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Symptoms Of a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor


Camshaft Position Sensor

This guide will show you the symptoms of a failing or bad camshaft position sensor, as well as other useful information about this crucial engine component.
The camshaft position sensor monitors the camshaft’s rotation, determining when valves open and close. Most camshaft sensors are located near the camshaft’s notched ring.
These camshaft sensors usually utilize a magnet to create or change an AC electrical signal. This signal is then used with a crankshaft position sensor to determine when a position is getting close to top dead center (TDC) on the compression stroke. This information helps with fine tuning.

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Symptoms Of a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor

We have listed the symptoms of a bad or failing camshaft position sensor below:

Poor Fuel Mileage

The opposite of giving your engine adequate gasoline would be not giving it enough gasoline, which would lower your fuel economy. In this situation, an inaccurate reading from a malfunctioning camshaft position sensor is causing more fuel to be pumped into the engine than is necessary.

Transmission Not Shifting

If your car’s camshaft position sensor is faulty, it may cause the transmission to become locked in one gear. The only way to get it out of that gear is to turn off the engine, wait a few moments, and then restart it.
This is only a temporary fix and the problem will come back. You may also not be able to shift gears or go above a certain speed.

Poor Acceleration

Once your camshaft sensor starts to go bad, your car will jerk and won’t be able to speed up quickly. In some cases, you’d be lucky to get past 30 miles per hour. The incorrect fuel supply by the injectors is once again the cause of the weak acceleration.

Engine Stalling

The most dangerous thing that can happen to your car is not being able to start it, but having it shut down or stall while you’re driving. This is because the fuel injectors aren’t being told to inject fuel into the cylinders. We strongly advise against this!

Car Jerking

If the camshaft position sensor malfunctions while you are driving, the engine will sometimes lose power, resulting in your car shaking or surging forward unpredictably.
Both of these issues arise when the PCM gets faulty information from the camshaft position sensor. This leads to the incorrect amount of fuel being pumped into the cylinders.

Issues With Ignition

As a camshaft position sensor degrades, the signal it sends to a car’s computer also deteriorates. If the signal becomes too weak, the car may not start because there is no spark from the ignition.

Check Engine Light Illuminates

If your camshaft position sensor is not working correctly, you will see the Check Engine light come on your dashboard. This is the first sign that something is wrong and you should have it checked out as soon as possible. The Check Engine light can indicate a variety of issues, not just a problem with the camshaft position sensor.


In this scenario, you can either use an OBD2 scan tool to get the stored diagnostic issue code(s) in your automobile, or have a professional mechanic analyze the vehicle’s engine control module to discover what’s wrong. They will also scan this module for a series of error codes that will reveal the true nature of the problem.
When your Check Engine light comes on, you should not ignore or postpone scanning or having your car tested; otherwise, your engine may suffer catastrophic damage. It’s possible that the engine will completely fail, which would force you to rebuild or replace it.

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Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement

If the camshaft position sensor fails, you may find yourself waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road. Even if the engine is still running, find a qualified engine performance specialist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. This fix should take no more than a few hours.
This is usually a low-cost fix. Depending on the manufacturer, the sensor will cost between $50 and $100. Depending on the car, installation can cost anywhere from $40 to $200, depending on the area. Other elements of the engine, such as the valve cover, may need to be removed to access the sensor.
Other expenses, such as gaskets, can run an additional $20-$40. Always compare regional rates and book an appointment with a service center close to you to get the best deal.

How To Test Camshaft Position Sensor

Testing a two-wire sensor

Initially, a resistance test is required for the two-wire system – magnetic type. To check the connector, set the AC volts setting on the multimeter and make sure it is free of dirt or mud.
Next, have someone turn on the ignition to continue testing the crank position sensor; however, do not start the engine.
Attach the probe or metal part to the ground, and the other one to the sensor wires. If the current continues to flow, that’s a good sign.
Now restart the engine and look for the indication this time. Connect one of the probes to one of the sensor wires, and the second probe to the other wire. The result will be displayed by the reader. If there is a signal, you are fine to go; if not, repair is required.

Testing a three-wire sensor

If you need to test the three wire signal crankshaft position sensor, follow these steps. First, identify which three wires are the power, ground, and signal wires. Once you have done that, you can proceed with the test.
This time, use the multimeter to measure DC volts. To do this, start the engine without turning on the ignition key.
In order to test the voltage, you will need to touch one of the black probes to the ground and the other to the power line. The reading will appear on the digital display, and it must correspond to the standard in your manual.
Turn on the engine and use the red probe to touch the signal wire and the black probe to touch the ground wire. If the readings are less than the specified value, it’s a bad sensor.

How To Reset The Camshaft Position Sensor

To reset the check engine light, first disconnect the battery via the negative battery connection. Let the car sit for an hour before reconnecting the battery. This will completely drain the devices’ power and erase any short-term memory.
If your crankshaft position sensor is not working properly, it can cause your car to stall while driving or not start at all. You may want to contact an experienced technician to come out and take a closer look at your rough idle issues and run some tests to provide a more personalized diagnosis and repair cost.

