Modern vehicles are equipped with various sensors to monitor the different aspects of a car’s operation. One such sensor is the ambient temperature sensor(ATS), which is responsible for measuring the temperature outside the vehicle. It functions basically as a resistor whose resistance value varies with temperature. As the temperature rises, the resistor’s resistance lowers. Depending on the differential between these two data, the temperature control system modifies elements like the blower motor speed.
In this article, we will discuss what a car ATS is, how it works, and why it is important.
What is Ambient Temperature Sensor?
The ambient temperature sensor, also known as the outside air temperature sensor, is a small electronic device that measures the temperature outside the vehicle. It is typically located behind the grille or front bumper of the car, where it can sense the air temperature directly.
Working Process Of an Ambient Temperature Sensor
The ATS works by using a thermistor, which is a type of resistor that changes its resistance based on temperature. However, the sensor measures the resistance of the thermistor and uses that value to determine the temperature outside the vehicle.
The temperature sends the reading from the ambient temperature sensor to the car’s electronic control unit (ECU), which uses the information to adjust various systems, such as the climate control system, engine management system, and transmission system.
Importance of an Ambient Temperature Sensor in a Vehicle
- Climate Control: The ambient temperature sensor comes in use by the car’s climate control system to adjust the temperature and airflow inside the car based on the temperature outside. It ensures that the interior of the vehicle is comfortable, regardless of the weather outside.
- Engine Management: The ambient temperature sensor is used by the car’s engine management system to adjust various engine parameters, such as air/fuel mixture and ignition timing, based on the temperature outside. It ensures optimal engine performance and efficiency in different temperature conditions.
- Transmission System: The ambient temperature sensor also helps the transmission system to adjust shift points and shift quality based on the temperature outside. However, this ensures smooth and efficient transmission operation.
- Safety: The ATS helps the car’s traction control and stability control systems to adjust their operation based on the temperature outside. It ensures optimal traction and stability control in different temperature conditions, improving vehicle safety.
When Should You Reset a Car’s Ambient Temperature Sensor?
If you are experiencing issues with your car’s climate control system, you may need to reset the ambient temperature sensor. However, resetting the sensor may not always be necessary or helpful. Here are some situations when you may want to consider resetting the ambient temperature sensor in your car:
If you have recently replaced the battery or disconnected the car’s power source:
In some cases, disconnecting the car’s power source can cause the ATS to stop working properly. In this situation, resetting the sensor may help it to start working correctly again.
Temperature readings on your car’s climate control system seem inaccurate:
If the temperature readings on your car’s climate control system seem inaccurate. Resetting the ambient temperature sensor may help to correct this issue.
Climate control system is not working properly:
If your car’s climate control system is not working properly, resetting the ambient temperature sensor may help to diagnose or fix the problem.
However, it’s worth noting that, in some cases, resetting the ATS may not solve the issue with your car’s climate control system. Moreover, it’s a good idea to have a professional mechanic take a look at your car to diagnose it.
How to Reset the Ambient Temperature Sensor?
The process for resetting the ATS in a car can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Here are some general steps you can follow to reset the ATS:
- Turn off the car’s engine and remove the key from the ignition.
- Wait at least 10 minutes for the car’s electrical system to reset fully.
- Locate the ambient temperature sensor. It is usually located on the front of the car, near the grille or bumper.
- Disconnect the ATS’s wiring harness by pressing the release tab and gently pulling the connector out of the sensor.
- Wait for at least 30 seconds before reconnecting the wiring harness to the ATS.
- Start the car’s engine and check to see if the ATS readings on your car’s climate control system have returned to normal.
How Much Does it Cost to Reset a Car’s Ambient Temperature Sensor?
The reset process of a car’s ambient temperature sensor typically does not require any parts or labor costs. One can do it easily and quickly with the right tools or instructions. The cost will depend on how the reset is performed.
If the reset can be done manually by the car owner, such as by using the car’s onboard diagnostic system or resetting the computer, there may be no cost at all. However, if the reset requires the use of specialized equipment or the services of a mechanic or technician, there may be a cost associated with the service.
In general, the cost of resetting a car’s ATS should be relatively low, usually ranging from $50 to $150, depending on the type of service required and the location of the service provider. However, it is always a good idea to get a cost estimate from the service provider before authorizing any work.
Ambient Temperature Sensor – FAQs
An ambient temperature sensor in a car is a device that detects the temperature of the surrounding air and relays this information to the car’s computer. This sensor is typically located on the outside of the car, in a position where it can accurately measure the ambient temperature.
The ambient temperature sensor in a car serves several purposes. It provides important information to the car’s computer, which uses this data to adjust the engine’s performance, optimize fuel efficiency, and regulate the car’s climate control system.
The ambient temperature sensor in a car works by using a thermistor, which is a type of resistor that changes its resistance in response to changes in temperature. When the temperature changes, the resistance of the thermistor changes, which alters the voltage signal sent to the car’s computer. The computer then uses this information to adjust various systems in the car.
Yes, the ATS in a car can malfunction. If the sensor is damaged or fails, it may provide inaccurate readings to the car’s computer, which can lead to a variety of problems.
It is possible to replace the ATS yourself, but it can be a challenging task. Depending on the make and model of your car, the sensor may be located in a difficult-to-reach area. It can make the replacement process more complicated. It is better to consult your car’s owner’s manual or have a qualified mechanic perform the replacement.
The cost to replace the ATS in a car can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. As well as it also depends on the location of the sensor. In general, the cost of the sensor itself is relatively low, usually between $20 to $50. However, the cost of labor to replace the sensor can vary significantly, from around $50 to $200 or more.