6 Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor (and Replacement Cost)

Is your engine sputtering, stalling, or not starting? Maybe your engine is shaking and you’re feeling it through your steering wheel. A faulty crankshaft position sensor could be to blame.

Here’s how to recognize the common symptoms of a faulty crankshaft position sensor along with how much it’s going to cost to replace it. It’ll be a lot cheaper now than if were to ignore it.

bad crankshaft position sensor

Top 6 Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms

An internal combustion engine must have a functional crankshaft position sensor. Otherwise, the engine control unit won’t receive accurate information about the position and speed of the crankshaft.

This will cause all sorts of problems with the functionality of the engine and the car’s driving performance. You will surely recognize these symptoms as they become present.

Below are the top 6 symptoms of a faulty crankshaft position sensor.

#1 – Engine Vibrations

steering wheel shakes

Are there vibrations coming from your engine? When you have a bad crankshaft position sensor, that means the engine control unit cannot manage the crankshaft properly.

As a result of this, your engine will vibrate quite extensively. You may even feel these vibrations sinking into the steering wheel as you hold it with your hands.

#2 – Check Engine Light

check engine light

The engine control unit stays in constant communication with the crankshaft position sensor. If there is ever something wrong with the sensor, then the computer will receive improper information regarding the speed of the crankshaft and its position.

This will cause functionality problems with the engine, resulting in the Check Engine warning light activating on the dashboard. In fact, this should be one of the first symptoms of a bad crankshaft position sensor. P0335 and P0336 are two common trouble codes that may be displayed.

Related: P0016, P0017, P0018, P1345 (Crankshaft/Camshaft Position Sensor Correlation)

#3 – Weak Engine Performance

ambient light sensor

With a bad crankshaft position sensor, your engine control unit won’t know the correct position of the crankshaft or cylinders. This will cause a delay in the control unit’s ability to sustain the operation and performance of the engine.

During this delay, there will be moments of hesitation each time you step on the gas pedal a little bit harder. Sometimes it won’t respond at all. This can be very dangerous on a road that requires you to go faster without hesitation.

#4 – Trouble Starting Car

The engine control unit will be notified when the crankshaft position sensor is having problems. It is given a special malfunction code from the sensor which indicates there is some kind of problem with its functionality.

When you attempt to start your vehicle as this trouble present, it will be more difficult to get the engine going. If the problem continues without being resolved, you may not be able to start your engine at all.

#5 – Engine Stalling

rough engine idle

You may be driving along one day and have your engine suddenly stop running. This is engine stalling and it can happen quite frequently when you have a bad crankshaft position sensor.

If you don’t replace this sensor soon, your engine will eventually stop working altogether. Then you will have no choice but to get your vehicle towed to a mechanic, so the sensor can be replaced.

#6 – Cylinder Misfiring

cylinder misfire causes

A crankshaft position sensor that fails will not be able to accurately transmit data regarding the piston position to the engine control unit. This often results in a misfire inside one or more of the chamber cylinders.

Sometimes a bad spark plug can do this too but if you are experiencing any of these other symptoms, don’t rule out the possibility of a bad crankshaft position sensor.

Read also: Oxygen Sensor: Basic Function, Failure Symptoms and Replacement Cost

Crankshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost

Best places to order parts?  See: 19 Best Online Auto Parts Stores

If you experience at least two or more of the above symptoms, then you probably have a bad crankshaft position sensor. The only way to know for sure is to bring your vehicle to a licensed mechanic and have them diagnose the problem for you.

Once they have verified that it is the crankshaft position sensor causing the problem, then you can proceed to have the sensor replaced.

The replacement cost of the crankshaft position sensor is anywhere from $120 to $300. The cost of the part itself will be around $75 to $120. The cost of the labor will be anywhere from $45 to $180.

You need to factor in the estimated taxes and other fees that will be added to the total amount as well. In the end, this won’t be a terribly expensive replacement job to get done. It is worth the investment because you are protecting the functionality of your engine.

How a Crankshaft Position Sensor Works

The internal combustion engine depends on the crankshaft for its rotational energy. The main function of the crankshaft is to convert reciprocating energy (also known as linear energy) into rotational energy.

