What is the coolant temperature sensor?
The coolant temperature sensor is also referred to as the ECT. This sensor measures the temperature of your VW’s engine. The information that it gathers affects fuel delivery, ignition timing, and engine performance.
The ECT is usually attached to the engine block or cylinder head. It is near the hottest flow of coolant. In some instances, there may be more than one coolant temperature sensor installed. They are placed in different locations.
The sensor is partially submerged in the coolant. It sends the data that it collects to the engine’s computer. This allows your car to know if it is running too hot or too cold.
Symptoms of Coolant Temperature Sensor Failure
A bad engine coolant temperature sensor can produce a lot of symptoms. When the sensor fails, your engine will no longer be as efficient. Below is a list of the most common symptoms that you may experience:
POOR GAS MILEAGE
When you first start your car, the computer uses information that it receives from the coolant temperature sensor. This can lead to a rich-running engine. Once the engine heats up, the oxygen sensors gather the information.
ENGINE IS RUNNING POORLY
When the sensor is bad, your engine will no longer run efficiently. You may even experience backfires.
AN OVERHEATING ENGINE
The cooling fans will not be turned on if the computer does receive the correct reading. This will cause your engine to overheat. Never run your VW with an overheating engine. When it overheats, immediately pull off the road and turn off the engine. Continuing to drive an overheating vehicle will lead to engine damage and possible engine failure.
An engine takes a while to heat up and needs more fuel to idle smoothly. If the engine’s computer doesn’t know when to add extra gas, the engine can stall.
If your engine thinks that it is cold, it will add extra fuel. This causes the engine to run rich leading to higher emissions.
If your engine is getting too much fuel, it will not be burned in the combustion chamber. Instead, it will be burned in the exhaust. This leads to black smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON
Anytime your vehicle’s computer becomes aware of a problem, it will try to inform you. This usually happens by triggering the check engine light. Many issues can turn the light on. Once your light illuminates, take your VW to a trusted mechanic They will be able to run a diagnostic scan to determine the exact issue.
Can you still drive your vehicle?
If your coolant temperature sensor is failing or has failed, do not continue driving your vehicle. You should get it fixed right away. A faulty sensor can lead to overheating. This will cause damage to your engine as well as other components, which will be very expensive to fix.
How often does the sensor need replaced?
Coolant temperature sensor failure is common in Volkswagens. Properly maintaining the engine’s cooling system will help prolong the life of the component. It is recommended that the sensor is replaced at 100,000 miles. Not staying current with your maintenance schedule can cause it to fail sooner.
Fixing the Sensor Issue
If your Volkswagen is having any mechanical or ignition coil issues, bring it to any of our Locations for an inspection. Our technicians will determine if the issue is due to coolant temperature sensor failure. To Experience the Eurofed Difference, schedule an Appointment and a service manager will respond as soon as possible.