Since the engine uses the readings from both the crankshaft and camshaft sensors, a malfunction of either sensor could affect your engine’s readings and performance.
The camshaft sensor is always operational when you are driving the car, or the engine is running. For this reason, the camshaft sensor can become poor over time. The ring gear may also wear out and interfere with the readings.
6 Symptoms of a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor
- The engine won’t start
- Check engine light comes on
- Poor engine performance
- Engine misfire & vibration
- Problems with shifting gear
- Bad Fuel consumption
The camshaft position sensor can be damaged over time by an accident or regular wear and tear. Sometimes it is also damaged by oil leaks and cracks.
Here is a more detailed list of the 6 most common symptoms of a bad camshaft position sensor.
Engine Won’t Start
The most common symptom of a bad camshaft position sensor is that the car will be more difficult to start or not starting at all. As the camshaft sensor becomes weaker, it does not send the signal to the on-board computer and as a result, the ignition system cannot produce a spark correctly. No spark means that the engine will not start at all, indicating that the camshaft sensor has failed. Newer cars will detect that the camshaft position sensor is not functioning properly, then they will use the crankshaft position sensor instead.
Check Engine Light Comes On
The check engine light illuminates for many reasons, including when the camshaft position sensor fails. In a lot of cases, the only symptom you will have from a bad camshaft position sensor is a check engine light on your dashboard. If the check engine light on your car lights up, it is recommended that you visit a car specialist and have your car scanned to check the trouble codes. You can also do this with an OBD scanner at home. People usually ignore the “check engine” light without knowing that this could be a sign of something serious, including engine damage.
Poor Engine Performance
One of the most common problems that occur due to a poor camshaft position sensor is that the engine’s power drops dramatically. You will notice frequent stalling, idling, and a drop in engine speed. Fuel efficiency also decreases. All these problems should be addressed immediately, and they usually occur because of a damaged camshaft position sensor. This is most often because the engine can go into Limp mode when you have a broken camshaft position sensor.
Engine misfire & vibration
In addition to engine vibrations and stalling, a poor camshaft sensor also leads to engine misfires, which may cause vibrations while accelerating. If you feel that your car engine’s performance got reduced, together with a check engine light on the dashboard, it’s definitely time to check your car’s trouble codes.
Problems with Shifting Gears
In some cars with automatic transmission, the transmission won’t change gears properly if you have a bad camshaft position sensor. This may be because the engine will be in limp mode because of the trouble code from the camshaft position sensor.
Bad Fuel consumption
Lowered power because of the camshaft position sensor can also cause a higher fuel consumption. This is pretty rare when it comes to a faulty camshaft position sensor, but it is not impossible. If you experience a high fuel consumption you should absolutely check the trouble codes for any codes related to the camshaft position sensor.
What is a Camshaft Position Sensor?
The camshaft sensor’s core functionality is to work in combination with the crankshaft sensor of your vehicle. Its purpose is to determine the position of the camshaft drive very precisely. As a result, it generates signals in the same way as the crankshaft position sensor. It helps the engine determine the exact time the first cylinder is in the top dead center position.
The engine system uses the information generated by the camshaft for various purposes. Essentially, the information helps to start the injection process during the sequential injection. It also supports the actuation signal for the pump nozzle injection system and calibrates the knock control.
The Hall principle is the core working concept of a camshaft sensor. A ring gear on the camshaft is scanned, and the rotation of the ring gear causes a change in the voltage of the Hall IC located in the sensor head. This induces a change in the voltage transmission of the control unit. The information resulting from the change is read electronically and evaluated by the computerized system to record it. In other words, a bad camshaft can also interfere with the functionality of the crankshaft position sensor, and ultimately it will cause various problems for the overall experience you have with your vehicle in terms of engine performance.
Camshaft position sensor location
The camshaft position sensor is always located near the camshaft, often at the top of the valve cover, but it can also be installed from the side of the cylinder head.
Check around the head or valve cover and follow any electrical wires and you will for sure find the camshaft position sensor.
Camshaft Position sensor replacement cost
The average replacement cost for a camshaft sensor is between $100 and $250. The part itself costs between $75 and $120, while labor costs range from $30 to $130. A little market research will help you get the best price for the part and the associated labor costs.
On average, this part is not very expensive, and the cost of replacing a camshaft position sensor is between $75 and $120 for most vehicles. These prices can vary depending on which supplier you buy it from, where you live, and which company makes it. The cost of replacement in a luxury car can be relatively much higher. If you don’t replace the camshaft position sensor yourself, the labor cost of replacement would be an additional $30 to $130, depending on which car dealer you get it repaired by. If you were to replace it yourself, the cost of replacement would be nearly halved. It can be easily replaced using the tools you most likely already have.
Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. I have been working with cars for 10 years, specialized in diagnostics and troubleshooting. I created this blog because I was tired of finding false information on the web while looking for repair information. I hope you enjoy my content!