What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Sensor?

The crankshaft position sensor plays a pivotal role in your vehicle’s engine management system. It monitors the rotational speed and position of the crankshaft, and this information is transmitted to the electronic control unit (ECU), which uses it to control ignition timing and fuel injection. It’s integral for producing the type of performance you’re after, whether that’s fuel-conscious driving or powerful, responsive acceleration.

When it fails, it can cause big issues with driving your car. A replacement can cost as little as a few dollars for a few models, but it’s more common to pay between $40 and $150 for the part. Learn what symptoms it presents, and what can occur if you ignore it.

Symptoms Of A Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

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.

crankshaft position sensor symptoms

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:

#1. Check Engine Light Illuminating On Your Dashboard.

If have problems with the crankshaft position sensor, the check engine will illuminate to inform the driver.

#2. Difficulty Starting Engine Or Stalling While Driving.

The crankshaft Position Sensor is responsible for monitoring the position, speed of the crankshaft, and other parameters that play an important role when starting the engine. When the crankshaft Position Sensor has an internal fault, it can not send the signal to PCM. This cause the engine to start hard or stall

#3. Rough Idling And Engine Misfires.

The most common symptom associated with a bad/faulty crankshaft position sensor is the engine runs rough or misfires. The failing crankshaft position sensor can not provide the right information about the position of a piston in the engine, causing a misfire. This fault may pose damage to components and should be repaired as soon as possible.

#4. Noticeable Decline In Fuel Efficiency.

The faulty crankshaft position sensor that lacks accurate timing information may cause fuel injectors won’t pump fuel into the engine efficiently, the vehicle will be lost power and consume more fuel. If you notice that the car consumes more fuel when you drive at the same distance, it’s a sign of a bad crankshaft position sensor.

Common Causes of a Crankshaft Position Sensor Failure

Some of the things that commonly cause the sensor to malfunction are damage to the sensor, road debris, and faulty wiring.

Although many modern vehicles are built with electronics, engines are a hostile environment for this type of technology. With the heat and vibrations produced by the engine, the internal wiring and circuits often expand, vibrate, and overtime, weaken, causing the CKP sensor to develop issues. If any parts become broken, bent, or too worn out it will weaken the signal causing a sensor failure.

On the road and under the base of our vehicles, small flying debris is not uncommon. Oftentimes metal shavings get loose and lodged into some free space amongst these components. If they happen to be in just the right position, they will affect the visibility field of the sensor producing a weak and faulty signal.

Lastly, circuits may fail over time with wear and tear. If the circuit isn’t working properly, the signal won’t reach the proper components to keep the engine running.

Consequences Of Ignoring A Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

Ignoring a bad crankshaft position sensor can lead to a variety of serious consequences for your vehicle. Here are some potential outcomes if the problem is not addressed:

  • Engine damage. The sensor’s role in managing ignition timing and fuel injection is crucial, and when these processes are disrupted, it can lead to inefficient combustion and stress on various engine parts.
  • Poor performance. A car with a bad sensor might experience rough idling, prolonged cranking, or may not start at all. These issues obviously can make driving difficult and potentially unsafe.
  • Decreased fuel efficiency. A bad sensor can disrupt the timing of your fuel injection, leading to decreased fuel efficiency and cause you to spend more on gas than you should be.
  • Sudden stalling. A bad sensor can cause your engine to stall suddenly, which can be dangerous, especially if you’re driving at high speeds or in heavy traffic.
  • Wear and tear. Ignoring the symptoms of a bad crankshaft position sensor can result in rapid wear and tear of various engine parts, leading to costly repairs down the road.

Can You Drive With A Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor?

In many cases, a faulty CKP sensor will prevent the vehicle from starting, which, in turn, will prevent you from being able to drive the car. In such a scenario, you’ll have no choice but to fix the problem right away.

But even intermittent CKP concerns should be addressed immediately, as such issues can lead to stalling and hard starting, making the vehicle unreliable and unsafe.