How Long Does a Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) Last?

The coolant temperature switch (CTS) provides you with alerts when the engine temperature is rising or when it is overheating. It is also called the coolant temperature sensor, and it is an important part of keeping you safe and your vehicle running well.

Coolant from inside the cylinder heads and engine block absorbs heat from the cylinders while your vehicle is running. The CTS detects these changes in temperatures and alerts the powertrain control module (PCM). The message the sensor sends to the PCM affects the overall operation of the engine because much of the fuel, emissions, ignition, and drivetrain functions are handled by the PCM. Therefore, these functions are affected by the operating temperature of the engine.

If the PCM gets a cold reading from the CTS, the injector pulse width is increased to create a richer fuel mixture. This prevents hesitation while the engine is warming up. Once the engine is warm, the PCM reduces the mixture to make it leaner. The PCM cycles the cooling fan on and off to make sure the engine stays cool and to prevent it from overheating. The PCM cycles this by using information from the coolant temperature sensor.

The coolant temperature switch can go bad over time, whether it is due to wear and tear, or an electrical issue. At some point, your coolant temperature switch may need to be replaced by a professional mechanic.

Since the CTS can go bad, you should be aware of the symptoms it gives off before it completely fails.

Signs your coolant temperature switch needs to be replaced include:

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe
  • Trouble starting your vehicle even after reaching normal operating temperature
  • Your vehicle fails an emissions test
  • You vehicle is constantly overheating
  • The temperature sensor is not consistent and behaves erratically
  • Check Engine Light comes on
  • Engine stalls or has a rough idle

The CTS is an important part of your vehicle, because without it, your engine will run poorly and overheat on a regular basis. Eventually, if left as is, the engine will go bad and the vehicle will become inoperable.


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Recent Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) Replacement reviews

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Augustine

12 years of experience
89 reviews
Augustine
12 years of experience
Pontiac Grand Prix - Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
He arrived early for the appointment. He was friendly yet professional. He completed the repair, provided the replaced part and advised about future services needed. This was the first time I have used YourMechanic and I will more than likely used it again. I liked the convenience of the home service.
Pontiac Sunfire - Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Augustine is very personal. My appointment was at 1pm but he didn't mind coming early. I will definitely be using this your mechanic.com and ask for him.

William

26 years of experience
65 reviews
William
26 years of experience
Chevrolet Malibu - Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) - Georgetown, Texas
I was very impressed with the knowledge and professionalism. William arrived promptly and started to resolve the issues with my vehicle. I would recommend William to family and friends.

Miguel

21 years of experience
154 reviews
Miguel
21 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) - East Orange, New Jersey
Mr. Miguel is an excellent mechanic and I would recommend him for any services, in fact I want him for any services on all (4) vehicles.

Collins

12 years of experience
294 reviews
Collins
12 years of experience
Buick LeSabre - Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) - Atlanta, Georgia
Collins was very knowledgeable about the service and patient with my questions He also found other problems and explained so that I could understand. I will use him for these fixes too. Clean, professional personality. He was also on-time showing up a little early which was good for my anxiety when its starts getting close to appointment time. Today is only day one after my service and I took one small trip later on late afternoon and it was a good trip.

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