Ever notice how you start to slow down when summer temperatures start to peak? You probably start looking for a little shade and a glass of ice-cold lemonade to get back to normal. Well your car goes through a similar process. When the engine gets warmed up, the Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS) sends a message to your engine control computer to control things like: fuel injection, ignition timing, variable valve timing, and transmission shifting, just to name a few. The engine is no longer cold, so it needs different timing and a different mix of fuel to run smoothly.
Over time, coolant temperature sensors deteriorate and don’t provide the same level of accurate readings as well as a new one. Replacing the CTS is one of the most common vehicle repairs performed. It’s also relatively simple and inexpensive to do. If you notice your car is getting poor fuel economy, you have difficulty starting it, or black smoke is produced from the exhaust pipe, then you may have a bad sensor. The check engine light might also indicate a faulty sensor. Corrosion within the cooling system is typically what causes the sensor to fail, so if you think your sensor is bad, bring it into NAPA AutoCare for a diagnosis.
We’ll be able to determine if replacing the coolant temperature sensor is what your car needs. One of our certified mechanics will also be able to check your cooling system to make sure it isn’t in need of repair. If you’re having an engine rebuilt or having an engine replaced, it’s recommended to replace the CTS as well to avoid any problems with the way the engine performs.
Replacing a CTS may not be a huge job, but it will make a big difference in your fuel economy and in the long run will help you avoid costly repairs.