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Camshaft Position Sensor: Complete Guide To Increase Your Engine’s Efficiency

Hands of car mechanics replacing a camshaft position sensor

The engine control system receives critical information from the camshaft position sensor. The ECU receives data on the positioning of the crankshaft and camshaft. Injection sites and ignition estimation are made easier using this position data. Most of the camshaft sensors are located near the camshaft sprocket ring. Injector pulse and spark timing can be adjusted using this data.

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When you press the accelerator pedal, a modern engine camshaft position sensor detects which cylinder is in its power stroke relative to the crankshaft position. This sensor then supplies gasoline and a spark to ignite the engine. A small but crucial magnetic device is called a camshaft position sensor.

Types of camshaft position sensors

The three main types of camshaft position sensors are listed below:

  1. Hall effect camshaft position sensor
  2. Magnetic camshaft position sensor
  3. Variable reluctance camshaft position sensor

Hall effect camshaft position sensor

This type is similar to inductive sensors in that it responds to the exact notches and is placed in the same places. Instead of producing an analog AC signal, it creates a digital signal. The sensor turns on or off as the notches pass it.

Magnetic camshaft position sensor

This in itself produces a sine wave signal of alternating current (AC) and voltage. The camshaft or the distributor may contain it.

because it is close to the camshaft, which is equipped with a permanent magnet. Each time the magnet passes the sensor, the magnetic field is generated and the resulting pulse is sent to the ECM for processing.

Variable reluctance camshaft position sensor

Similar to a solenoid or DC motor, variable reluctance (VR) sensors, commonly called mag (magnetic) sensors, are constructed with a wire looped around a permanent magnet. They have two cables, a signal cable and a ground cable, and are passive and do not require an external power supply.

Camshaft position sensor location

The sensor is located near the cylinder head. The camshaft and timing rotor are easy to read from this position. The signal is decoded by the electronic control unit (ECU) located at the angle of the camshaft. The signal issued by this sensor determines whether or not the cylinder is recognized.

In today’s automotive start-stop engine technology, this sensor examines the expansion stroke of the cylinder. You will be warned if a camshaft sensor becomes damaged before it stops working. Simply remove the hood for the specific engine in question to find it sits directly at the rear of the engine for convenience and ease of use. Close to the output shaft of the transmission is where a speed sensor is located.

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Camshaft position sensor function

The functions of the camshaft position sensor are listed below:


If you look closely, there is a strong magnet next to the crankshaft. Steel pins or pins placed at regular intervals around the crankshaft can also be seen. This magnet continuously generates a magnetic field. The steel pins surrounding the crankshaft rotate around this field as the engine fires. As a result of the change in the field, an alternating current signal is generated.

In addition, this tells the engine management system “engine computer” how fast the engine should run. As an outcome, the EMU can location and speed of the camshaft to improve ignition and fuel injection.


Think of the situations where you are running at full throttle. The rotational speed of the crankshaft is continuously monitored by the computer, compared to the desired range, and the speed is adjusted as necessary. This adjustment can include both an increase and a decrease in speed. Essentially one dual air brake system is two braking circuits or systems merged into one.

Camshaft Position Sensor Symptoms

The camshaft position sensor can fail due to overuse or an accident. Before the engine completely shuts down and your camshaft position sensor is completely faulty, there are a few warning signs that will appear and it should be replaced right away.

Starting problems

The most typical sign of a broken or malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor is difficulty starting the car. When starting an engine, the crankshaft position sensor monitors information such as crankshaft position, speed and other critical factors. If the crankshaft position sensor is not working properly, the car may start intermittently or not at all.

Illuminates Check Engine Light

The check engine light on a car usually comes on when the camshaft position sensor is not working properly. This occurs when a vehicle’s PCM registers one or more timing-related trouble codes. Every car has an OBS system that effectively monitors the car’s hardware and software. It can see deterioration of a component before it completely fails, causing undetectable performance changes. In addition, a scan will be performed to collect a number of them error codesso they know what the real problem is.

