- The P0070 code stands for “Ambient Air Temperature Sensor Circuit,” which means the powertrain control module (PCM) detects a potential issue in the ambient air temperature sensor or the sensor’s circuit.
- Some of the common causes of the P0070 code include a defective ambient air temperature sensor, PCM failure, and circuit problems.
- An illuminated check engine light, malfunctioning air conditioning system, and inaccurate instrument cluster and overhead console temperature readings are common symptoms of the P0070 code.
On-board diagnostic (OBD) codes are designed to help mechanics and drivers identify potential issues in a vehicle. But before attempting any fixes to resolve these codes, it’s important to know exactly what they mean.
The P0070 code is one of the thousands of error codes that may be set by your vehicle’s primary computer. Read on to learn more about its possible triggers and common symptoms.
What Does the P0070 Code Mean?
Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0070 stands for “Ambient Air Temperature Sensor Circuit.” It is logged when the powertrain control module (PCM) detects a potential issue in the ambient air temperature sensor or the sensor’s circuit.
Code P0070 comes from a family of codes, all pointing to issues with the ambient air temp sensor:
- P0071, Sensor Circuit Performance
- P0072 Sensor circuit low
- P0073 Sensor circuit high
- P0074 Sensor circuit erratic
The ambient air temperature sensor monitors ambient air and sends the data it has gathered to the PCM. This information is used to display outside air temperature and to modify the operation of the automatic climate control system (if needed).
However, if the information sent by the ambient air temperature sensor varies significantly from the input of the intake air temperature (IAT) and engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensors, the PCM will recognize this as a discrepancy and log code P0070.
If you have a Ford (especially a Ford Focus), BMW, Volkswagen, or Mini, your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics may register code P0070, and you must have the issue checked by a technician as soon as possible.
Note: The definition of code P0070 may be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.
What are the Possible Causes of the P0070 Code?
Code P006B can be set for a number of reasons. Here are the most common:
- Defective ambient air temperature sensor
- PCM failure
- Circuit problems
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0070 Code?
You may notice the following symptoms if you drive a vehicle with a stored P0070 trouble code:
- Check engine light is on
- Malfunctioning air conditioning
- Inaccurate instrument cluster and overhead console temperature reading
How to Diagnose the P0070 Code
Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician: If your scan tool gives live data, pull up the ECT, IAT, and TOT PIDS (Engine Coolant, Intake Air, and Transmission Oil Temps) and compare them with each other after the vehicle has been sitting for three or four hours and make sure they all agree within a degree or two. If a sensor doesn’t agree with the other two, it bears investigation.
Note, however, that diagnosing code P0070 may be tricky, as it is a generic code with several possible causes. A good rule of thumb is to only follow the diagnostic procedures specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This is because the process may vary from model to model. For instance, the process for diagnosing a code P0070 on a BMW may not be the same as the process for diagnosing a code P0070 on a VW.
Refer to a vehicle-specific repair manual for the appropriate diagnostic strategies. If you don’t have much experience when it comes to DIY automotive repair, it may be best to leave this job to the experts.
How to Fix the P0070 Code
P0070 may share similar triggers and symptoms with other trouble codes. However, that does not mean they share solutions as well. All vehicles are different, so you should always refer to the factory repair information specific to your car before DIY-ing any repairs.
Consult a repair manual or repair database before attempting any fixes. Look for confirmed solutions that are specific to your vehicle. If you aren’t confident in your automotive repair skills, it may be best to enlist the help of a professional.
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Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.