The main reason you're probably reading this post is that you are someone wanting to know how to reset the ambient temperature sensor for your car. Usually, there are multiple reasons we might need the sensors to be reset or recalibrated, and for most reasons, it has to do with the sensor malfunctioning.
In this post, we will discuss how to reset ambient temperature sensors for some of the most common vehicles we see on the road. We've included Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Kia, and Nissan models complete with step-by-step instructions and video demonstrations. So go ahead and continue reading to learn all about it.
What is the ambient temperature sensor?
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Your ambient temperature sensor is the one responsible for telling you what the current outside temperature is. It is the one that detects the car's surroundings' hotness or coldness levels. This sensor then sends a message to the vehicle's automatic climate control system, which then interprets it to know what should be the optimal climate inside your car.
This is considered a luxury feature and is usually present in higher-trim models or luxury vehicles. It is a great amenity that creates an interactive "smart" vehicle. The ability to adjust the car's cabin temperature by adapting it outside creates the most optimal and comfortable climate for the passengers.
That is why, if your ambient temperature sensor suddenly becomes faulty, your car's auto climate system might also malfunction. These vehicle features are great as they eliminate the need for the passengers to adjust the cabin temperature manually.
If the sensor and the auto climate system are working correctly, the temperature inside the car will not get too hot or too cold. This will provide a better experience, especially during those long summer drives or winter drives, when temperatures get extreme.
Does the ambient air temperature sensor affect AC?
The ambient temperature sensor works hand-in-hand with your car's air conditioning system to achieve the optimal climate inside the car's cabin. The sensor picks up the outside temperature and relays it to the automatic climate control system, which then sets the AC on how cold or hot the air should be blowing.
This is why a malfunctioning ambient sensor can cause fluctuations in your cabin temperature. In worst-case scenarios, if the sensor readings are astronomically off, the sensor could make it even hotter or colder inside your vehicle.
Such malfunctions could make your riding experience very uncomfortable. And since the sensor controls your AC system, even if you manually set it to your desired temperature, it will only go back to its previous reading. Luckily, you can disable the auto climate control feature for most vehicles to manually set your climate controls.
Does the ambient temperature sensor affect the engine?
Directly, there should be no effect or interference from the ambient temperature to your car's engine. But it could be linked to some power output issues and even fuel consumption, but these are rare cases.
This is because the current environment's (or ambient) temperature influences the inlet air temperature. When we say inlet air temperature, we are referring to the temperature measured in a turbocharged engine's inlet. So if you're engine is not turbocharged, this may not apply to you.
The only thing you could link engine performance and the ambient sensor malfunctioning is when your auto climate system uses a high-temperature setting (too cold or too hot) which can cause more fuel consumption and engine effort. But these are really marginal and ignorable.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Ford Escape
Below is an easy step-by-step guide on how you can reset your Ford Escape's ambient temperature sensor. You can easily do this task in the comfort of your garage.
Step-1: Start Up The Engine
The first step is to turn the vehicle on to activate the sensor and your AC system. You can manually start it with your key or, if you have a start-up button, utilize it instead.
Step 2: Shift Gear To 'Drive'
Shift your gear selector to "Drive." This will help to recalibrate your ambient temperature sensor faster. Just make sure that your parking brake or e-brake is engaged to prevent the car from moving forward.
Step 3: Simultaneously Press the 'AC' And 'Max AC' Buttons
Hold the "AC" button and the "Max AC" button for at least two seconds, both located at the front of the gear selector. These are the two big buttons on the dashboard that you use to control cabin climate.
Make sure that they are well-pressed to activate the calibration. After at least two seconds, let go and wait for the system to calibrate fully for a couple of minutes fully.
If you suspect that the resetting did not work, the next step is to replace the sensor. Here's a step-by-step video on how to replace your ambient temperature sensor on a Ford Escape.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Ford Fusion
The steps to reset your Ford Fusion's ambient temperature are the same as the steps for the Ford Escape model (above). Below, we will discuss the manual resetting and replacing method.
Step 1: Turn Off The Vehicle And Disconnect The Battery
Turn off the ignition and use a wrench to disconnect your batteries. This will prevent any electrical damage when working with your vehicle.
Step 2: Look For The Ambient Temperature Sensor
The ambient temperature sensor is located at the car's grille on top of the bumper. Another way to locate it is by following the AC lines at the battery's back. Find the line that goes towards the bumper. It should be on the passenger side. It is a sensor with a nipple-like plastic sticking out with a green patch behind it.
Step 3: Disconnect The Sensors' Wiring
After seeing your sensors, you should see a small lock connecting at the back of it. Press down on this to disconnect the wire. Remember to be gentle when pulling on this wire, as excess effort might damage it.
