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P0110 Code – What Does It Mean & How To Fix It

This is one of the most frequent OBD2 trouble codes. Read the full article below to know what it means, how to fix it, and what other codes may show related to it.

Definition

The P0110 Code is a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) which stands for Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit (Bank 1). 

It occurs when your vehicle’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM) receives a signal from the intake air temperature Sensor circuit. The Sensor is reading that the air temperature isn't matching the factory settings of your vehicle. 

Meaning

The Intake Air Temperature Sensor is literally designed to detect the air temperature coming into your vehicle’s engine. The Sensor is powered and constantly monitors changes in order to determine if there’s a possible problem with the engine. 

The IAT Sensor sends constant feedback to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). The ECU controls fuel management among other things. If the sensor detects too radical a change in temperature, it trips a circuit breaker that displays a warning on your vehicle’s display.

Without a proper reading from the IAT, the Engine Control Unit will not be able to manage the fuel efficiently.

Causes

The Intake Air Temperature Sensor can be tripped for a variety of reasons

  • The IAT Sensor could be worn out or is damaged. This is actually the most common problem when it comes to getting an P0110 error
  • The sensor might not be receiving the correct amount of voltage
  • The Engine Control Unit may not be receiving the correct voltage from the IAT
  • Your engine may have serious problems such as poor fuel pump pressure or even internal problems

Symptoms

Common symptoms involving a P0110 Code include but are not limited to:

Acceleration Issues

  • The vehicle acts sluggish or erratic during normal operation

Idling

  • Lots of unusual vibration when the vehicle is at a stop 

Backfiring

  • This will occur if the IAT Sensor and the Throttle Position Sensor are not properly synched

Engine Performance

  • If you experience frequent power loss or performance issues. This could be happening when driving up steep hills or when attempting to overtake traffic.

Vehicle Starting Issues

  • If your vehicle sounds like it isn’t getting enough fuel or if your battery is constantly weak when starting up. 

Diagnosis

The easiest way by far to diagnose the P0110 Code is to use an Onboard Diagnostics II Scanner. All vehicles produced since 1996 have this very handy port built into them. Any auto repair garage has this scanner. 

Basically the mechanic will plug the scanner into the port, reset the fault code and take the vehicle for a short test ride to see if the code will trigger again. 

The OBD scanner will tell the mechanic certain information about the IAT such as if it’s getting the correct voltage, and if the sensor is sending that data to the ECU. If the correct voltage isn’t being sent, then the problem is most likely the IAT Sensor. 

The mechanic will also check any wiring and connector on the IAT to make sure it isn't faulty or loose. 

Common mistakes

Sometimes because of not following the diagnostic steps properly, the IAT Sensor might not be shown to be at fault. Make sure the mechanic or technician has performed the following:

Voltage

  • The vehicle technician must check all wiring and connectors on the IAT sensor to make sure that it is truly receiving the correct voltage.
  • The technician must also verify that the ground wire coming from the sensor is properly installed.

How serious is this?

The P0110 Code is not something you want to ignore, hoping that it’ll simply go away. A faulty Intake Air Temperature Sensor problem is serious business. 

If your engine is running poorly, or you’re having problems even starting your vehicle, it’s best to take it to your local garage to have it looked at ASAP. 

What repairs can fix the code?

The use of an OBD-II scanner will normally let you know what’s going on with the IAT Sensor. If it appears that the problem is voltage, the technician should disconnect, inspect and clean the IAT connection points. 

Once reconnected, the technician will see if the sensor is still having problems. By gradually increasing the voltage to the sensor, the technician should be able to verify if it’s operating correctly. 

An old air filter may also cause problems for the IAT, so checking that out would be normal for the technician.

If voltage is in the correct parameters, it’ll be easy enough to tell if the IAT Sensor needs to be replaced. If the IAT is verified to be working, then the mechanic will keep working to determine if the problem may be the MAP Sensor or the ECU. It’s extremely rare that the problem is either one of these. 

Related codes

  • P0202 - Fuel Injector
  • P2187 - Fuel Mixture, Poor Idling
  • P0128 - Engine Temperature Issues
  • P0045 - Supercharger or Turbocharger Problems
  • P0018 - Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS) or Injector Issues
  • P0136 - O2 Oxygen Sensor
  • P0350 - Ignition System
  • P0020 - Variable Valve Timing (VVT)

Conclusion

Your vehicle’s “Check Engine” light might be annoying, but it’s there for several reasons. You can choose to ignore it, or do something about it. 

When you get a P0110 Code, you really need to get to an auto technician who can professionally verify the problem. This will potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in repair costs. It’ll  also restore your vehicle’s efficiency and give you peace of mind in the long run.