Camshaft Position Sensor


Camshaft Position Sensor

Your engine is equipped with a lot of sensors, which help it to run healthy and at its peak efficiency. One of them is a camshaft position sensor or CPM sensor. Its failure to operate may cause serious engine problems and even put your life at risk. Let’s check them out:


Lack of performance and power

Your vehicle’s computer relies on the CPM sensor to operate fuel injectors, provide spark control and many other timing-based functions. In the event of its failure the engine may misfire resulting in reduced performance and fuel economy. The worst scenario that may take place is its failure to operate while you’re driving on the highway causing you to reduce speed and stop immediately.

Check engine light comes on

Your engine control unit constantly monitors all crucial systems, so if any problem with the sensor appears it may turn on the check engine light.

Engine stalls

Inability to get signals from the CPM sensor or faulty ones can cause your engine to stall due to incorrect timing and misfiring. Your engine control unit may also go all systems into a safe mode, forcing you to drive very slowly. In this case you should get in touch with your mechanic as soon as possible. 

Engine doesn’t start

If the CPM sensor is not able to send signals to the engine control unit it will turn off injectors and ignition delivering no fuel and spark to the combustion chamber. In the event this happens on the road your engine will simply stall. 

What is actually the camshaft position sensor?

The camshaft position sensor is a supplement to your camshaft. The latter is one of the main shafts in any engine and its primary job is to close and open intake and/or exhaust valves when necessary. Depending on your engine design, it may be equipped with one or more camshafts. 

Every opening and closing of a valve must be perfectly timed and synchronized with the movements of the pistons in the cylinders. If the timing falls out of sync engine performance will reduce and fuel consumption will increase. That’s why the CPM sensor is vital for the proper operation of your engine.

The majority of vehicles produced in the last decades have one or two CPM sensors installed to measure the speed and determine the position of the camshaft. They provide the CPU with these data, so it can operate fuel injectors. Besides, the CPM sensor may be used for variable valve timing and ignition. 

CPM sensor repair guide

Once you notice any problems related to the camshaft position sensor, call your mechanic to diagnose it first because there can be a lot of causes for such symptoms. It will save you some money if the CPM sensor isn’t the root of the problem.

The only way to fix the CPM sensor is to replace it with a new one. It is usually located deep within the engine between it and the transmission to protect the sensor from occasional damage. On some engines it can be found near its top or close to the front of the motor. 

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