Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Throttle Body Temp Sensor

throttle body temp sensor

Bad or Failing Throttle Body Temp Sensor Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

A throttle body temperature sensor is a critical component to your vehicle’s fuel injection system. It measures the temperature of the air/fuel mixture entering the fuel injection system on your vehicle’s engine. This is important because the temperature of the air/fuel charge entering an engine can largely impact the the reaction by your car’s performance.

In order for gasoline to be burned in an internal combustion engine, it must be atomized or broken into small particles, emulsified (mixed with air), and then vaporized. This all requires a meticulous combination of air and fuel at the right temperature, in the right environment, and in the right setting. Think of this as you are spraying any kind of liquid from an aerosol can (high pressure to low pressure environment) into the air. As the particles are broken down, what we know as a fine spray is technically defined as “atomization.” With this in mind, the smaller the fuel particles are, the greater the surface area there is for them to be exposed to, thus creating more exposure to heat. This is where the performance of a throttle body temp sensor is important.

The throttle body temperature sensor monitors the throttle body temperature, which is essentially the same as the fuel temperature. This sensor provides the vehicle’s main computer with information on whether to enrich or lean out the fuel to air mixture based upon the temperature. This is specifically important in “hot start” situations due to the effect of the fuel vaporization as it relates to temperature. A throttle body temperature sensor may wear out over time and should be replaced by a professional mechanic if necessary.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

Poor engine performance and stalling

When a temperature sensor relays incorrect information to the vehicle’s ECM [Engine Control Module], the ECM can sometimes make inaccurate corrections based upon misinformation as a result of a faulty sensor. The most noticeable symptom of this can often times be sluggish engine performance or stalling of an engine due to the ECM’s natural tendency to provide more fuel to the throttle body, resulting in a “richer than normal” air/fuel mixture. This is the equivalent of trying to drink too much water too fast without breathing in the interim; much like trying to drink water from a firehose. The human response to this (choking effect) would be somewhat similar to how an engine would respond when too much fuel is supplied without the proper balance of air.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

Broken electrical connections

Faulty electrical connections can also play a part in incorrect readings of temperatures being relayed to the vehicle’s ECM. As we all know, electrical problems can be a nightmare to diagnose, often times resulting in intermittent and unpredictable reactions, making them very difficult to trace. This can also be tested by using an Ohmmeter, which will identify whether or not the sensor’s resistance is within specifications.

When any of the above symptoms occur, there is somewhat of a domino effect created, in that this will likely cause multiple sensors and triggers to force your Check Engine Light to come on as a result of other systems failing. Often times when this happens, there will be several fault codes related to this, usually requiring the knowledge of an experienced mechanic to interpret and fix. Our suggestion is to have a qualified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose the problem.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...


Related questions

Q: Left front strut is 2 inches lower than rest

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2001 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG. Most of the time this is a problem with the strut itself. The air spring begins to fail, whether it is leaking or binding, and this will occur....

Q: Rough Idle Problem

A rough idle may be caused by many different things such as low fuel pressure, low voltage to the fuel injectors, dirty fuel injectors, a vacuum leak, a faulty Oxygen sensor or a dirty or failing idle air control valve....

Q: Valvetronic operation on N42 engine.

The valvetronic motor is stuck or not functioning properly and causing the engine to not start up. I recommend replacing the valvetronic motor. The motor is designed to cycle itself when turning on the ignition, so it is good to...