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How to Check If a Camshaft Position Sensor Is Bad: What to Know

How to Check If a Camshaft Position Sensor Is Bad: What to Know

Do you want to make sure that your car’s engine is operating as efficiently as it possibly can? Of course you do. Your engine is obviously one of the most important aspects of your entire car, which is why it’s so essential for you to take good care of it. One way to do this is by making sure that the camshaft position sensor is working properly at all times. This means learning how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad. Find out what exactly a camshaft position sensor is and how you can tell if it has gone bad on you below.


What Is a Camshaft Position Sensor?

Before you discuss how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad, you need to be familiar with what a camshaft position sensor is. The camshaft position sensor isn’t a part that the average car owner knows too much about despite its overall importance in the grand scheme of things. You should take the time to educate yourself more with regards to your camshaft position sensor prior to doing anything else.

 

The camshaft position sensor that sits right near the camshaft in your car’s engine is an electrical component that is connected to your car’s engine control module. It’s designed to monitor the camshaft in your engine while it’s rotating so that it can let your engine control module know what’s going on. Your engine control module is then able to take the information provided by your camshaft position sensor to control the ignition timing fuel injection in your car. Without this information, the timing of your car’s engine would get thrown all off, and this would hurt its overall efficiency.

How Does a Camshaft Position Sensor Work?

Now that you have a better idea of what a camshaft position sensor is, we want to talk a little more about how it works when you have your car turned on. It should help to give you a better understanding of why it’s so important to have a fully-functioning camshaft position sensor in your car. It’ll also shed some light on why you need to know how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad.

 

This is the process that plays out when it comes to your car’s camshaft position sensor:

  1. The camshaft in your car’s engine spins when you have it turned on
  2. The camshaft position sensor keeps a close eye on the camshaft to see how quickly it’s spinning
  3. The camshaft position sensor lets your car’s engine control module know how quickly the camshaft is spinning
  4. The engine control module compares the information it receives from the camshaft position sensor with the information it receives from the crankshaft position sensor
  5. The engine control module adjusts your car’s fuel injection based on the info it receives from both the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors

This process might seem simple enough. But it takes place over and over and over again while you have your car running. This pushes your camshaft position sensor to the limit by forcing it to work almost all the time, which can eventually cause it to wear down. As a result, you need to be aware of how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad so that you can replace it as needed.

How Often Does a Camshaft Position Sensor Need to Be Replaced?

The good news for those who are now worried about the camshaft position sensor in their cars is that, fortunately, you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing yours too often. Generally speaking, most camshaft position sensors last for as long as a car does and won’t ever need to be replaced. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still learn how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad. There is no guarantee that yours is going to last for the long haul!

 

It’s not all that uncommon for camshaft position sensors to break down on car owners and stop working altogether in some cases. Since they’re strategically placed right near a car’s engine, the heat from the engine can cause damage to it. There is also tons of other wear and tear that can result in a camshaft position sensor breaking down on a driver. It’s why you shouldn’t put off learning about how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad.

Is Your Camshaft Position Sensor Failing? How to Check If a Camshaft Position Sensor Is Bad

There is at least one really easy way to tell that your car’s camshaft position sensor has gone bad on you. Even if you don’t know how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad, you’ll notice it right away when it happens. Your car’s check engine light will usually pop on when your camshaft position sensor has gone bad and produce a code that’ll let you know you need to install a new one in your vehicle.

 

That’s far from the only indication that a camshaft position sensor has gone bad, though. There are also lots of other signs that will indicate an issue with your car’s camshaft position sensor. You should keep your eyes peeled for them and consider taking your car in for service if you spot them at any point. Here are several of these signs:

  • Your engine stalls out all the time, both right after you start your car and when you’re driving it
  • Your car fails to start altogether when you stick your key into it and turn it
  • Your car struggles to accelerate like usual when you step on the gas pedal
  • You can sense that your engine’s cylinders are misfiring when your car is turned on
  • Your car begins to get really bad gas mileage for some unexplained reason

By knowing how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad, you can prevent one from wreaking havoc on your life. You’ll be able to steer clear of all the signs we just mentioned and get your camshaft position sensor working like normal again once you have it replaced.

Can You Continue to Drive With a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor?

