P0116 Code: Definition, Symptoms and How to Fix ECT Error Code

This article is aimed to discuss the P0116 Code, its symptoms, causes, and possible ways to fix trouble Code P0116.

Auto manufacturers design certain components such as the engine to run at a specific heat temperature and exceeding that preset limit will trigger the engine check light.

The P0116 Is an OBD-II trouble code that denotes a faulty Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor 1 Circuit Range/Performance.

The powertrain control module receives a signal from the engine coolant temperature sensor, which detects the coolant temperature (PCM). The readings are then adjusted by the PCM using the data it has received.

Engine coolant temperature sensor performance difficulties will result in the powertrain control module emitting error code P0116.

I’ll show you possible reasons why a vehicle’s ECT will provide incorrect readings, its causes, Symptoms, and possible fixes.

What is the P0116 Engine Code?

Diagnostic problem code P0116 A general error code called DTC indicates that the engine control module has noticed that the engine coolant temperature circuit1 has risen above the limit set by the manufacturer.

A resistor called the thermistor is responsible for recording the temperature of engine coolant and it’s mostly located in the cylinder head/block with a 2-wire sensor, one connected to the dashboard, and the other end is grounded.

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Meanwhile, the ECT sensor is in charge of regulating the resistance that goes to the PCM depending on how the thermistor records the temperature, all these data are in turn used by the vehicle’s computer to checkmate the engine temperature.

The car’s computer also has the ability to modify any incorrect signals but when the corrections become too much, it’ll result in engine overheating and increased fuel mileage.

P0116 Code – Symptoms

Here are noticeable symptoms to watch out for to determine if your car has run into the P0116 error.

  1. The check engine light will Ignite
  2. Slow engine
  3. Overheating
  4. Abnormal Fuel consumption
  5. Hard start

A P0116 code can be initially noticed by checking if the check engine light is ignited. Also, you will notice your vehicle will start to idle while driving. Overheating isn’t exempted from the noticeable symptoms of P0116.

In addition, you’ll likely tow or push your motor before the engine will finally responds in cold weather. The vehicle in most cases will function normally after it’s ignited.

Although, the symptoms vary depending on manufacturers’ fail-safe methods for the vehicle.

P0116 Engine Code – Causes

Here are some major causes of the P0116 engine code.

  1. A problem in the wiring harness of the ECT
  2. A Bad Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
  3. Insufficient engine coolant
  4. Faulty coolant thermostat
  5. Low electricity flow into the ECT Sensor

How to Repair the P0116 Engine Code

Here are some repairs you can resort to in order to fix the P0166 code

  • Engine coolant temperature sensor replacement
  • Replacing faulty wire connections between the ECT sensor
  • Change a faulty thermostat
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Most times, issues in the wiring harness can be identified by performing a visual inspection of the ECT sensor.

The price for fixing a faulty ECT sensor is usually between $75 to $100 depending on the mechanic.

How serious is the P0116 Engine Code?

The P0116 error number is a minor problem that you shouldn’t leave unattended for too long. If the engine warning light on the dash is activated by this error code and is not rectified promptly, you could fail the emission inspection.

The code could also cause your car to get into failsafe mode, a mode where some components won’t work on your car accompanied by rough idling, misfiring, or stalling.


Q: What happens when the coolant temperature sensor goes out?

The coolant temperature sensor may glitch and provide the computer with incorrect information, the computer is confused by this behavior, which prompts it to increase the fuel mix in an incorrect proportion.

Q: Where is the ECT sensor located?

The ECT sensor is located and can be found near the thermostat in the cylinder head or in the radiator.


The P0116 engine code should be addressed almost immediately to prevent further damage to other auto parts.

In addition, I advise you seek the service of a professional mechanic since it’s an engine defect.