Does a "check engine" light mean your camshaft position sensor needs to be replaced?
If your engine won't start, you always first want to look at electrical problems; next you want to look at fuel problems; and last you search for mechanical problems. One serious electrical malfunction that can also cause a lack of fuel delivery to your vehicle is a malfunctioning camshaft position sensor. If your sensor is faulty, you may experience your engine cutting in and out, but more than likely, if this little sensor that sits on your camshaft gear, will just completely fail, causing your vehicle not even to start. This can be difficult to diagnose if you don't have an automotive scanner to communicate with your vehicle's computer to read the error code created when any sensor malfunctions.
What does your camshaft sensor do?
When gas prices went up in the 1980's, there was a demand for more fuel efficient vehicles than the gas guzzling muscle cars of the 1970's and prior. Cars became smaller, and we started seeing computers being installed in vehicles to monitor and influence control over the engine. One development was a sensor to monitor the position of the crankshaft or the camshaft. The camshaft runs at one half the speed of the crankshaft, and it is responsible for pushing the engine valves up and down into the piston cylinder to let fuel in and exhaust out during the internal combustion process. The camshaft position sensor usually sits at the front of the engine by the cam gear and looks at an abnormally shaped gear tooth to determine the position of the camshaft at any given moment. Automotive engineers use the information about the cam position to measure RPM (revolutions per minute) and use this information to determine precise ignition timing and fuel delivery.
Replace it yourself if you can.
If you find yourself with a faulty camshaft position sensor, we always recommend professional replacement. However, with just a little know-how and the right tools, this can be a very simple replacement as long as proper safety protocol is observed. Anytime you are working on your vehicle it is a good first precautionary step to disconnect the battery. A stray wrench could cause an electrical short, or could even drop down to the starter and cause your engine to turn over while you have your hands in the engine. Next you will want to remove the timing cover on the front of your engine. If you have a front wheel drive vehicle, the front of your engine may actually be on the side of your vehicle. Depending on your vehicle, this could be a very simple or a very complex operation. Please refer to a repair manual to take all the proper steps to access the timing cover. With the timing cover off, it should be easy to locate the camshaft position sensor. Simply disconnect the electrical connection, and unscrew the sensor from the engine. Reverse this process to put it all back together.
The last place you need to go to find quality parts at low prices.
Car Parts Discount has both OEM and aftermarket camshaft position sensors for a wide range of vehicles and incredibly low prices. We own our warehouse and shipping department, and we import many parts ourselves, and we pass the savings on to you! If we don't have the part in our warehouse, we can often time special order it and ship it out to you within a couple days. Our knowledgeable staff are car enthusiasts themselves, and then will be able to cross reference part numbers to get you the right camshaft position sensor at the right price. Give us a call!