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What does a camshaft do?

What does a camshaft do?

There are many components in an engine, and it's hard to know how each one works. The camshaft is one of the parts that synchronizes your car's engine. The camshaft is a very important mechanical part of a car's engine. It controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. Want to know exactly what the camshaft in your car does? Check out our blog article on camshafts.

What is a camshaft?

Also known as a timing shaft, this part is vital to the smooth running of your vehicle's engine.  A camshaft is a mechanical component used in internal combustion engines and other mechanical applications to control the movement of intake and exhaust valves.

It is a shaft that is usually mounted in the engine's cylinder head and has eccentric lobes or cams, hence its name. This component consists of a long steel cylinder containing the "cams". Cams are mechanical projections in the form of drops whose positions and orientations are designed to adapt valve opening and closing times to the needs of the engine.

How does a camshaft work?

The camshaft and camshaft sensor play an essential role in an engine's performance and efficiency by determining how long and when the valves open and close, thereby influencing the amount of air and fuel admitted to the combustion chamber. Good camshaft design can improve engine power, torque and fuel economy.

When a vehicle's engine is started, the camshaft begins to rotate. During this movement, the cams exert pressure on the valve tails, which are mounted on springs. This pressure pushes the valve tails outward to allow air to enter or gases produced during combustion to escape.

After the cam has passed, the springs act on the valve to return it to its initial position. The speed of the camshaft depends primarily on the vehicle's engine speed.

The shaft controls the opening of the valve. A spring keeps the tail closed when the cam is not advancing. In fact, the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves depend on engine speed.

The degree and time of opening depends on the shape of the cams. The rounder they are, the longer the opening time. The longer the opening time, the sharper and longer the cams.

What types of camshafts are there?

There are several types of camshafts, each with a different function depending on engine requirements:

  • Side-mounted camshaft
  • Overhead camshaft
  • Dual overhead camshaft

Side-mounted camshaft

The side-mounted camshaft is a type of camshaft that used to be installed in certain engines, but is rarely used today. The special feature of this camshaft is that it doesn't activate the valves directly, but must transmit the movement of the engine speed to large steel rods called "rocker arms" located on the sides of the engine.

The Overhead Camshaft

The overhead camshaft is located at the top of the engine and drives engine speed directly from the crankshaft to the valves at the top of the engine.

The Dual Overhead Camshaft

While its operation is essentially the same as an overhead camshaft, adding a second overhead camshaft to an engine makes it more efficient at high rpm, making it an essential component of cars designed for competition.

How much does it cost to replace a camshaft?

Depending on the type of camshaft your car has, the price of this part can vary from simple to triple. Typically, the price ranges from $100 to $300. If the camshaft sensor needs to be replaced, add an average of $10 to $100.

Then factor in the cost of labor. This can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours of work by an experienced mechanic, depending on where the camshaft is located. In the end, you'll spend between $300 and $1,000 for a camshaft replacement, including parts and labor.

Now you know everything you need to know about camshafts and the symptoms of wear. It's an essential part of keeping your engine and vehicle running smoothly.

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