If you suspect that you might have a bad camshaft position sensor in your car, there is no way that you should even think about driving it. In most cases, you aren’t going to have an option since your car might not start with a bad camshaft position sensor. But even if you are able to get it to start, it’s still not a good idea to be out driving around in a car with a bad camshaft position sensor in it.

 

Why? Well, for starters, you’re not going to get very good gas mileage out of a car with a bad camshaft position sensor. It could cost you a fortune to fill a car up at the pump when it has a bad camshaft position sensor. You’re also going to put other parts of your engine at risk if you attempt to drive around in it with a bad camshaft position sensor. Plus, you could find yourself stranded somewhere if you can’t get a car with a bad camshaft position sensor to start.

 

For all of these reasons, you should stop driving a car with a bad camshaft position sensor and seek service right away. It’ll prevent you from finding yourself in a bad position later on.

Where Should You Take Your Car to Get a New Camshaft Position Sensor?

There are a number of different sensors scattered throughout the inside of your vehicle. You might think that you need to call on a specialist for help when it comes time to replace them. But in reality, you won’t need a specialist to replace a camshaft position sensor or any other kind of sensor for that matter in most instances. All you’ll need is an ASE-certified mechanic to assist you in figuring out how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad.

 

You can take your car right to your regular mechanic more often than not for camshaft position sensor replacement. They’ll be able to diagnose the exact issue with your car’s engine and fix it for you in a hurry. They’ll make sure that you don’t have to worry about putting another new camshaft position sensor into your vehicle anytime soon.

Can You Replace a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor Yourself?

Do you have a little bit of experience working on cars? If so, replacing a camshaft position sensor might be a breeze for you. Putting a new camshaft position sensor into a car in place of a new one isn’t the most difficult job in the world. The biggest problem that you run into might be getting to the camshaft position sensor, which can be a pain in the butt to access in some vehicles.

 

All of that being said, it’s definitely worth noting that having a camshaft position sensor replaced falls on the lower end of the spectrum as far as auto repair costs are concerned. You shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have a new camshaft position sensor installed in your car. It’s why you might want to seriously consider paying someone else to do it as opposed to tackling the job on your own.

How Much Does a New Camshaft Position Sensor Cost?

After hearing about how important a camshaft position sensor is to the overall well-being of your car, you might be under the impression that it’s going to cost a ton of money to replace it. People tend to get worried when they hear that they need to have their car’s engine worked on. But the truth is that the cost to install a new camshaft position sensor in your car isn’t that much. It’s actually going to cost you a lot less than you might guess.

 

On average, camshaft position sensor replacement is only going to cost you between $180 and $250. That includes parts, which come in at anywhere from $100 to $150, and labor, which should be under $100 when everything is all said and done. There is always a chance that you may need to have additional work done in and around your engine, which could drive the price up. But if the only thing that you need is a new camshaft position sensor, it’s not going to break the bank.

 

With this in mind, it’s even more important for you to learn how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad. By catching a problem with your camshaft position sensor early, you can have it replaced for next to nothing and prevent other problems from popping up under your hood.

Is the Cost of a Camshaft Position Sensor Worth It?

Are you planning on keeping your current car and driving it around for at least several more years? If so, then you’re going to find that camshaft position sensor replacement will be well worth the costs associated with it. For under $250 in most cases, you can have a brand-new camshaft position sensor put into position so that you can be sure it’s able to carry out its job from now on.

 

The only time you might not want to pay the price to have camshaft position sensor replacement done is when you have a very old car with other engine issues. You should still know how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad in an old car. But if you discover that it does, in fact, have a bad camshaft position sensor, selling your car rather than replacing the camshaft position sensor might be your best option.

How to Sell a Car When It Has a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor

If your car has a bad camshaft position sensor in it, you might struggle to sell it to a private buyer in the traditional way. It’s going to be awfully hard to drum up much interest in a car that doesn’t start or that idles rough. But you might be able to sell a car with a bad camshaft position sensor in it to junk car buyers if you would like. They’ll give you top dollar for you in spite of its camshaft position sensor issues.

 

Cash Cars Buyer can pay you cash for your car, even if it doesn’t have a working camshaft position sensor in it. Once you know how to check if a camshaft position sensor is bad and determine that your camshaft position sensor is, in fact, bad, we encourage you to call us to get an offer for your car. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.