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How can I tell if my camshaft position sensor is faulty?

How can I tell if my camshaft position sensor is faulty?

Like any other part of your engine, the camshaft and its sensor need to be carefully monitored to prevent more serious engine problems. Would you like to know the symptoms of a faulty camshaft? In this article, we'll walk you through the most common symptoms of a bad camshaft position sensor and give you advice on what to do if you encounter this problem.

What's the purpose of a camshaft position sensor?

The role of the main camshaft position sensor is to measure the position of the camshaft, which controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It plays a critical role in the precise timing of fuel injection and ignition, ensuring efficient combustion and reduced emissions. It also helps optimize valve timing and facilitates the diagnosis of engine problems, making it a key element in engine performance, efficiency, and reliability.

How can I check if the camshaft position sensor is defective?

Your engine's camshaft is normally expected to last the life of your car. But certain symptoms can give you a clue as to your camshaft's operating condition! Here's a list of the most common symptoms that indicate it's time to take your car in for a camshaft inspection.

Check Engine light on: A faulty camshaft position sensor can trigger the Check Engine warning light on the dashboard, indicating a potential engine problem.

Engine stalls: In severe cases of camshaft position sensor failure, the engine may stall abruptly, making driving dangerous.

Car won't start: A faulty cam position sensor can cause starting problems by affecting the timing of fuel injection and ignition.  

Uneven idle: A faulty cam position sensor can cause the engine to idle erratically, misfire, or accelerate suddenly, which can affect low-speed stability.

Poor fuel efficiency: Poor timing of fuel injection and ignition due to a faulty cam position sensor can result in inefficient combustion. When the camshaft position sensor is not working properly, the amount of fuel injected into your engine is not calculated correctly, and in some cases the injectors may inject too much fuel, causing you to use more fuel than usual.

You notice transmission problems: On some vehicles, a damaged camshaft position sensor can lock the transmission in a gear. You can't drive properly without restarting the engine.

The ECU puts the vehicle in degraded mode.

Engine power is reduced.

Any of these symptoms can occur individually or in combination. In most cases, the check engine light will come on at the same time as one or more of these symptoms.

What causes camshaft position sensor failure?

Several factors can contribute to camshaft position sensor failure, including

  • Electrical damage:The CMPS is an electrical component and can be damaged by electrical shorts, corrosion, or rodent damage.
  • Mechanical damage:The CMPS can also be damaged by mechanical interference, such as a loose timing chain or belt.
  • Normal wear and tear: Like any other component, the CMPS will wear out over time. This can make the sensor less accurate or even cause it to fail.

Can I drive with a faulty camshaft position sensor?

If the camshaft position sensor fails, it means that critical information needed to run the engine is no longer available. Fortunately, to keep the engine running smoothly, the computer has all the information it needs from the remaining sensors. As a courtesy, the computer will replace the missing data with an alternative value. This may result in a slight reduction in engine power and fuel efficiency.

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