The crankshaft position sensor monitors the rotational speed and position of the crankshaft in the engine. It reports this information to the engine management system to control the ignition system timing. The crankshaft position sensor is used with the camshaft position sensor to monitor the valves and pistons in the engine, which are an important part of the engine’s variable valve timing. Furthermore, the crankshaft position sensor synchronizes the engine once it starts, letting the management system know when to send the fuel.

The crankshaft position sensor needs to be in great condition in order to give an accurate reading. Therefore, if something is off with the sensor, the engine may exhibit different problems. Since the crankshaft position sensor is used every time the vehicle is running, there may be damage to the wheel and pin, magnetic problems, and wiring problems that can occur throughout the vehicle’s lifetime.

Wheel and pin damage happens when any of the wheel’s teeth are broken, worn, or snapped off. When this happens, the pattern of pulses that the sensor measures will be off and the sensor will become confused. The magnet part of the crankshaft position sensor can attract metal shavings that are in the engine compartment. This can throw off the sensor’s measurements as well. In addition, they can bridge between the wheel and the sensor, meaning they become closer together which also provides the wrong measurement. Wiring problems can happen anytime electricity is involved, and that is true with the crankshaft position sensor as well. The circuitry that connects the sensor to the computer’s control module can burn out. The sensor may not be able to read a signal at all if this happens.

Since the crankshaft position sensor can wear or break over time, it will need to be replaced. Watch for the following signs that indicate this is becoming an issue:

  • Poor fuel economy due to the engine using more gas
  • Engine misfiring because of the combustion being disrupted
  • Acceleration problems because the vehicle’s computer cannot make the proper adjustments
  • Check Engine Light
  • Difficult starting because the engine is not getting the proper amount of fuel
  • Stalling at low speeds because the fuel injectors are not providing enough fuel

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, have a mechanic take a look at your car. They make is simple to have your crankshaft position sensor replaced because their mobile mechanics will come to your home or office to fix your car.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Crankshaft Position Sensor Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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