Ambient Temperature Sensor
Ambient temperature refers to the temperature in a room or that which surrounds a particular object. For instance, ambient temperature involving your car or truck would be the temperature that is found on the outside of the vehicle. Ambient temperature has an important part in your own personal comfort when driving or riding in a vehicle as well as how that vehicle operates. Control methods are used for many products to ensure that the ambient temperatures remain as stable as possible because fluctuations in ambient temperatures can cause personal discomfort.
The ambient or outside temperature of your vehicle will depend on many things such as the weather and your specific vehicle’s make and model. Ambient temperatures are also affected by the humidity outside since humidity often causes the temperatures to feel warmer. In many vehicles, ambient temperature sensors are used to determine the temperature and to ensure that the vehicle’s engine system works properly. These sensors will send a signal to the vehicle’s main computer frame when the temperature outside begins to fluctuate. The ambient air or intake air temperature of your vehicle is likely controlled or monitored by an ambient temperature sensor. This sensor measures the temperature of the air that is going into your vehicle’s engine. This is done so that the computer can calculate the density of this air and help to determine the proper amount of fuel that your vehicle’s engine will need in order to operate properly.
The ambient temperature sensor in a vehicle is typically located in the front of the vehicle under the hood. Most are found behind the grill of the car or truck and in front or directly to the side of the vehicle’s radiator. The engine computer in your vehicle needs the temperature of the air entering the engine to estimate the density of the air. This information is used to help the engine to determine the correct balance of fuel and air that is needed in order for the engine to operate properly. In essence, hotter air is much less dense than cold air so it requires less fuel in order to maintain the proper balance of fuel to air ratio. Alternatively, colder air requires more fuel. On vehicles that were produced before 1995, the ambient air temperature or intake air temperature sensor may be called the air charge temperature sensor or charge temperature sensor.
The ambient air temperature sensor is typically mounted directly into the intake manifold with the tip exposed. This tip allows the outside air to enter the engine. Vehicles that have MAF or mass airflow sensors also have MAP sensors with sensors that help to determine outside air temperatures. Many vehicles also have several air temperature sensors. The ambient temperature sensor works in much the same way as the coolant sensor found on many vehicles. It changes as the temperature changes in order to allow the fuel to air ratio to be correct.
Ambient temperature sensors can be damaged in many ways. They can backfire into the intake manifold and can experience contamination from oils and carbons that are often found inside the intake manifold. This coats the sensor’s tip and causes it to be much less responsive to temperature changes outside the vehicle. In addition, the sensor itself can simply wear out or become corroded due to age. In these instances, the ambient temperature sensor will need to be replaced in order for the engine to remain in proper working order. The sensors can be purchased from virtually any automotive supply or parts store and at a number of online retailers for around $100. The actual price will depend on the specific make and model of your car or truck. Installation is easy for those who have some experience in working on vehicles. If you do not typically repair your own vehicle, a service or repair shop can have the new ambient temperature sensor installed in about an hour.