Imagine you are on a trip driving or just running errands, and then your vehicle starts stalling after halting at traffic. It is an indication that your car is losing its engine power, and the camshaft sensor could be the issue.
The camshaft sensor is crucial for your car because it ensures the engine runs properly. Thus, most vehicles in the modern day have a camshaft sensor. If any of the sensors fail and you find it hard to accelerate or the engine stalls, there is a need to replace the sensor.
Are you wondering what to do after replacing the camshaft sensor?
After changing the camshaft sensor, ensure you cancel the engine controller’s error codes after failing to use a diagnostic scanner. A new sensor restores the engine’s proper functioning if it fits right.
It is also good to note that you cannot repair the sensor, and if it fails, you cannot reuse it; the only solution is to get a new one and replace it.
Do you have any questions about camshaft sensors? Its functions, signs it has failed, replacement costs, and what to do after replacing it?
You are about to get the answers, so continue reading!
What is Camshaft Sensor, and how does it work?
The camshaft sensor works with the crankshaft sensor to help define the exact spot of the crankshaft drive.
It is not easy to spot a camshaft sensor by only looking under your vehicle’s hood.
Mostly, you will find that each car manufacturer has a particular spot near the engine where they mount the sensor. It can be at the back of the cylinder head, in your car’s lifter valley, or even next to the engine block.
The camshaft position sensor helps determine the camshaft’s position since it is connected to the crankshaft. The data from the sensors is then sent to the powertrain (PCM) module for use with the ignition system or the fuel injectors.
When to Replace a Camshaft Position Sensor?
Here are the symptoms to check out if you need to change your camshaft position sensor;
If your camshaft sensor has a problem, it starts to weaken and makes the signal transmitted to your vehicle’s computer weaken.
Eventually, the signal sent to the computer gets very weak, such that it can’t start the car because there is no spark for igniting it.
Check Engine Light Illuminates
If your camshaft position sensor has an issue, the first thing you will spot is the illumination of the check engine lights on the dashboard. However, you should note that the check engine light could indicate many issues, not just a faulty camshaft position sensor.
So, it would be best to use a diagnostic scanner to help you retrieve the trouble codes in your vehicle. You can also get an expert mechanic to inspect the engine control module of your car and know what could be the problem.
Please ensure you scan your car immediately when the check engine light comes on, do not assume it or keep postponing because it can cause severe damage to your engine.
Failing to solve the problem with the camshaft as soon as you see the check engine lights illuminating could also make it fail, and it will cost you more to replace the engine.
Problem Shifting Gears
When some cars have a problem with the camshaft position sensor, they get locked transmission, which might remain stuck in one gear. Sometimes, your vehicle can go to limp mode, meaning you will not be able to accelerate or shift the gears beyond a certain speed.
Shutting and restarting your car is only a temporary solution, and you expect the problem to happen again. Therefore, replacing the sensor is the best permanent solution when you experience problem shifting gears.
When the sensors have a fault, they can shut off the engine or start stalling while you drive because the fuel injectors are not sending fuel into engine cylinders.
It can also cause engine misfires, making your car start vibrating when you accelerate.
Engine stalling and misfires can be very dangerous, and driving your car in such a scenario will be risking your life and that of other passengers.
If your camshaft sensor starts failing while driving, the engine might use its power, and you can begin jerking forward randomly.
Your car starts surging randomly because the camshaft sensors send the wrong fuel amount into the cylinders. After all, if the camshaft sensor has a problem, it will send inaccurate data to the PCM; hence the car starts jerking forward.
When your camshaft sensor starts failing, your car will not be in a position to accelerate very fast. It will even be tough for you to accelerate beyond 30 miles per hour in some vehicles.
Lack of power to accelerate is because of wrong fuel delivery to the cylinders by the injectors.
Bad Fuel Consumption
If your camshaft sensor has a problem, it gives wrong readings, and more fuel will be sent into the engine.
Low power can also lead to higher consumption of fuel. Although the poor economy of fuel can be a rear result of a faulty camshaft sensor, it is good to check the trouble codes to know whether the camshaft sensor causes the poor fuel economy.
How to Replace a Camshaft Position Sensor
Here are the tips to help you in replacing your sensor;
- First, what you need to do is disconnect the negative battery cables
- Look for the sensor; primarily, it is located at the top, front, or at the engine’s behind area. Usually, it has about 2-3 wire connectors connected to it.
- Now release the tab on the tab to detach the wires from the sensor.
