The camshaft position sensor plays a vital role in the efficient operation of any modern internal combustion engine, sending signals of the engine’s camshaft position to the ECU.
Based on the signal from this sensor, the ECU determines the proper fuel mixture and ignition timing with the correct timing in the engine.
But sometimes the camshaft position sensor installed in the engine gets damaged or a wire gets broken. This can cause many problems in the engine.
In this post, we will learn about the camshaft position sensor in detail. Like, what is a camshaft position sensor? Its location, function, symptoms, and what could be the replacement cost
What Is A Camshaft Position Sensor?
The camshaft position sensor collects engine camshaft speed and position data and transmits it to the engine control unit (ECU), where the ECU determines the ignition timing and fuel injection timing required for engine operation based on the received data.
If this sensor fails, it is no longer able to monitor the engine camshaft position, intake air, or exhaust valve position.
The lower end of the camshaft position sensor has a magnetic point, which senses the sensing point of the splined ring of the camshaft. Often, the camshaft position sensor is mounted on the side of one end of the camshaft rotating above the engine head.
The camshaft position sensor sends a rotational speed and position signal from the engine’s rotating camshaft to the vehicle’s ECM. Accordingly, the vehicle’s ECM adjusts the firing sequence of the fuel mixture sprayed into the engine’s internal combustion chamber through fuel injectors according to the engine’s piston position and allows the engine to operate successfully.
What Does The Camshaft Sensor Do?
The camshaft position sensor, also known as a CKP sensor, collects and transmits data to the vehicle’s ECU about the rotational speed and position of the engine’s camshaft, as well as the opening and closing of the engine’s air intake valves and exhaust valves.
Based on the data received from this sensor, the ECU determines the proper fuel mixture and ignition timing for efficient operation of the engine, ensuring which cylinder of the engine has the piston in the TDC position and at what time. To send a firing order for the fuel mixture.
Commonly used in both modern diesel and gasoline engines. Based on the data received from this sensor, the vehicle’s ECM determines which piston of the engine needs fuel injection.
Camshaft Position Sensor Location
Typically, the location of the camshaft position sensor may vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
But, in most engines, it is usually found near the camshaft or camshaft gears. This sensor monitors the position of the camshaft, which is essential for engine timing. Therefore, on some engines, you may need a professional vehicle mechanic to locate or open the sensor.
Symptoms of A Bad Camshaft Position Sensor
Common symptoms of a faulty camshaft position sensor include a check engine light on the dashboard, poor engine performance, rough idle, decreased fuel efficiency, increased emissions, stalling, and difficulty starting.
Let us understand these signs in detail, one by one, so that you can easily recognize the symptoms of a bad camshaft sensor.
1. Check Engine Light On
The most common symptom of a bad camshaft position sensor is the check engine light coming on. Checking your light if the computer detects a problem with the camshaft position sensor. This will then activate the check engine light to alert the driver of the problem.
If you happen to have a check engine light illuminated, the computer is scanned for a trouble code. so that you can find out the reason for the illumination of the check engine light on the vehicle.
2. Trouble Engine Starting
The other most common symptom associated with a bad or failing camshaft position sensor is difficulty starting the vehicle. The camshaft position sensor monitors the position and speed of the camshaft. and other parameters that play an important role while starting the engine when the camshaft position sensor is on.
A problem vehicle may have intermittent engine starting problems or the engine may not start at all. If your faulty the camshaft position sensor is bad. so you may have trouble starting your vehicle.
3. Engine Intermittent Stalling
If you are driving and suddenly your engine stops running, or the engine stalls repeatedly while running, this could be a symptom of a bad camshaft position sensor.
If there is a problem with the camshaft position sensor or its wiring or the engine stops working completely. It may cut off the camshaft signal while the engine is running.
Due to which the engine may stall. This is usually a sign of a wiring problem. However, a bad camshaft position sensor can also produce similar symptoms.
4. Hesitation During Acceleration
A bad or failing camshaft position sensor can cause engine hesitation during acceleration or at times, you may experience uneven acceleration. when you step on the gas pedal to accelerate the vehicle. So the engine control unit receives that information about the position of the cylinders.
But if you have a bad camshaft position sensor, there will be a delay in the signal reaching the engine control unit. Due to this, the combustion of fuel in the internal combustion chamber of the engine will be interrupted.
Thereby, you will have hesitation in acceleration instead of an immediate response with incorrect input coming from the camshaft position sensor every time you step on the gas pedal.
The engine control unit cannot make adjustments to spark timing and fuel injection. As the engine speed is slowing down or uneven acceleration may result from a lack of accuracy so, maintaining a constant pace can be difficult.
5. Engine Misfiring Issue
A bad or failing camshaft position sensor can cause the engine to misfire. This could be a sign of a misfiring cylinder from a bad camshaft position sensor.
A failed camshaft position sensor can provide incorrect information regarding piston positioning in the engine, due to which the cylinder may misfire.
However, it can also be caused by faulty spark plugs and incorrect timing settings. But if the spark plugs are fine, then the camshaft position sensor is likely to be the source of the misfire.
6. Engine Vibration Issue
If your engine has a faulty camshaft position sensor, it is not optimizing engine performance. Worse, it may use an incorrect reading to determine fuel and ignition timing, and the electronic control unit does not time things correctly. Unless you fix it in the long run, the problem will only get worse and will damage the engine over time.
7. Rough Idling
Another sign of a camshaft position sensor problem is sluggish engine power when the red light is off or otherwise.
