The Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor is used to sense engine coolant temperature. The sensor protrudes into an engine water jacket.
The ECT sensor is a two-wire Negative Thermal Coefficient (NTC) sensor. Meaning, as engine coolant temperature increases, resistance (voltage) in the sensor decreases. As temperature decreases, resistance (voltage) in the sensor increases.
The PCM compares the ECT, Intake Air Temperature (IAT), and Ambient Air Temperature (AAT) under cold start conditions. Following a start to run delay time, the sensor values are compared. If the one sensor value is not within a specified range of the other two sensors, the value is determined to be irrational.