If you have starting problems and the "check engine" light doesn't come on, you may have a bad engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT). They're quick and easy to replace.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:July / August 2010
See the crack? This sensor didn’t set
off a trouble code or “check engine”
light. But the owner had to pump the
pedal to keep the engine running.
If you have to pump the gas pedal in the morning to keep your car running, you may have a bad engine coolant temperature sensor. The computer in every fuel-injected
car must know two
things before it can figure out the
correct cold-start air/fuel mixture:
the engine coolant temperature
and the outside air temperature.
Your symptoms are a dead ringer
for a bad engine coolant temperature
sensor (ECT). The computer is
calculating an air/fuel mixture that
is too lean. That’s why pumping
the gas pedal keeps your engine
You can have a bad sensor even
without a “check engine” light or
trouble code. I could tell you how
to test it, but they’re so cheap
(about $15) and easy to replace,
that it makes more sense to just
replace it. Ask the auto parts store
clerk to find the right sensor for
you (you may have two—one for
the computer and one for the temp
gauge on your dash) and to show
you where it installs on your
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
Copyright © 2013 The Family Handyman. All Rights Reserved.