How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor?

Ambient temperature sensors maintain comfortable cabin temperatures by providing accurate temperature readings. However, the sensor can malfunction due to getting clogged or damaged and cause a disengaged AC compressor clutch, malfunction in the HVAC system, and inaccurate gauge reading.

Knowing how to reset ambient temperature sensor can help you restore its functionality quickly and save time and money in visiting an auto repair shop. Despite some most effective processes of resetting ambient temperature sensors, this article will also provide you with symptoms of bad sensors and tricks to bypass the sensor.

3 Ways To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor of A Car

You can reset the ambient temperature sensor in plenty of ways and some of the simplest and quickest methods are:

1. Using Control Panel

The simplest way to reset the ambient temperature sensor is to use the control panel. Turn on the ignition of the vehicle to find the information display or control panel.

Go to the menu bar in the control panel and find the AC and recirculation buttons. Once found, press the buttons for around 12 to 16 seconds at a time or until the screen shows a default temperature value.

Then release the buttons and the car’s temperature sensor should match the actual outside temperature which is usually 32°F or 0°C. 

2. Using AC and MAX AC Buttons

Following this technique, you can reset the sensor and recalibrate it at a time. Before applying this method, make sure your vehicle is in shift to drive mode.

Find the climate control panel and press and hold the MAX AC and AC buttons together for around 2 to 3 seconds. Then release the buttons and wait for 2 minutes. The sensor should recalibrated and reset.

Using AC and MAX AC Buttons

3. Manual Reset

To manually reset the ambient temperature sensor, physically find the sensor. In most vehicles, the ambient temperature sensor is placed near the grill on the bumper side, close to the radiator, or in the engine bay.

Detach the wire that connects the sensor to the engine and unscrew the sensor. The sensor is a delicate component, so handle it carefully. Remove dust or dirt from the sensor. After cleaning the sensor, press the reset button placed on the sensor. Finally, put the sensor back and re-connect everything.

How To Reset Ambient Temperature Sensor in Different Car?

The ambient temperature sensor resetting process varies depending on the car’s make and model. Below are some popular brand and their ambient temperature resetting processes:


Press the AC buttons on the HVAC control board to reset the sensor. You can also reset the sensor by hitting the rear defrost, defrost, and mode buttons together for around 2 to 5 seconds.


Then release the buttons and wait for a while. If these tricks don’t work, reset the sensor using an OBD II tool and clear the fault codes.

Ford, Chevy, and Toyota

Check the temperature reading on the LED screen and find the HVAC panel control placed near the gear knob. Then press the AC button and recirculate the button at a time for 2 to 3 seconds. Release the buttons and wait for a few seconds. Hold the AC button for 2 seconds and check the sensor to make sure it’s been reset.

Ford, Chevy, and Toyota


Locate the sensor placed near the bumper grill and remove the temperature sensor’s harness upstream plug. Reach the ambient temperature sensor by removing the top cover. Clean the sensor using a rag or tiny brush and place it back.

Disconnect the positive terminal of the battery for around three minutes and then reconnect it. Check the vehicle’s display to make sure the temperature is reading properly.


Remove the AC fuse from the fuse box that is placed near the lower left. Wait around three minutes and then insert it back into the place to reset the sensor successfully.

Chevrolet Aveo

To reset the ambient temperature sensor, you have to perform a sensor calibration procedure.  You have to use a launch scanner to perform this task. So, connect the launch scanner to the truck and select your car’s make and model.

Then go to the instrument cluster and choose the activation tests function. Finally, press the refresh ambient temperature data button. Once done, the AC should start working properly in normal mode.

Symptoms Of A Bad Ambient Temperature Sensor

Below are some reasons that may encourage you to reset the ambient temperature sensor.

Symptoms Of A Bad Ambient Temperature Sensor

Inconsistent Cooling Effect

The ambient temperature sensor is a vital part of a car’s AC system. It interferes directly with maintaining a cool cabin temperature. So if something goes wrong with the sensor, you’ll experience an inconsistent cooling effect. When an AC reads a false signal due to the damaged sensor, its auto AC mode stops working properly.

