The air intake temperature system, for short, IAT sensor, is a vital component of your car’s engine compartment. The IAT sensor maintains the air-fuel mixture ratio in a car’s combustion chamber.
If an IAT sensor is dirty, it may give false readings about the air temperature and burn more fuel than usual, leaving emissions.
Also, when you stop and accelerate, it will give you a rough experience all over. So, to keep the car’s performance at its best, you will have to clean it. But you may think about how and “What to use to clean the intake air temperature sensor.”
In this blog post, we will discuss how the Intake air temperature sensor works, and what to use, and at the end of this article, you will be able to clean your IAT sensor in no time..
How to know If your Intake air temperature sensor is dirty
There are some signs that you will see when your air intake sensor is dirty. Some of them including:
1. Power loss when you Accelerate
When your IAT sensor is dirty, it will not measure the temperature of your air accurately, resulting in false reading, which doesn’t helps the engine cooling system maintain a proper air-fuel mixture.
Thus, An overheated engine loses power when accelerating.
2. Trouble when starting your engine in cold temperature
Cold air gets more dense than regular air. So to maintain the proper mixture of air and fuel, the engine will need more fuel to start up your engine.
If the sensor is dirty, it will fail to give a proper reading, which will make it difficult to start your engine at cold temperatures, which will give you stalling engine or uneven start.
3. Loss of Fuel Efficiency
Your IAT sensor is designed to maintain maximum fuel efficiency in your car. It is continuously giving temperature reading to the engine cooling system. So ECU calculates and maintains the air-fuel mixture according to temperature.
This process helps in preventing the engine from consuming excess fuel. If the intake air sensor is dirty, you will be more likely to notice less fuel efficiency.
Well, if any of these symptoms show in your car, you will have to check and clean your IAT sensor.
what to use to clean intake air temperature sensor
Regularly cleaning your car’s sensors is essential for maintaining the highest performance, and it’s a preventive maintenance task that should be done every 15,000-20,000 miles.
It’s important to note that manufacturer services usually don’t include any sensor cleaning services, so we recommend you on performing this task yourself. Luckily, it’s a simple DIY procedure that you can complete in just 20 minutes. By doing this, your car’s performance will be significant and long-lasting.
For Cleaning Your IAT sensor, you will need
DIY cleaning solution :
- Torx T30
- Rubbing alcohol(also known as isopropyl alcohol).
- Cotton ball.
- Factory-made sensor cleaner.
How to clean your IAT sensor
There are two ways you can clean your IAT sensor for better performance of your engine.
Cleaning Procedure 1: DIY Method
This procedure may be a bit of work for you, but you can do it simply without any specific product. Here is a step-by-step procedure:
Step 1: locate the location of your IAT (Intake Air Temperature) sensor, which is typically placed between the air filter and the throttle body. In the case of older cars, the sensor may be threaded onto the intake manifold.
Step 2: Once you’ve found the sensor, gently remove it from its housing and disconnect the electrical connections. Then, hold the sensor over an open surface with care.
Step 3: Take a zip bag and pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol(isopropyl alcohol) so that when you put the sensor in the bag, it is drowned in it.
Step 4: Now keep your sensor in this solution for 20 minutes and shake it while doing it after every minute. After that, take out your sensor.
Step 5: Now dip a cotton ball in alcohol and gently clean this until your cotton ball has picked up all the dirt.
Step 6: Now your sensor is clean and is ready to put back on where you took it from. Check if you put it right, or else It won’t work and will harm your engine more.
Cleaning procedure 2: factory-made sensor cleaning solution
This is a simple procedure. In this procedure, it’s the same process. After removing Your sensor, spray The canned solution on your sensor for 10-15 taps by holding down your sensor after 30 -40 seconds each time.
After doing that, now wait for the solution to evaporate. Now wipe it off, and your sensor is clean.
How to Clean Your IAT Sensor if it is Integrated with Other Sensors
Your car may have an IAT sensor integrated with other sensors, which we see in the newer version of cars. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to use the DIY method because it’s much more complicated. You will have to contact a professional to clean this sensor.
When to Replace Your IAT Sensor
If cleaning your IAT sensor doesn’t work, you will have to replace it. If you use your car regularly, you will know if your IAT sensor is bad and needs replacement. Symptoms such as Engine stalling, rough idling and engine stumbling mean that your IAT sensor is in bad shape.
So we suggest that you have to buy a new IAT sensor and replace the old one. Also try lubricating it when installing, which will save your sensor from friction and damage.
What is an Intake air temperature sensor? How does it work?
The intake air temperature sensor plays a crucial role in engine performance. Because the IAT sensor maintains the airflow of the car’s engine, you will find it near the throttle body or in front of the radiator. Well, for older cars, it may be placed on the intake manifold.
An intake air temperature sensor is a device that measures the temperature of the air that is entering the engine’s combustion system. It measures how much heat it needs to remove by flowing air into the engine chamber, which helps in a better fuel economy due to the proper ratio of air and fuel and performs at its ideal form.
Basically, It measures the temperature and sends the signal to the engine control unit for how much air it needs for cooling the engine.
But over time, the IAT sensor builds up dirt and debris and stops working, which reduces the capability of the sensor, and thus, the engine starts to lose its performance and leaves emissions.
That’s why it’s important to clean The IAT sensor every 15,000 – 20,000 miles, but first, let’s know how you can identify a dirty IAT sensor.
The engine relies on the Intake air temperature sensor to regulate the temperature of the air entering the system, which makes it a crucial component. A dirty or damaged sensor can have detrimental effects on your car’s performance and overall well-being. So when cleaning the IAT sensor, you now know “What to use to clean the intake air temperature sensor.”
So by following the steps mentioned above, you can clean your sensor and get your engine’s efficiency working again. If the sensor is gone bad, you will have to replace it.