Purpose of an Air Intake Temperature Sensor

by Senobia Torres
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red truck engine image by Christopher Nolan from Fotolia.com

For car engines that are equipped with a carburetor, the Air Intake Temperature (AIT) sensor is an integral part of the vehicle's fuel exhaust system. A faulty AIT sensor can cause the car to stall from being choked by its own emissions.


The function of an IAT sensor is to measure the temperature of the air coming into the engine--once it has been mixed with fuel in the carburetor--and direct its flow into the cylinders by opening or closing a flap.


The reason an IAT sensor is important is because the direction of the engine's air flow prevents the carburetor from "icing" and assists with the vaporization of fuel into the air stream. If either of these events fails to occur, the engine will stall.

Signs of Failure

If your AIT sensor is faulty, your car may experience many problems due to a poor fuel/air mix ratio. The car may have a poor idle, stumble under acceleration or have increased noticeable emissions, such as smoking or fumes.

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