Common Crankshaft Position Sensor Failures: Symptoms And More!

Your car has many different sensors on board, one of which is the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor. Like any other car part, the crankshaft position sensor can eventually fail, and when it does, it can cause a variety of problems and signs. Stay until the end and discover the symptoms and common faults of the crankshaft position sensor here .

A faulty crankshaft position sensor can turn on your car’s check engine light, leave you stranded, and much more. It’s a problem you’ll want to fix right away

How does a crankshaft position sensor work?!

The crankshaft is a rotating assembly within the engine that connects to the pistons and connecting rods. When the engine is running, the linear movement of the pistons causes the crankshaft to rotate, thus creating the necessary rotational force to move the vehicle.

As you may know, the CKP sensor measures the position and speed of the engine’s crankshaft. The sensor creates a signal by reading a sprocket or notch which is usually located on the crankshaft or harmonic balancer. For this reason, the location of the crankshaft position sensor is usually at the lower front of the engine, although its location can vary from vehicle to vehicle .

The engine computer, often referred to as the powertrain control module (PCM) , uses the signal from the CKP sensor to calculate spark timing and (in most cases) fuel injector timing.

The PCM can also use the crankshaft position sensor signal when managing other functions, such as the variable valve timing system, if the vehicle is so equipped. On all vehicles built after 1996, the module also uses the crankshaft position sensor to detect an engine misfire .

Common Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms and Failures

Because the crankshaft position sensor is a primary input to the PCM, the sensor can cause a number of different problems when it fails. Some common crankshaft position sensor failures are:

1- Check Engine light on

The PCM monitors the crankshaft position sensor and its circuit. If the module detects a problem, it will turn on the check engine light and store a corresponding Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) in its memory.

2- The engine refuses to start

A gasoline engine needs three main ingredients to run: spark, fuel-air mixture, and compression. When the crankshaft position sensor fails, the PCM doesn’t know when to fire the spark plugs and pulse the fuel injectors. As a result, the engine can run out of fuel and/or spark, resulting in a vehicle that refuses to start.

3- Difficult start and/or shutdown of the engine

When the crankshaft position sensor is bad, it can produce a weak or erratic signal instead of failing completely . As a result, the vehicle may exhibit difficulty starting and/or shutting down due to an inadequate supply of spark and fuel.

4- The engine runs badly and has misfiring

An erratic crankshaft position sensor can cause the PCM to misjudge fuel injector pulse and spark timing, resulting in a rough and misfiring engine.

As a driver, you likely interpret misfiring as a subtle shudder or stumble that can intensify when the vehicle is under load. If not corrected, the misfiring can cause damage to other parts of the vehicle, such as the catalytic converter.

5- Reduction of fuel consumption

Obviously, an engine that is running rough and misfiring (due to a faulty crankshaft position sensor) will experience a reduction in fuel efficiency . A faulty crankshaft position sensor can also prevent fuel saving equipment such as variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation systems from working properly.

Can you drive with a faulty crankshaft position sensor?

rting, which in turn will prevent you from driving the car. In this case, you will have no choice but to fix the problem immediately.

But even intermittent crankshaft position sensor issues need to be addressed immediately, as such issues can lead to a car stalling and rough starting, making the vehicle unreliable and unsafe. But now that you know what the common faults of the crankshaft position sensor are, you can take your precautions.

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