You will see a green arrow plug underneath after pulling the first wire. You will have to pull this wire again by pressing the tab that serves as a release latch.
Step 4: Adjust The Dials To Max
Next, you should see the temperature. Twist this dial clockwise to its maximum. After that, slowly release it back down counterclockwise until you hear a click.
Then reconnect the wiring harness by gently pressing the connectors back into place. At the same time, slowly twist the connectors to lock them into place.
Step 5: Lock The Sensor In Place
Secure your sensors back into place by putting the secure studs where you uninstalled them. Assure they are securely fastened in their holes and tighten the locking ring.
Below is a video on locating the ambient temperature sensor for a Ford Fusion.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Ford F150
For the F150, a pretty generic rest method is available for the ambient temperature sensor, similar to that of other car makes/models. You only need to press the "AC" and the "Air Circulating" buttons together for at least two seconds. The "Air Recirculating" button is the button with a car pictured on it and an arrow signifying air circulating the cabin.
When accessing the actual sensor itself, the steps above are the same as we've discussed for other Ford models. You will have to remove the bumper to replace the sensor. You can also have it cleaned and diagnosed by a proper mechanic to know if it needs replacing or just cleaning.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Nissan Vehicle
Resetting the ambient temperature sensor on most Nissan vehicles is fairly straightforward. Just push the car's "AC" button while simultaneously pressing the car's "Recirculating" button for a few seconds. Your sensor should reset.
You can also reset the car's ambient temperature sensor by locating and replacing the sensor. You can either do this yourself or hire a trusted mechanic.
Here is a video showing how to locate and replace the ambient temperature sensor in some Nissan vehicles.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Chevy Silverado
For the Chevy Silverado, a somewhat similar method will reset and update the ambient sensor in your car. Again, press the "AC" and the "Recirculating" buttons simultaneously for a few seconds, which should reset your sensors.
Now, one reason your ambient temperature sensor could malfunction is that the AC temperature sensor is also damaged. This is why having a reputable mechanic thoroughly check the vehicle is essential (this applies to all makes).
But you could just have a faulty sensor that needs replacing, and the steps are similar to what we have already discussed above.
The ambient temperature sensor for all GM vehicles (Chevy, GMC, Buick, Cadillac) is also located at the front behind your vehicle's grille. Here is a step-by-step guide on replacing your ambient temperature sensor, this time on your Chevy Silverado.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Kia
Resetting your Kia's ambient temperature sensor is similar to the ones we discussed earlier. You can either do a reset or a replacement for a broken sensor. A properly working ambient temperature sensor will also help to defog your inside windshield.
Resetting is easy; press the "AC" button and the "Air Circulating" buttons together, which should reset the ambient temperature sensor.
Replacing the ambient temperature sensor is also similar to replacing other ambient temperature sensors. Here is a video on replacing an ambient temperature sensor for a Kia Optima.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Chevy Malibu
The process for resetting the ambient temperature sensor for a Chevy Malibu is the same as for the Chevy Silverado (above). Press the "Recirculating" button and "AC" button together, and hold them for 3-5 seconds.
You can experience a similar error for most Chevy vehicles, which can activate a check engine light, also known as a P0073 error code. This does not necessarily mean that you already need a replacement for this sensor. It could be disconnected, not plugged properly, or even just needs cleaning.
But if needing replacement, the air temperature sensor can easily be located on the front of your car. You will need to remove the bumper to fully access and replace the sensor.
Check this video about replacing an ambient temperature sensor for a Chevy Cruz sedan.
How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor In A Dodge Journey
Resetting and replacing the ambient temperature sensor for a Dodge vehicle and other Fiat Chrysler vehicles are all the same as mentioned above.
When replacing, inspecting, and resetting the air temperature sensor, you will need to remove the bumper to have full access to the sensor. It sits below the radiator behind the grille. You just need to retrace the steps you did to activate the sensor once you have already replaced it.
All ambient temperature sensors look the same, so it would be easy to recognize them. This work might require a mechanic, particularly for replacing detached parts like the bumper.
Here is a short video on removing and replacing the ambient temperature sensor on your Dodge Journey.
Depending on your vehicle type, there are multiple ways to reset the ambient temperature sensor. Your vehicle's ambient temperature sensor dictates the temperature that the auto climate control system will set inside your car's cabin.
A malfunctioning ambient temperature can affect your AC's performance, especially if your auto climate control system is on. Since it can control your AC, if the sensor's reading is not regular, the output of your AC will be either too cold or too hot for your preference.
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