- Remove bolt connecting the camshaft sensor to the engine. The bolt is about 8mm to 10 mm in length.
- Remove the sensors slowly with a bit of twist.
- Apply some engine oil to your new sensor.
- Now replace your new sensor and attach it thoroughly using a mounting bolt.
- Connect the wire connector back to the camshaft sensor
- You can now reconnect the negative battery cables.
Please note that when you take your car to an expert or repair shop for regular inspection, they might not check the camshaft sensor if you have not asked them to inspect it.
So, it would be best to let them know if you have experienced any signs that could probably indicate a problem with the sensor. They will inspect and scan using a diagnostic tool to see the problem and repair or replace it.
What to Do After Replacing Camshaft Sensor
After replacing the sensor, you can either reprogram it or not reprogram it.
When Not to Re-program
The engine control module (ECM) will determine when to fire the ignition and injection with the old crankshaft sensor and the newly installed camshaft sensor.
The ECM will also help examine the time between signal pulses to and from the module. The sensor then uses it against the information table to determine the right time difference in the pulse separations.
You will not have to reprogram the sensor if you get normal readings. If you notice any error codes after replacing the sensor, inspect all the writing and connector problems and repair or cancel them; if you are still getting codes, there is no issue with the camshaft sensor.
When to Re-program
Sometimes the sensor might need to relearn some things depending on the service of the expert or repairer who replaced it due to variations in the installation method.
Reprogramming helps to reset the data in the information table previously, and by reprogramming, you allow the ECM to learn the meaning of the new camshaft sensor.
If you decide to reprogram, the best place to do that will be at a repair shop with an expert; they will help you do it right and check all the trouble codes that might come up during the relearning process.
Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost
If you are looking forward to replacing your camshaft position sensor, it will cost you $120 to $300. Depending on your car model, you might need to remove parts like the gasket and valve cover to access the sensor, requiring you to add about $20-$40.
If you want new parts, it will cost you around $50 and $200, and labor will be about $70 to $100, but it will depend on the mechanic’s service fees.
However, these costs are general, and the prices vary depending on your car model and the location. If your car is more luxurious, you are likely to pay more.
The table below shows the total replacement cost depending on the car model, labor, and parts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do You Have To Relearn Camshaft Sensor?
Because of vibration and heat, crankshaft and camshaft position replacement is vital on many vehicles.
However, if you don’t do the right relearning process to account for manufacturing tolerance and mechanical wear out during replacement, you will face problems and comebacks in the future.
What Happens If You Don’t Relearn Crankshaft Position Sensor?
You will likely face starting issues because the engine control unit will likely fail if the crankshaft sensor fails. Eventually, the ECU will have an issue igniting the spark in the combustion chamber; hence, it will be nearly impossible to start the engine.
Is A Camshaft Sensor Easy To Replace?
Yes, removing and replacing a camshaft sensor from the top of your car by removing the air filter is easy.
You can also remove it by yourself from under your car then replace it. You can also decide to take it to an expert mechanic for replacement.
How long does it take to put a camshaft sensor on?
Putting on a camshaft sensor will take you about 5- 10 minutes. It is also an easy task that anyone can do, provided they follow the instructions.
Replacing it on your own will save you the extra cash for labor you could have paid a mechanic.
Where Is Cam Sensor Located?
It is located close to the camshaft, most likely at the valve cover’s top, but you can also find it on the side of the cylinder head.
So, if you are looking for the camshaft sensor, you should follow any electrical wires leading to the valve cover, and you will find it.
On What to Do After Replacing Camshaft Sensor
The camshaft sensor ensures that the engine has ultimate fuel power and runs smoothly. As highlighted in this article, the work of the camshaft sensor is vital in every car, and its failure could be risky.
Therefore, it is advisable that if you notice any signs that the camshaft sensor could be having a problem, do not ignore it.
If the camshaft sensor has a problem, you could experience poor fuel economy, rough idling, check engine light illuminating, ignition problem, problem changing gears, car jerking, and difficulty accelerating.
Therefore, if you notice any of these signs, you can take your car to a mechanic for scanning. If the problem is irreparable, the mechanic or repair shop will advise you to replace the camshaft sensor.
So, what do you do after replacing the camshaft sensor?
As discussed above, you can choose to reprogram or not reprogram it. After replacement, if upon canceling the previous codes they go away, you will not require relearning them; however, if you notice a change in services that have changed the signals from the camshaft sensors, it would be best to reprogram them.
In this regard, after replacing the camshaft sensor, it is best to do what will bring the operation of your engine back to normal.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.