You may notice engine grinding or vibration when this happens. This means that the sensor is not monitoring the position of the camshaft, due to which vibration occurs.
Which can affect overall engine power. The shaking may be interfering with engine tracking or mileage, which should be observed and checked to see if normal vibration occurs at idle. Is it the camshaft position sensor causing this problem?
8. Low Gas Mileage
Without accurate timing information from the camshaft position sensor, the fuel injectors will not efficiently pump gas into the engine. The engine will use more gas than it needs on short and long drives, reducing overall fuel economy.
Because a bad or failing camshaft position sensor may not provide an adequate signal to your ECM about the position of the engine’s pistons.
Due to this, the fuel combustion of the engine will be interrupted. Due to this, the performance of the engine will decrease and the engine will provide less gas mileage.
9. Poor Engine Performance
The camshaft position sensor sends a measurement of the position of the engine’s camshaft to the electronic control unit, which uses it to optimize your engine.
If there is a problem with the camshaft position sensor and the ECM begins to read incorrect information too soon, you may experience a decrease in engine performance for your vehicle.
When the ECU detects that the default values have been used by the electronic controls, it will revert itself to the default values. Then the engine will not perform well.
Causes of A Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor
Causes of a faulty camshaft position sensor can be wear and tear, oil contamination, or electrical problems. Apart from this, aging of the sensor, accumulation of oil or debris on the sensor, damaged wiring or connectors, or mechanical problems in the timing chain can also cause its failure.
1. Oil Contamination Sensor
The camshaft position sensor is fitted on the inside of one end of the camshaft of the engine head. In which the flow of engine oil is continuous.
Dirt accumulates in the engine due to the old engine oil getting heated or rotting. Freezes at the sensing point below the camshaft position sensor. Due to this, this sensor becomes unable to give a signal. If this happens, try cleaning and reinserting the camshaft position sensor.
2. Sensor Overheating
A camshaft position sensor is used in an internal combustion engine. And it overheats with the engine running and excessive engine oil flow inside the engine. Overheating can damage or fail the camshaft position sensor.
3. Wiring Issue
The most common reason for a faulty camshaft position sensor is damage to the wiring. If the wiring to the sensor is damaged in any way, the camshaft position sensor will be unable to send an engine pinion position signal to the ECM.
This can cause the ECM to disturb the air/fuel ratio in the engine’s fuel mixture, due to which the combustion process of the engine can be interrupted. Due to this, the engine can cause many problems.
4. Sensor Damage Due To Water
The camshaft position sensor is an electronic component. If water or moisture remains around this sensor for a long time. Then this sensor can be shorted, due to which the camshaft position sensor becomes unable to function.
Camshaft Position Sensor OBD-II Trouble Codes Meaning
Camshaft Position Sensor OBD-II Trouble Codes Meaning Is :
- P0340 – Camshaft Position Sensor No Signal
- P0341 – Camshaft Position Sensor Wrong Signal
- P0342 – Camshaft Position Sensor ‘A’ Circuit Low
- P0343 – Camshaft Position Sensor ‘A’ Circuit High
- P0344 – Camshaft Position Sensor ‘A’ Circuit Intermittent
How To Detect Camshaft Position Sensor Malfunction?
The first step to diagnosing the camshaft position sensor is if you observe any of the above symptoms in your vehicle and your vehicle performance has deteriorated.
So first of all, you have to get your vehicle scanned with the help of a digital scanner. If the scanner displays any codes related to the engine camshaft position sensor in your vehicle, Then you have to fix the problem related to this sensor based on the fault code.
You will be able to locate the camshaft position sensor-related trouble codes with the help of a digital scanner. Whether the camshaft position sensor is faulty or not.
If there is a wiring issue with the camshaft position sensor, you can repair the wiring and if the camshaft position sensor is bad, replace it with a new one.
Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost
On average, camshaft position sensor replacement costs can range from $150 to $230. A new camshaft position sensor can cost between $80 and $130, and mechanic labor costs can range between $70 and $100.
Taxes and duties are not included in this estimated cost, and the camshaft position sensor replacement cost may be slightly higher or lower depending on the vehicle model.
However, the cost of camshaft position sensor replacement can vary depending on the mechanic’s location, the vehicle’s make and model, and mechanic labor costs. If you replace the camshaft position sensor yourself, you can save on mechanic labor costs.
Q. What happens when your camshaft sensor goes out?
Whenever a vehicle’s camshaft position sensor is bad or fails, Then this sensor is unable to signal the engine’s valve and piston position to the ECM.
This can cause the ECM to disturb the air/fuel ratio in the engine mixture. And with it comes a mismatch in fuel delivery and ignition timing. This results in engine starting problems, vibration, jerking, a loss of performance and low fuel mileage.
Q. Can you drive with a faulty cam sensor?
You can, however, drive a vehicle with a bad or failing camshaft position sensor. But we do not recommend running it for a long time.
Because you have driven the vehicle for a long time with the problem, there is an internal fault in the engine of your vehicle. And the vehicle will also consume more fuel.
Q. Can you replace the camshaft sensor yourself?
Yes, if you have the camshaft position sensor proper tool. And you have little experience to convert it. Then you can replace this sensor yourself. But while fitting this sensor, keep in mind the rubber ring and pasting. Because of this, there is a risk of engine oil leakage.
Banty is the owner of Autorepairszone.com & is also a vehicle mechanic by profession. We have almost 12 years of experience in the field of automotive repair, and we strive to provide you with accurate information about vehicle malfunctions and repairs based on our experience.