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The Symptoms of a Bad Intake Air Temperature Sensor

by Dutch Silverstein June 6, 2018

Your car is a complex machine that relies on systems of interworking parts and pieces to collaborate together to produce the most effective conditions for optimal driving. These various parts and pieces encounter issues over time, which affects the overall function and performance of the vehicle negatively. In luxury import vehicles, parts are assumed to last much longer than the average vehicle; however, these high-end cars require just as much care and maintenance as the average car—if not more.

While every component is critical, even the smaller nuts and bolts, the various sensors in your car are some of the most important parts for its functioning. For instance, one sensor that drivers experience issues with over time is the intake air temperature sensor, also known as the IAT sensor, as well as many other terms depending on the manufacturer. Since the IAT sensor commonly fails over time and can cause significant performance problems, we thought our drivers should know about it. Here’s a little more on the IAT sensor and what you can do to prevent failure:

Q: What does the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor do?

A: The IAT sensor plays an important part in your engine’s efficiency. It is responsible for detecting the temperature of the air that is coming into the engine so that it can relay the data to the car’s main computer. The computer then controls the fuel-to-air ratio your engine needs for proper combustion and ignition under those specific circumstances. For instance, if the sensor detects that the air being sucked into the engine is warmer, since the air is less dense the engine will need less fuel for proper combustion. When the IAT sensor begins to fail, one can imagine that it will cause significant changes in performance.

Q: What could cause the temperature sensor to fail?

A: Failure of the intake air temperature sensor can be attributed to several different circumstances, including inefficient automotive repair and maintenance work. It’s important to hire an automotive shop that specializes in the particular type of vehicle you drive; they will best be able to ensure that your car gets the care and attention it needs, and so that important services involving the IAT sensor are not overlooked. Over time the sensor can “go bad” due to a buildup of oil and debris, or it just simply needs replacing at a certain point. Ongoing inspections can help keep issues involving the IAT sensor at bay.

Q: What are the symptoms of a bad intake air temperature sensor?

A: It’s important to be on the lookout for the symptoms of a failing IAT sensor; the longer the problem goes unaddressed, the more severe the damages become over time. These are the most common symptoms of IAT sensor failure:

Check-engine light is on

Any time you see the check-engine light illuminated, it’s important to have it checked out right away. It could be related to the IAT sensor, but it could also be something more serious.

Rough idling and rough running

Engine stalling, rough idling, engine stumbling, and random surges of power are commonly associated with IAT sensor failure. These are concerning symptoms, and they can only worsen with time.

Difficulty starting the engine

Problems starting your car’s engine are highly inconvenient for everyday life. If you can’t get your car started, have it jumped or tow it to the nearest, most trusted automotive specialist.

Q: What can A&M Auto Service do to help?

A: The automotive experts here at A&M Auto Service have been serving clients in the areas of Pineville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, NC, for over 25 years. Our reputation in the community is unrivaled, and our passion for European imports is undying. If you drive an Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen, or Volvo and have been experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms recently, then it is critical that you bring your car in for an inspection at the least. We know it can be inconvenient to bring your car to an automotive shop, which is why we make it simple, straightforward, and affordable—we even offer warranties on our parts and labor. To learn more about our expertise or to schedule an appointment, please look over our website or call us directly.

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