Low fuel efficiency

A faulty camshaft position sensor can leave the fuel injectors open excessively, allowing more fuel to enter the combustion chamber. The engine will not function as effectively as it should because of this inaccurate information from the camshaft position sensor. If this continues, the engine may knock and be seriously damaged.


Another common sign of a broken crankshaft position sensor is intermittently crashing. The crankshaft signal can be interrupted while the engine is running if there is a problem with the crankshaft position sensor or even the wiring, causing the engine to stall. This often indicates a wiring problem. This symptom can be caused by a crankshaft position sensor that is not working properly.

Uneven acceleration

Your car won’t accelerate very quickly if your camshaft sensor starts to fail. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can travel at a top speed of 30 mph. Even if the timing is off by just a few milliseconds, improper fuel delivery and ignition will result in poor acceleration. In addition, it causes your car to stutter, move at a slow pace, have no power, stall or even come to a complete stop.

Irregularly idle or vibrating

At a red light or elsewhere, you may hear the engine moan or vibrate. This results in vibrations that are generally lower engine performance because the sensor does not track the location of the crankshaft. The vibration can also interfere with the engine’s ability to keep track of mileage. A mechanic should analyze any strange vibrations as soon as possible.

Engine failure

A faulty crankshaft position sensor can cause cylinders to misfire, which can cause the engine to stutter. Cylinder misfires occur when the crankshaft position sensor malfunctions because it cannot provide accurate information about the position of the pistons in the engine. While bad spark plug timing is possible, if the spark plugs are fine, the crankshaft sensor is more likely to be the problem.

A decrease in fuel consumption

If somehow the crankshaft position sensor fails to provide accurate timing data, fuel injectors will not pump fuel into the engine correctly. The engine consumes more fuel than necessary on both short and long journeys, reducing overall fuel consumption.

Replace camshaft position sensor

For most cars, replace the camshaft position sensor will cost between $200 and $400. However, some vehicles may have a lower price. Replacing the camshaft position sensor requires a number of steps, which are listed below.

  • You must first cut the negative battery cable.
  • You now need to find the sensor. It probably has a connector with two or three wires connected.
  • To disconnect the cables from the sensor, release the tab on the sensor.
  • Remove the mounting bolt securing the sensor to the engine as soon as possible.
  • The damaged sensor can be removed by giving it a slight twist.
  • You must put some engine oil on the sensor O-ring before installing a replacement sensor.
  • Use the mounting bolts to install the new one camshaft position sensor
  • .Reconnect the sensor wire connector properly.
  • Finally, reattach the battery’s negative terminal.
  • Then test the camshaft position sensor by driving the vehicle.


When an engine has variable valve timing, it is extremely important to monitor the piston-valve interaction using a crankshaft sensor in conjunction with a camshaft sensor. To make sure the management system knows when to inject fuel, this method is also used to synchronize a four-stroke engine when it first starts. That wraps up this article’s discussion of the definition, purposes, elements, and diagrams, as well as the different types, processes, and signs of a faulty crankshaft position sensor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the camshaft sensor fails?

Camshaft position sensor the data transfer starts to slow down. If the ignition timing and fuel delivery are off by a few milliseconds, your car will stall, sputter, accelerate slowly, lose power, and even stop altogether.

How much does it cost to replace a camshaft position sensor?

If diagnosed correctly, replacing a camshaft sensor is not an expensive task. Standard cars cost between $200 and $400.

Can a car drive without a camshaft position sensor?

The most crucial engine management sensor is the crankshaft position sensor; without it the engine cannot function.

What happens if your transmission speed sensor fails?

Since the engine control unit cannot operate the gear levers properly without a speed signal from the sensors, this will pose a problem. The transmission will therefore not work correctly.

Amir Hussain

Amir Hussain is the founder of Freemium World, a geek by nature and a professional Blog writer . I love to write about new technology trends, social media, hacking, blogging and much more.

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