Cars have multiple electrical components to keep them running. The failure of these electronic devices lowers the vehicle's performance or causes it to stop. A camshaft position sensor is one of the critical components contributing to the perfect operation of your engine. You should be able to identify when the camshaft position sensor is defective.
What does a camshaft position sensor do?
The camshaft position sensor determines the actual position of the camshaft to the crankshaft. The sensor is found in different locations depending on the car brand you are driving. It monitors the position of the camshaft and sends relevant data to the powertrain control module (PCM). The control unit uses this information to control fuel injection and ignition systems.
It may be difficult to spot the exact location of the camshaft sensor if you’re not very conversant with cars. The sensor is found in different places. It can be near the engine block, behind the cylinder head or at the lifter valley of the car.
Symptoms of a bad camshaft position sensor
Check engine light comes on
Several situations cause the check engine light to come on. A faulty camshaft position sensor is one of them. When the light comes on, it is vital to use a scan tool to pinpoint the exact cause of the issue. Usually, the OBD2 scan should generate the appropriate error code relating to faulty camshaft position sensors.
It is important to perform a scan at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent the fault from escalating and causing serious engine damage.
Difficulty igniting the engine
When the camshaft position sensor begins deteriorating, the signals it generates and sends to electronic control units weaken. The signals become too weak to an extent they can’t control ignition. That causes difficulty when trying to start the engine.
Engine power loss, erratic jerking and stalling
When the sensor fails, fuel injection gets poor. It causes the engine to lose significant amounts of power. The driver notices the car jerking. It can randomly surge since there is uneven fuel injection to the cylinders.
The worst-case scenario from improper fuel injection is unpredictable engine stalling. That means the engine can stop a short moment after ignition or stall when cruising at high speed on the highway.
Aside from that, poor fuel injection results in uneven acceleration. The car fails to accelerate past certain levels.
Problem shifting gears
A faulty camshaft position sensor causes transmission problems in some car models. It gets stuck in one gear. It will likely cause the vehicle to go into limp mode, making it hard for the driver to accelerate or change gears.
Replacement cost for a bad camshaft position sensor
The average cost for replacing bad camshaft position sensors ranges between $95 and $200. Parts cost around $25 and $100. The costs will be higher if the car in question is a luxury brand and depending on the labor charges by professional mechanics
A bad camshaft position sensor will result in several symptoms bearing similarities to other car problems. When you notice any of these signs, it is critical to visit a repair shop to conduct a comprehensive scan. Replacing the faulty camshaft position sensor eliminates more engine problems.
Can I personally replace a bad camshaft position sensor?
Yes. DIY enthusiasts can replace faulty camshaft position sensors at home. It is a simple procedure that requires a few minutes.
What is the procedure for replacing a bad camshaft position sensor?
- Remove the negative cable terminal of the battery
- Identify the position of the sensor
- Press the tab on the sensor to disconnect it from the connection wires
- Unmount the sensor from the engine
- Twist the sensor a bit, then pull off
- Lubricate the o-ring of the new senor
- Secure and tighten the new sensor in position
- Reconnect the sensor wire, then return the negative cable terminal of the battery.