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I have a 2016 Honda CRV. This is the first time in all my cars I've owned where the thermometer is malfunctioning. Sometimes it works and shows the "correct" temperature (correct according to the weather app on my phone). Other times, it's stuck at 66F when it's clear the temperature is way higher (like 80s).

I don't know exactly where it is on my car but I assume it's in the front bumper. Is there a way to get to the thermometer to clean it before trying to replace it or this is something I need to go to an honest garage to look at?

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Your ambient temperature sensor is behind the front bumper. It's well nigh impossible to get to it without removing the bumper, which is tedious due to all the fasteners, but not difficult. There are procedure videos on YouTube.

Your sensor does not need to be cleaned; it will read the same temperature whether the outside is clean or dirty.

However, the computer responsible for ambient temperature display is programmed to reject implausible readings in two different ways:

  1. If you get your engine up to operating temperature, then park it and turn off the engine, the ambient temperature sensor will feel heat from the engine compartment. If you then start the engine again while its coolant is still warm and the ambient sensor is detecting a higher temperature than it was when the engine was shut off, the computer will ignore the ambient reading as false and will display whatever it was reading when the car was last shut down. It will continue to ignore the sensor and display the last reading until the car has exceeded a certain road speed, which would mean that the sensor is once again in the ambient air stream and its reading is now plausible.

  2. If the sensor reads very high resistance due to being disconnected or having corroded contacts, or very low resistance due to the sensor contacts being immersed in water, the computer will ignore the reading and will display a default reading of 66 or 67 degrees F. This matches what you are reporting.

If you recently drove through deep water or if the car was exposed to intense water flow such as from a pressure washer, this could explain the 66F readings. It might clear up on its own by drying out, especially if you park it in the sun.

If the contacts are corroded, drying won't help but spraying the contacts and the connector with electrical contact cleaner might help. Replacement is also an option.

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  • Thanks for looking at my question. I guess it's corroded then. I haven't driven thru any flood waters recently :) and I guess it's too hard or I'm too lazy to take my bumper off to reach it. I guess I'm on notice to replace it if it stays at 66F. Thanks again.
    – Classified
    Jul 15, 2023 at 1:21

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