The latter will then give power to the wheels of the drivetrain below the car. This is how the wheels can spin forward and allow the vehicle to move in that direction.

As for the crankshaft position sensor, this simply detects how fast the crankshaft is spinning. Once it detects the spinning rate, it sends this information to the engine control unit of the vehicle.

This information will determine how the engine control unit regulates the timing of the fuel injection system and ignition system. You need the timing to be just right for the engine to produce the proper amount of power.

crankshaft position sensor replacement cost

The crankshaft position tells the engine control unit all it needs to know. You see, the crankshaft uses a timing chain, gearwheels, and a belt with teeth to drive the camshaft. The engine depends on the camshaft to operate the exhaust valves at the appropriate times.

If they don’t open and close correctly, it creates problems with the exhaust system. This all links back to the functionality of the crankshaft.

Therefore, the engine control unit will know the position of the crankshaft through the crankshaft position sensor. By judging the speed of the crankshaft in conjunction with its position, it will know the status of the camshaft’s functionality too.

Mark Stevens


  1. I have a 2014 Hyundai Accent Gls. The car recently started turning off while in idle at stop lights or stop signs. When trying to start it back up, it sometimes stalls and I have to hit the gas.
    Also, while driving on freeway, going above 60, the rpm gauge meter drops down to 0.
    Any idea what it could possibly be? Thanks in advance

    1. I thought it could be the idle air control valve, until you said the problem also happens while driving on the freeway. Scan for codes, see if that gives you any clues. Make sure you’re using fresh gas (not older than a few months). Check the spark plugs to make sure they all look normal.

      You could do a smoke test to check for air leaks but without more information, all of this is just a guess. You’ll have to narrow it down a bit and look for anything that seems out of place.

  2. Hi I’m Sbu having a problem with my Kia Rio 2012 wiper not stopping when I start the car, so I took out the fuse for the wiper so that they stop

  3. hi Monique I have a 2006 lexus GS 300 , my raditor hose came off my engene block and now my caer wont start , just clicking. i was wondering waz it due to the camshaft sensor . or can you tell me what other problem you had with your cadillac..thx you so much..

    1. I have a Polo 2007 BLM engine,we were replacing a crankshaft sensor after that the car start cutting the power.What can causes that?

      1. Are you sure the crankshaft sensor is the root cause of your issue? Perhaps the car is cutting power because it can’t detect that sensor. It’s possible the problem is not with the sensor itself, but with some wiring or a bad ground.

        What was the reason for replacement of the crankshaft sensor?

  4. Have a 2010 toyota rv4 when at stop engine shut off and started make nosie when accelerating got error code p0017 p0015 p0014 change oil and vvt solenoid and camshaft sensor and it is still stalling out

    1. Are you sure you changed the correct camshaft sensor? Those codes all seem to indicate a problem with the bank 1 sensor, or possibly the wiring leading to that sensor.

  5. 1995 Chevy Tahoe stalled on highway cranks and sometimes fires but will not turn over.

    Check engine light did appear when I hit 55mph

    1. By “not turn over” do you mean it won’t start? Turning over usually means the engine crankshaft will freely rotate, but doesn’t necessarily mean the car will run.

      There could be a number of causes. You’ll have to check for air, fuel and spark to narrow down the problem.

    1. Sounds like your battery is dead. See if you can charge it with a battery tender or find another vehicle to give you a jump.

  6. My 05 Durango 4.7 L engine jerks when reaching 2,500 rpm’s I can slightly let up on gas trans shift n runs fine till next 2,500 rpm’s friend says crankshaft position sensor needs replaced is this really prob before I buy parts I don’t need hope sumone can help thx


  8. I have to use the emergency brake for park. The gear shifter is all over the place and have to start the engine in neutral. Still from left to right but have no light telling me what gear I am in. Drive is either down low and will not go into park. I have problems finding drive and try not to go to a too low gear in drive. can you help me know what is wrong and what part #it is? Also where to locate. Auto store said could not find it, or order it. The car is a 2002 buick century.

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