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Jan Andersson
Jan Andersson, ASE Master Tech
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 834
Experience:  20 years of automotive repair & modification, USA, Asian, Euro, old & new cars.
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Intake air temp sensor do and what kind of damage can it do if bad?

This answer was rated:

what does the intake air temp sensor do and what kind of damage can it do if bad?
The intake air temp sensor monitors the air temperature going into
the engine, and sends the data to the engine management computer.
The computer then adjusts fuel mixture to match some pre-set target
values, using the air temp data as input. The idea is to keep the
fuel mixture optimal in all driving conditions and climates.
If the temp sensor is bad or is sending wrong signal, the computer
will meter wrong amount of fuel into the engine. It may give it too
much fuel, causing the engine to run rich. (Carbon deposit buildup,
possibly ignition trouble as the carbon keeps building up, fouled
plugs, fouled sensors here and there, poor mileage, faster cylinder
wear when fuel washes the oil off the cylinder wall....)

It could also adjust the mixture too lean, which would cause
detonation/pinging, overheating parts of the engine, poor
performance, and in extreme cases mechanical failure like broken or
burned valves and pistons. The intake air temp sensor is generally
found in the air cleaner box, or the big pipe/hose leadig to the
throttle body. Usually it's a small thumb size sensor with 2 wires
going to it. I can't remember or find detailed descriptions on where
it is in YOUR vehicle. Sorry.

In other words, it is a critical component used to determine how much fuel is injected into the engine at any given time.

Edited by Jan Andersson on 9/23/2009 at 2:53 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you know ruffly how much this part costs through nissan i have not been able to find it anywhere else also if put in wrong will it read that their is a problem
The Intake Air Temp Sensor could also be called Ambient Air Temperature sensor and it may be elsewhere in the front of the car,
not necessarily in the intake air ducting. One of those can be found at Autozone for $40.

After checking a repair manual, I found it for you. The book also
says this sensor is not used to control the engine, so I was wrong
there... sorry. That's a bit unusual.
Go here for location (Front bumper air duct opening) and testing
procedure, page EC-111:

You can only connect the wire terminal one way.

Edited by Jan Andersson on 9/23/2009 at 3:18 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
what will this harm and how much does the part cost?
The Nissan repair manual says it is used for diagnostic purposes, so when it is not working properly, you can't perform complete or reliable computer diagnostics on the vehicle. In itself, it seems like it won't do any harm, just prevent or slow down proper diagnostics if you have another problem later on.

I don't have access to Nissan dealer pricing. Autozone listed this at $40.
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