4 Symptoms of a Bad Camshaft Sensor & Typical Replacement Cost
The camshaft sensor, not to be confused with the crankshaft sensor, is an electrical part that holds a very important role in keeping your engine running right. You can find this part either behind
the cylinder head, or attached to the engine block.
As with most electrical parts on a vehicle, if the camshaft sensor fails, a variety of things can go wrong with your car. It is those things we will examine here in order to help you determine if your camshaft sensor is bad.
Here are the four symptoms of a bad camshaft, and shortly after, we’ll talk about the typical replacement cost.
Check Engine Light
If your check engine light is on, then it could indicate that your camshaft sensor is bad. However, this is just a starting point, as it could indicate other problems.
In that case, you should take it to a shop and put the diagnostic machine on it. (Hint: If you don’t want to pay for the diagnostics, many auto parts stores will read the code on the control module and tell you exactly what’s going on for FREE!)
The check engine light was designed to alert you to a potentially serious problem, and to prompt action to prevent it. When you get word from the mechanic about what the code says, be prompted to do something about it. If your engine fails, you’ve got no wheels, so don’t ignore it. It could be one of the most costly things you ever do.
Even newer cars have the same basic principles built into them. To start your car, you turn the key, which sends spark through your ignition, engaging the starter, and then the flywheel and on to the spark plugs, etc.
Without that spark, your engine will not start. Assuming you have a good battery, if your engine won’t even turn over, then it isn’t getting any spark. This probably means that your camshaft sensor is faulty and needs replacing.
If your car surges, misfires, deviates from normal acceleration or jerks, it’s losing power. You could be inclined to think you have a problem with your transmission. However, these same things can occur if your camshaft sensor is bad.
On the other hand, if your car is doing these things and you’re having a hard time starting it, this is strong evidence that your sensor needs replacing.
Shifting Problems (Automatic)
If your car is stuck in one gear and won’t come out of it, the first place you might check is your transmission. However, your engine needs constant spark to keep running, and if your camshaft sensor is bad, spark ceases, and this can cause your transmission to be stuck.
As a temporary fix, you can turn the car off, and then restart. But don’t expect it to stay away. It’s bound to come back. The best fix is to replace the camshaft sensor.
Typical Replacement Cost
We won’t use the word “repair” here because there is no known way to fix the faulty part. You must replace the sensor to bring things back in order again. So here are some numbers indicating typical replacement cost.
Between parts and labor, the cost is roughly half and half. The average nationwide cost ranges between about $135 to close to $200 total, plus any sales taxes you might pay in your state.
When it comes to your vehicle’s electrical system, it is wiser to leave it to the pros. One misstep in your DIY effort can render your electrical system – and your vehicle – inoperable.