Where is the Camshaft Position Sensor Located?

The camshaft position sensor is most often located near the camshaft, at the top of the valve cover. However, in some cases it may be mounted on the side of the cylinder head. If you are having trouble finding it, simply look around the head or valve cover for any electrical lines.

What makes a Camshaft Positions Sensor Go Bad?

If your camshaft position sensor is not working properly, you may notice a variety of signs and symptoms. It is important to figure out what is causing the sensor to fail so that it can be fixed right away. Possible causes of camshaft sensor failure include:

Poor Wiring

The wiring harness on your camshaft sensors can fail and cause a lot of problems. According to the torque wrench center blog’s extensive study, this occurs when the voltage is incorrect or when there are issues with the return circuit or ground circuit.
If your wiring harness is dirty or has debris on it, it can cause voltage problems that can damage the wiring.
If the camshaft sensors malfunction, you’ll have to restart your vehicle frequently because it won’t allow the engine to run continuously for extended periods.

Crank Walk

This is caused by the crankshaft slipping into the belt region. Crank walk happens when the main or core thrust bearing becomes old and worn out.
The crankshaft will remain in its new position over time, and the metal plate inside the crank sensor will strike the side of the sensor every time the engine or engine’s belt spins.
If you hear sharp clicking sounds with each engine belt revolution or rotation, this could be indicative of a problem with the crankshaft. If left unchecked, the crankshaft can eventually wear down and split into pieces. This can be a very serious issue, and if it happens while you’re driving, it could cause your engine to entirely shut down. Therefore, it’s important to regularly check the crankshaft for any signs of wear or damage.


If you drive your car for long periods of time on a hot sunny day or park it in the open sun without shade, your camshaft sensor can be damaged by excessive heat. This can also cause problems for the rest of your engine.
The engine generates a lot of heat, which can be a problem if your engine doesn’t have adequate ventilation or lubrication, or if your radiator isn’t working properly.
If this occurs, the plastic casing around the crankshaft sensor will eventually break down or melt due to the heat. Without the camshaft sensor sending data about fuel or ignition to the engine, your car will not start.


If your engine fails and your scan tool warns of dirt, oil, moisture, or any water damage to the camshaft, it is just as harmful as overheating. These things accumulate over time inside the engine and surrounding it, making them simple to clean, but difficult to notice.


Even if your vehicle looks to be in good condition on the outside, any minor incidents or accidents that have occurred in the past where parts of your engine may have been damaged, could be the cause.
Even a minor accident can damage or destroy cables, loosen oil caps, and cause oil leaks. If the camshaft is damaged, it will disrupt the signals the sensor sends.

Timing Belt

The timing belt in your engine is probably damaged or torn as a result of an accident or collision. If the belt does tear or snap, it will wrap around the crankshaft, causing damage to other parts and sensors.
The damage from the snapped timing belt will most likely cause the camshaft sensor to tear first. This will also damage the wiring harness and sensors.
You can repair the timing belt, but that won’t fix the other problems that resulted from the ripped belt. The entire camshaft sensor will eventually be ruined if it is not repaired as well.

What happens when a camshaft position sensor goes bad?

Poor Drivability

If a camshaft position sensor fails, it can no longer quickly relay data. Even a slight delay in fuel delivery and ignition timing can cause your car to splutter, accelerate slowly, lack power, stall, or even shut down.

Can one drive with a bad camshaft position sensor?

If you don’t fix a camshaft position sensor, you may have more problems with your vehicle’s ignition system, which could lead to expensive repairs.

How much does it cost to change a camshaft sensor?

How much does it cost to replace a camshaft position sensor? This is usually a low-cost fix. Depending on the manufacturer, the sensor will cost between $50 and $100. Depending on the car, installation can cost anywhere from $40 to $200.

What does a bad camshaft sound like?

Backfiring and popping sounds coming from your engine is an indication that your camshaft is damaged. At lower speeds, you may notice cylinder misfires. You may also hear tapping and ticking noises coming from the upper engine if your camshaft lobes are worn.
Watch this Youtube video to hear the noises that a bad camshaft makes.

What does camshaft sensor do?

The camshaft sensor is used by the engine control to detect the precise position of the crankshaft. This data is used to calculate the ignition and injection points, among other things.

Is Camshaft sensor easy to replace?

You can remove and replace the camshaft sensor from underneath your car, or from the top by removing the air filter housing. The signal from the sensor to the engine control module might be affected by oil and rust.

How long can you drive with a bad camshaft?

If your camshaft ignition sensor is not working properly, your car will not break down immediately. You can still drive without one, but your vehicle’s performance will gradually worsen over time.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article on Camshaft Position Sensor. We have tried to cover all the bases on this topic. If after reading this article you are still having trouble finding a solution to your Camshaft sensor problem, we suggest you visit a qualified mechanic who can help you fix it.

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