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Bad Camshaft Position Sensor Symptoms & Replacement Cost

May 15, 2017 | Engine Info

In this article, we will discuss the camshaft position sensor, which is one of the many electrical parts found inside of a car. A lot of people confuse the camshaft position sensor with the crankshaft position sensor because they sound similar. But you must understand the difference between the two because they perform different functions in the vehicle and have different symptoms when something goes wrong with them.

What is camshaft position sensor?

Every modern-day vehicle has a camshaft position sensor. This sensor is a very important part of any vehicle because it helps ensure that the engine is running properly. The camshaft position sensor is built next to the engine, which is right underneath the hood of the vehicle. The only thing is that you may have trouble spotting the sensor when you first open your hood. Usually, different car manufacturers and brands will have their own unique spot near the engine for installing the sensor in. You may find it either in back of the cylinder head, in the lifter valley of the vehicle, or next to the engine block.

Common Symptoms of a Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor

  1. Check Engine Light illuminates

When your camshaft position sensor is faulty or starts having some problems, the first thing you should notice is that your “Check Engine” light is illuminating on your dashboard. Of course, the “Check Engine” light could indicate a variety of problems and not necessarily a faulty camshaft position sensor.

In this case, you should have a professional mechanic perform an inspection on the vehicle’s engine control module to see what is going on. They will scan this module in order to receive a series of error codes which will indicate to them what the real problem is. Please do not ignore or postpone getting your vehicle inspected when your Check Engine light turns on or else your engine could end up getting seriously damaged. The engine could even end up failing altogether, which means you’d have to purchase an entirely new engine and replace your old one.

  1. Troubles with Ignition

There are certain model cars which won’t give you an ignition spark when there is a problem with the camshaft position sensor. This means the engine will not start because of it.

  1. Engine Performing Terribly

You may experience a bad performance from your vehicle which includes surging, difficulty starting, misfiring, and abnormal acceleration.

  1. Car Jerking

If you are driving your vehicle and the camshaft position sensor starts failing, the engine will be losing power which will cause your car to start jerking.

  1. Weak Engine

You will easily be able to notice when your engine loses power. Aside from jerking, your vehicle won’t be able to accelerate very fast. Heck, you’d be lucky to accelerate past 35 miles-per-hour.

  1. Problem Shifting w/ Automatic Transmission

Certain cars with a bad camshaft position sensor will end up with a locked transmission that stays stuck in a single gear. The only way you’ll be able to get out of that gear is to shut off your engine and then turn it back on. But then, the shifting problem may come back again at any time after that.

Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost

To replace a camshaft position sensor, you can expect to pay anywhere from $134 to $193. This amount includes labor costs which may range from $70 to $89, and it includes parts costs which average from around $64 to $104. There will also be additional fees and taxes added on to these costs as well.

Read also: 5 Causes of Manual Transmission Hard to Shift

Tips and Info:

When you bring your vehicle in to get a regular checkup at the auto shop, the mechanics won’t normally inspect the camshaft position sensor if they are not asked to. That is why you need to tell the mechanic if you have experienced any of the warning signs listed above. If you have, then they will immediately think to inspect the camshaft position sensor to see if that is causing these problems.

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