How to Replace an Intake Air Temperature Sensor

The intake air temperature (IAT) sensor, otherwise known as the air charge temperature sensor, is used by the powertrain control module (PCM) to determine the temperature (and therefore the density) of air entering the engine. Typically, the PCM sends a 5-volt reference to the IAT sensor. The IAT sensor then varies its internal resistance according to air temperature and sends a return signal back to the PCM. The PCM then uses this formation to determine fuel injector control and other outputs.

A bad IAT sensor can cause all kinds of drivability problems including a rough idle, surging, stalling, and poor fuel economy. To replace this part, you can follow the step-by-step guide below.

Part 1 of 2: Removing the old intake air temperature sensor

In order to safely and efficiently replace your IAT sensor, you will need a couple of basic tools.

Materials Needed

replacing an intake air temperature sensor diagram

Step 1: Locate the sensor. The IAT sensor is usually located in the air intake boot, but it may also be located in the air cleaner housing or intake manifold.

hand disconnecting the negative battery cable

Step 2: Disconnect the negative battery cable. Disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside.

hand removing the electrical connector

Step 3: Remove the sensor’s electrical connector. Now that you know where the IAT sensor is located, you can remove its electrical connector.

had removing the sensor

Step 4: Remove the sensor. Carefully remove the faulty sensor, keeping in mind that some sensors simply pull straight out while others must be unscrewed using a wrench.

Part 2 of 2: Installing the new intake air temperature sensor

hand installing the new sensor

Step 1: Install the new sensor. Install the new sensor by pushing it straight in or screwing it in, depending on the design.

Step 2: Reinstall the electrical connector. To enable the new sensor, you must now reconnect the electrical connector.

Step 3: Reinstall the negative battery cable. As a final step, reinstall the negative battery cable.

As you can see, replacing an intake air temperature sensor is a pretty straightforward process that most can manage with very few materials. Of course, if you’d rather have someone else do the dirty work for you, the team of certified mechanics at YourMechanic offers professional intake air temperature sensor replacement.


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Joseph

20 years of experience
579 reviews
Joseph
20 years of experience
Honda Element L4-2.4L - Spark Plugs - Salt Lake City, Utah
Rapid accurate service. Car runs great now. I asked about additional actions to fix problem. Joseph didn't sell me a bunch of additional un-needed service. Said to see how initial work did first then call again if needed. Original work totally fixed the problem.
Chevrolet Malibu - Car is not starting - West Jordan, Utah
professional and knowledgable

Jose

15 years of experience
213 reviews
Jose
15 years of experience
Kia Rio L4-1.6L - Air Charge Temperature Sensor - Suwanee, Georgia
Good experience. Would/will use again.

Nicholas

10 years of experience
5 reviews
Nicholas
10 years of experience
Chrysler 200 L4-2.4L - Air Charge Temperature Sensor - Portsmouth, Virginia
Very respectfull and efficiant in his work.

Robert

7 years of experience
20 reviews
Robert
7 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz CLS550 V8-5.5L - Air Charge Temperature Sensor - Los Angeles, California
In a word, as a mechanic and representative of the Yourmechanic service, Robert is OUTSTANDING. He arrived on time for our appointment and got to work immediately on installing a replacement coolant fan for my Mercedes CLS 550. When I described another problem I’ve been having that I thought might be related, he agreed to add another repair to my quote on the spot. Luckily, I already had the part, and Robert kindly agreed to install it after the first job was complete. Bottom line, my overheating problem has been fixed and I now have heat in the cabin for those cold mornings. Very happy with the labor I was charged for as well. Perfect experience. Yourmechanic should be proud to employ such a knowledgeable and professional mechanic.

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