Your vehicle has many sensors that are designed to tell you if something is wrong with it. However, you may be wondering how you can tell if something is wrong with those sensors. Here are some tips to determine if you have a bad temperature coolant sensor.
Know What The Coolant Temperature Sensor Does
It's important to know what exactly the coolant temperature sensor does, even though it may seem obvious by its name. It has the job of reading the temperature of the coolant that is circulating through your vehicle's engine. This is important because resistance changes in the engine when the temperature of the coolant changes. The powertrain control module gets the reading of the coolant temperature, and changes the temperature on the fly so your vehicle runs efficiently.
Look For A 'Service Engine Soon' Light
The coolant temperature sensor is one part that may identify a problem with it by triggering the service engine light. You can have the error code read by an auto part store or mechanic to narrow down the problem to your coolant temperature sensor. For example, you may get the error code P0115, which specifically calls out a problem with the sensor.
Pay Attention To Engine Overheating
If the coolant temperature sensor is bad, then the cooling fans may not turn on to lower the temperature of the coolant when necessary. The powertrain control module will think that the coolant temperature is cooler than it actually is due to the faulty sensor, which will lead to the engine overheating.
Track Your Gas Mileage
It is worth tracking your vehicle's gas mileage to see if you are getting fewer miles per gallon than normal. This is because the powertrain control module is going to think that the coolant is cooler than it actually is, and is going to send more fuel to the engine to compensate to create the proper air-to-fuel ratio for the combustion process.
Look At Your Exhaust Smoke
Anytime there is unburned fuel going through your engine, it is going to result in black smoke coming out of your exhaust. Black smoke is definitely not normal to see, and it's a key sign that something is wrong with your engine that should be further investigated.
Not sure if your coolant temperature sensor is the part that is causing your vehicle problems? Look into auto repair services and have your car inspected by a local mechanic to find out more about what's wrong.