6 Most Common Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms

All modern vehicles have a crankshaft position sensor. It is a component for monitoring the crankshaft’s rotational speed and position. It also sends a report to the engine control unit so that the latter can make the right adjustments should anything be malfunctioning. There are several failure crankshaft position sensor symptoms that you should pay attention to. Many engine models stop functioning if this component fails to send accurate signals.

The Most Common Failure Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms

The purpose of the camshaft position sensor is to measure the rotations and the position of the crankshaft. And the engine module will use this information to control the ignition and fuel injection timing. The speed and position of the crankshaft are two key parameters that the car’s computer uses for engine management calculations. So, you may understand how important it is for the sensor to work without any glitches. Let’s learn about some crankshaft position sensor failure symptoms so that you can take action when there’s a problem.

1. Check engine light is on

Crankshaft Position Sensor Problems
Check engine light comes on if the sensor is overheated. (Photo: Auto Net TV)

It can come on for various reasons and sensor problems are one of the crankshaft position sensor symptoms. Sometimes, it stops working due to overheating and causes the check engine light to turn on. In that case, cooling down the engine for some time will cool off the sensor too, and turn the light off. Otherwise, you will need a mechanic to check the car’s computer to determine the source of the trouble.

2. Vibrations in the engine

crankshaft position sensor symptoms
Vibration from the engine is usually the cause (Photo: pixels)

A failed sensor means no monitoring of the crankshaft position. It causes the engine to start vibrating heavily. Ultimately, the juddering can affect the engine power and mess with the recording of mileage.

3. Slow response from the accelerator

The accelerators sometimes cannot follow up (Photo: quebec95)

If the sensor is facing any trouble, it won’t send correct information about the position of the cylinders. It means there will be a gap between the computer receiving data and applying it. When your vehicle’s speed increases, there’s a need to be changed the sparks and fuel timing. If the rotations are not being measured by the sensors, it makes sense why the car doesn’t accelerate smoothly.  For this reason, the accelerator hesitates and does not give a real-time response.

4. Erratic starting

crankshaft position sensor symptoms
One of the most serious crankshaft position sensor symptoms (Photo: Christopher Brummett)

It’s one of the most serious crankshaft position sensor symptoms. The computer receives a malfunction code when the sensor is completely gone. With the engine control module not being able to read the RPM or position of the crankshafts, it won’t be able to know when to command the spark or fuel for the combustion. The symptom starts with difficulty in starting and leaves the car dead one day if you don’t get it fixed. The starting problem could be the result of an electrical connection or circuit problems too.

5. Misfiring of the cylinder

Failing Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms
A misfiring cylinder is a common response to sensor problems. (Photo: Escondido German and Tesla Auto/Youtube)

It’s a common response when your car experiences some crankshaft position sensor symptoms. A failing sensor cannot provide correct information about the piston position, causing one of the cylinders to misfire. An issue with the spark plug will also draw the same response. However, if the problem persists after handling all the other issues, the sensor is likely to be the culprit.

6. Stalling and backfiring

It’s a common response when your car experiences some crankshaft position sensor symptoms. A failing sensor cannot provide correct information about the piston position, causing one of the cylinders to misfire. An issue with the spark plug will also draw the same response. However, if the problem persists after handling all the other issues, the sensor is likely to be the culprit.

There are a number of different problems that can cause symptoms similar to when the crankshaft position sensor is damaged. The above signs may be due to a fault in the ignition system or the fuel injection system. Before you conclude that the crankshaft position sensor is faulty, you may need to do some checks, but the best way is to take the car to the garage.

How to test Crankshaft and Camshaft Position Sensors? Check out the video below:

Temporary Fix For Crankshaft Position Sensor: Is It Possible?

Many auto experts affirm that there’s no way to temporarily fix the bad crankshaft position. To get the best quality for the engine system, the crankshaft must work at 100% capacity so when this sensor gets damaged, replacing it with a new sensor is the best method we recommend. The replacement process is quite simple and it will not cost too much for you to buy a new crankshaft position sensor. Although there’s no recommendation to repair the crankshaft, in some emergency situations, you can apply some tips below to debug the problem: 

Shut off and restart your car engine

Switching off and restarting the engine is the first method you can try if your car doesn’t start due to a damaged crankshaft position sensor. You should wait until the engine cools down before restarting the car. This method can help your car operate for a prolonged period because at this time the engine will cool and limit the overheating engine. It will separate the oil from the crankshaft position sensor. 

Check and add the fuel level

When the crankshaft sensor malfunctions, the ECM will deliver the wrong amount of fuel to the car engine. This causes your car to consume too much fuel in some situations. Check the fuel level to know the condition and fill more fuel to make sure the combustion system operates properly. 

Besides the 2 main methods above, you can refer to other methods:

  • Disconnect the crankshaft position sensor
  • Clean the crankshaft sensor
  • Check the oil level

Thus, the crankshaft position sensor has an important task to help calculate the basic early ignition angle and fuel injection timing for the best engine operation. Please regularly check the crankshaft so that you can safely travel on all roads!

If you have any questions about Crankshaft Position Sensor, don’t hesitate to give us a comment in the box below, and our auto experts will answer them for you.