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An engine’s internal parts must work in synchronicity to produce any power. This timing has to be coordinated carefully using a number of data providing devices, such as the camshaft position sensor.


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What Is a Camshaft Position Sensor?

The modern-day engine relies on a central brain to help coordinate various aspects of its operation so that it is efficient and durable. This central “ECU” receives information from a variety of sources to help with this task and in particular relies on two sensors fitted to the engine and linked to crucial components. One of these information providers is the camshaft position sensor.

How Does the Camshaft Position Sensor Work?

The camshaft positioning sensor is usually fitted into the cylinder head of the motor. The reading mechanism is designed to determine how the cylinders are moving, to precisely synchronize how fuel injectors or electronic coils activate. These sensors provide a different array of data to the other important positioning sensor linked to the crankshaft, which is designed to help control the ignition timing and speed of the engine itself.

Each sensor has advanced circuitry that is designed to operate in stressful or hostile environments and to resist powerful spikes or electromagnetic forces. These sensors are designed to provide highly accurate data, especially when an engine is operating at high speed.

The most common type of sensor is magnetic and generates its own alternate current signal that is sent to the electronic control module. However, some later models require their own power source and generate a digital signal to provide the data. If the vehicle has a more complex engine, it may have more than one camshaft position sensor attached.

How is a Camshaft Position Sensor Made?

Integrated circuits are built into a toughened plastic outer shell and the device is provided with the necessary brackets, spaces, connectors and hardware. Heavy duty O-rings and seals are included.

Why Does a Camshaft Position Sensor Fail?

  • Overheating
  • Internal parts wear out
  • Connectors come loose

What Are the Symptoms of Failure?

  • Check engine light on the dashboard
  • Sudden loss of power

What Are the Consequences of Failure?

  • Inability to operate the vehicle
  • Sudden deceleration leading to an accident

As with many other moving parts in any vehicle that may wear out, it may be necessary to order a camshaft position sensor replacement. Usually, a failure will produce a specific diagnostic code, although it’s also possible to test its operation with a scope.

If you have questions or concerns about Camshaft Position Sensors or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.