Signs Your Coolant Temperature Sensor Is Going Bad

One of the sensors that manage your car's engine is the coolant temperature sensor. It is designed specifically to monitor the coolant temperature, sending that information to the engine's computer, so that timing and fuel can be dispensed in a manner that optimizes the performance of the vehicle.

The coolant temperature sensor also protects the vehicle from overheating by triggering a warning on the dash. A failing or damaged coolant temperature sensor can result in engine performance issues, which is why it is essential to be aware of the signs that it is going bad.

1. Lower Fuel Economy 

If you keep close track of your vehicle's fuel economy, you are going to notice when your fuel economy changes. When the sensor isn't sending the correct information to the computer, the timing and release of fuel to the engine can get thrown off, resulting in the wrong amount of fuel being released. If the sensor is reading cold, more fuel will be released than is needed, resulting in an overall reduction in fuel economy.

2. Black Exhaust

Pay attention to the color of your exhaust smoke. If your exhaust smoke is turning black instead of being a white or gray color, the coolant temperature sensor is more than likely to blame. When it sends a cold signal to the computer, the fuel mixture can become too rich, resulting in fuel-burning up in the combustion chamber and exhaust pipes instead of inside your engine. This can result in black smoke coming out of your exhaust.  

3. Check Engine Light

As the coolant temperature sensor is part of the engine system, your check engine light should turn on when it starts to malfunction. Whenever an issue is detected with the sensor's circuit, the check engine light should come on.

When you see the check engine light, you will want to go to your mechanic and have them run an OBD2 scanner. This will give them the code that lets you know the coolant temperature sensor is not working properly.

4. Difficulty Starting 

When the coolant temperature sensor is not working correctly, you may have a hard time starting your vehicle. If the air-fuel mixture is not right, your engine may not start up. If you have to turn the engine key a few times to get it started, it is time to get your engine checked out.

5. Vibrating at Low Speeds

You may notice that your vehicle is vibrating when it is running at low speeds. You may feel the vehicle shake slightly when you are driving at a low speed, or you may notice a little power loss and other little things that seem wrong. In this instance, it is necessary to take it in for repairs.

If your vehicle has lower fuel economy, is releasing black exhaust, has an illuminated check engine light, is challenging to start, or is vibrating at low speeds, you may have an issue with the coolant temperature sensor. Get your vehicle to your mechanic right away. Ignoring this issue can result in damage to your engine. To learn more, contact a company like Tony's Auto Air.