What Are Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Sensor?

What Are Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Sensor?

| By: Christian Brothers Automotive

Your car has a variety of sensors on board that regulate other parts of your car and keeps your performance in check. Without properly working sensors in places like your engine, your car can become increasingly unreliable in more ways than one, and you run the chance of being stranded with a broken down car. Many of these sensors are extremely important, and the crankshaft position sensor is one of those.

Today, the auto service technicians at Christian Brothers Automotive are here to discuss why the crankshaft sensor is so important to your vehicle, what the symptoms of a bad crankshaft sensor look like, and what to do if you suspect it to be to blame for your recent engine problems.

What's a Crankshaft Position Sensor?

Your engine couldn't run smoothly without the crankshaft position sensor. Why? It’s the only thing in your engine that monitors the position of the crankshaft. What’s a crankshaft? The crankshaft is an incredibly well engineered, internal, metal component, about 2 feet long, that is connected to and works directly with your engine’s pistons. What does a crankshaft do? As pistons move up and down with intense linear motion and power, the crankshaft is rotating and receiving that linear power and simultaneously converting that linear power into rotational motion and rotational power. It is heavily involved in transmitting the engine’s power to countless other parts of the vehicle.

In modern cars, the position sensor provides useful information to the engine management systems, helping control and regulate the fuel injection, ignition timing, RPM, and more. Without a functional crankshaft sensor, your engine would not run properly.

Early Symptoms of a Crankshaft Sensor Going Out

Crankshaft sensors don't have a set schedule of when they need to be replaced, but you can expect parts in your vehicle like this to start having problems, if they didn't already, around the 100,000 mile mark.

You can save yourself from dealing with the fallout of a bad crankshaft sensor by having it inspected as soon as you notice any of the following signs:

  • Check engine light illuminating on your dashboard

  • Difficulty starting engine or stalling while driving

  • Rough idling and engine misfires

  • Increased vibration and rough riding

  • Noticeable decline in fuel efficiency

How to Tell if Your Crankshaft is Faulty

If your engine refuses to start and your ignition continues to click over without any success, you may be able to blame it on a faulty crankshaft position sensor. Without it, your engine will have trouble knowing when to fire the spark plugs or even inject fuel, so good luck getting things started!

How to Test a Crankshaft Position Sensor

If you're able to locate your crankshaft position sensor under your hood, commonly found either in the front or the back of the crankshaft on a bell housing or tucked behind something, you can complete the following test to determine if your engine not starting can be blamed on your sensor:

  1. Inspect the sensor: Look for signs of damage to the housing, as it can commonly get burnt or covered in dirt, oil, or other debris and stop working correctly.

  1. Use a multimeter: If you have a multimeter on hand, pull it out, put it on the ohms setting, and take the sensor's measurement.

  1. Read the results: The meter should read a resistance value anywhere from 200 to 1,000 ohms (or more depending on the model). If it has 0 ohms, it will need to be replaced.

What Causes Damage to Your Crankshaft Sensor?

The general use of your car will generally cause wear and tear to your sensor, because it's used every time you drive and because most car parts will not last forever. However, in case there’s something going on besides normal wear and tear, it’s important to know what may have, or is, causing damage to your crankshaft sensor.

The two most common causes of damage to the crankshaft position sensor include:

Extreme Heat

Although it isn't the most ideal situation, the housing on the outside of your vehicle's crankshaft sensor is plastic.

If you've been pushing the limits of your engine, your engine has recently overheated, or you just live in hot weather, this plastic can melt away, causing the sensor to become exposed and become dirty or damaged by heat or water.

Electrical Problems

Loose, worn-out, or damaged wiring can disrupt signals sent to and from the crankshaft sensor, causing it to malfunction. The good news is that this rarely has anything to do with the sensor itself. The bad news: you'll have to seek out help determining the cause of the circuitry problems.

Need Help with Your Engine & Crankshaft Problems? Request Your Repair Today!

Wondering how you're going to repair your vehicle's crankshaft problem? Not sure where your sensor is located? Want to have a professional inspection done as soon as possible? Christian Brothers Automotive is here to help!

Once your vehicle arrives at our shop, we'll get started with a free courtesy inspection to check your vehicle’s overall health and condition and see if there are any obvious signs of problems. Next, we’ll dive into our expert diagnostic services to help you understand what's causing your vehicle's problems. Whether your crankshaft sensor is the reason why your car's engine has been misfiring or something else, you can rest assured you'll receive recommendations and repairs that are comprehensive and long-lasting. You’ll also benefit from our Nice Difference Warranty, which covers the repairs up to 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes last and benefits you the most. We’re about fixing cars, but we’re also about Driving Joy!

Don't wait any longer – get your bad crankshaft sensor fixed today. Locate your nearby Christian Brothers Automotive shop and schedule your visit today.

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