3 Things to Know About Engine Coolant Temperature Sensors

If your car's check engine light just came on and if your car has been overheating lately, there is a good chance that the engine coolant temperature sensor is bad and needs to be replaced. This is a relatively inexpensive part, but it is also a very important part. Here are three things you should know about your car's engine coolant temperature sensor.

What is this part for?

An engine coolant temperature sensor is the part in your car that controls and regulates the temperature inside the coolant found in your engine. An engine will naturally get very hot while it is running, and this is why a car contains coolant. The coolant helps eliminate the heat from the engine as a way of keeping it cool. The sensor is designed to help these parts work together to protect the engine in the car. Most sensors work by measuring how hot or cold the coolant is.

What problems can happen if it goes bad?

Not only can a bad sensor cause your car to overheat, but several other issues can happen as well. One problem this can lead to is poor fuel economy. When the sensor is working right, it tells the engine how much gas to use. When the engine is cold, it will use more gas. When the engine is hot, it uses less. Because a bad sensor cannot tell the temperature, your car is likely to use more gas than it needs to.

The other main issue you may experience is seeing black smoke coming out of the exhaust on the car. This also occurs when a car is using more fuel than what is actually needed.

How much does it cost to replace?

The good news about these sensors is that they are not expensive. The part itself will only cost between $31 to $42 in most cases. To hire a car repair shop to put it in for you, it will cost between $88 to $111. If you are able to replace the part yourself, you would be able to save the costs of labor. While replacing the part is not super hard, it can be hard for someone who does not know a lot about car parts.

When the check engine light comes on in your car, you should have the car checked by a car repair shop, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms too. For more information, contact a business such as Dualtone Muffler Brake & Alignment.