s performance by hindering its ability to correctly burn fuel.

Learn more about how the intake air temperature sensor works >


Symptoms of a faulty intake air temperature sensor:

  • Check engine light is on – If the air temperature sensor fails or the wiring to air temperature sensor fails then this will most often make the Check Engine Light turn on your dash board. Also any significant changes in your engine’s air/fuel ratio will trigger the check engine light on your car’s dashboard. Plugging a scan tool into your car will allow you to learn more information about the fault, such as whether the air/fuel mixture is too lean or rich.
    Engine light diagnostics in Hamilton 
  • Increased misfires  A misfire occurs when your engine doesn’t burn fuel properly, resulting in increased exhaust emissions. An incorrect air/fuel ratio will increase how often misfires occur.
  • Engine performance issues – A faulty intake air temperature sensor can lead to a disruption in the air-to-fuel ratio, resulting in engine performance problems. You may experience rough idling, poor acceleration, or a noticeable decrease in overall engine power.
  • Increased fuel consumption – Since the IAT sensor helps the ECU determine the appropriate fuel mixture for combustion, a malfunctioning sensor can lead to an incorrect mixture. This can result in decreased fuel efficiency, causing more frequent visits to the gas station.
  • Rough idle – A faulty air temperature sensor will also cause your engine to idle roughly. This means it will idle loudly, with vibrations, shaking and inconsistent RPM.
  • Engine issues in high/low temperatures and extreme weather conditions – In extreme weather conditions, a faulty IAT sensor may fail to provide accurate temperature data to the ECU. This can cause the engine to run too rich (in cold conditions) or too lean (in hot conditions), leading to performance issues and potential engine damage.


Intake air temperature sensor location

The exact location of the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. However, in most vehicles, the IAT sensor is located somewhere along the intake manifold or air intake system.

Most vehicles have the sensor on the air intake tube. However some vehicles will have it attached directly to the intake manifold.

For vehicle-specific information,we recommend consulting your car’s manual.


Air Temperature Sensor Diagnostics & Replacement in Hamilton

Is your car in need of a new air temperature sensor? If so, we can help! At Grimmer Motors, our team of experienced mechanics can diagnose incorrect air/fuel ratios in your engine, replacing parts such as the air temperature sensor if necessary. This will allow for improved engine performance and increased fuel economy.

For air temperature sensor services and replacement in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!

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