Poor Fuel Economy

An inaccurate signal provided by the ambient temperature sensor also affects the fuel economy. For example, if the damaged sensor informs that the signal is cold, the system will burn more gasoline to heat the engine even in normal conditions.

Poor Fuel Economy

It can both affect the fuel economy and the engine. In this case, you may notice excessive black smoke coming out from the exhaust.

Check The Engine Light

Check engine light can illuminate due to a wide range of problems and a bad ambient temperature sensor is one of them.

Check The Engine Light

Engine Overheating

Sometimes, car AC shuts off due to high engine temperature. The cooling fan of the engine evacuates heat from the coolant and maintains a safe engine temperature. However, a bad sensor can disturb this process.

The engine cooling fan operates based on the computer’s signal and disturbance due to the sensor’s malfunction can cause the engine to overheat.

Engine overheating

How To Bypass An Ambient Temperature Sensor?

While resetting the sensor is a temporary solution, bypassing the ambient temperature sensor can provide you with a long-lasting solution. However changing the sensor with aftermarket components can cause premature wear, so pick the high-quality product. You can also use a scan tool to avoid malfunctioning the sensor.

You can bypass the sensor by applying various methods. For example, open the battery and find out the sensor. Remove the black and red wires from the battery. Then connect one end of the cable to a battery and the other end to the terminal of the battery.

Another method is to cover the sensor with paper and place it in the battery. Then operate the sensor normally.

How To Check An Ambient Temperature Sensor?

Leave the air on the automatic settings and allow it to come on and off. If the ambient temperature sensor performs as desired, it’s in good condition. The desired and normal ambient temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees F. Automatic air usually doesn’t come on outside this zone.

You can also check the ambient temperature sensor by purposefully altering it. Heat the sensor using a hair dryer and check if it turns the air on to become cool. A faulty ambient temperature sensor won’t be able to do so.

How to Check an Ambient Temperature Sensor

Using a multimeter is one of the most effective ways to check the condition of an ambient temperature sensor. Remove the sensor from the unit and have a glass of ice water and a multi-meter.

Measure the resistance of the sensor while it’s warm and it should read open. Then place the meter’s look wads onto the wires and put a bulb into the icy water. The multimeter should display close or full continue.

You can also hire an expert mechanic to check the sensor more accurately using various machinery.


Can You Drive Without An Ambient Temperature Sensor?

The ambient temperature system isn’t a part of the engine management system. It only informs about the external temperature and helps keep it in normal condition. So driving without an ambient temperature sensor will impact the operation of the AC. however, you won’t also notified if the engine becomes overheated.

How To Determine When The Ambient Temperature Sensor Needs Resetting?

If you notice inconstant temperature readings reset the ambient temperature sensor. Unusual AC behavior like getting hot air in summer or cold air in winter also suggests you need to reset the sensor.

Can A Bad Ambient Temperature Sensor Cause Engine Idling?

The ambient temperature sensor provides an accurate temperature reading to the ECU to optimize the air-fuel mixture. But if the sensor gets damaged and provides incorrect data, it can cause engine idling, stalling, and even engine misfiring.

Final Words

Hope you now understand how to reset the ambient temperature sensor and will be able to maintain the perfect temperature inside the car. However the placement of the ambient temperature sensor and the resetting process varies, so check your car’s user manual to get the exact process. Lastly, if your ambient temperature sensor gets damaged, resetting won’t restore its function. In this case, replace the sensor with the aid of an expert mechanic.

My name is Henry Roberts and I am an experienced car mechanic with over 15 years of expertise in the automotive industry. I am currently running a Auto Repair Shop in Denver, Colorado. I have been servicing and repairing vehicles at my shop, where i have built a solid reputation for my skill and knowledge. I am passionate about sharing my automotive knowledge through blogging and my goal is to provide accurate and helpful information to car owners to keep their vehicles in perfect condition.

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