6 Camshaft Position Sensor Failure Symptoms & Replacement

Jerry Wilson
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What is a Camshaft Position Sensor?

Cars use camshaft position sensors to check whether the camshaft is rotating correctly.

The camshaft position sensor is one of the most important sensors in the vehicle. It’s also one of the easiest to fix in most cases.

These types of sensors are also commonly referred to as a crankshaft sensor and each sensor is called a cylinder because the cylinder refers to the path of the engine’s rotation. Some of the things that you can do to avoid this problem are keeping your car’s engine oil at the proper levels and maintaining your car’s general maintenance.

As a camshaft position sensor ages it tends to have problems and should be replaced to reduce the risk of engine damage. If your check engine light is on, then the sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

This will save you the extra money you spend on repair bills when the sensor becomes damaged.

Symptoms of a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor

A bad camshaft localization sensor will often cause the “check engine light” to come on, and a car may crank and not start; may stall at idle; or show shifting issues, such as early or late. The camshaft localization sensor may also cause rough idling or poor performance.

The camshaft localization sensor senses the rotation of the camshaft and sends it to the engine management system. This system can then use that information to help turn the fuel injectors on and off more effectively, helping reduce emissions and increase performance.

The camshaft localization sensor mount to the engine block. The sensor has two pieces. One is a mechanical camshaft style that is connected to the crankshaft. The second is an electrical portion that is controlled by the engine management system.

How to Replace a Bad Camshaft Position Sensor

An engine management system (EMS) is one of the most important parts of a modern vehicle. It’s in charge of monitoring a vast array of data collected by sensors throughout the engine.

The data is then used to ensure the engine is operating at the desired conditions: speed, load, fuel/air ratio, etc.

The engine management display on the dashboard is usually a touch-screen or a digital cluster and is used to show you the operating conditions at any given time.

One important piece of data is the camshaft position sensor (CPS). The camshaft position sensor is a critical part of the engine management system and is used to indicate the time position of the camshaft in reference to the crankshaft. The camshaft position sensor also functions as a source for the engine control unit (ECU) to control the fuel injection time and amount.

Most of the fuel injection systems are controlled by the vehicle’s computerized engine management system (EMS). The EMS first determines how long the engine is drawing fuel and injection time based on the engine’s input demands.

In general terms, the EMS relies on inputs from several control sensors to provide the engine with the appropriate amount of fuel.

This ensures the best possible fuel economy while keeping the engine running at the most appropriate temperature and speed.


The camshaft position sensor is one of those parts on a car that you can’t see on the outside but that you really don’t want to break down. If this happens to you, you’ll want to see if the sensor has failed.

This part can cause you to stall when you accelerate without even knowing what’s going on, so it’s always a good idea to test it when you have a problem that might be from the sensor. As always, don’t hesitate to contact a trained professional to get your problem solved.


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