The crankshaft sensor position is a core part of your system’s engine. It helps to communicate the condition of the crankshaft to the PCM.
Like other vehicle parts, the crankshaft position sensor can get damaged due to many factors, including wiring problems, excessive heat build-up in the engine, and so on.
- Is There a Temporary Fix?
- Can You Repair/Fix a Broken Crankshaft Position Sensor?
- Can You Drive a Car Without Crankshaft Position Sensor?
- What Happens If You Unplug a Crank Sensor?
- How To Check for A Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor
- Will Disconnecting Battery Reset Crankshaft Sensor?
- Will Driving with A Bad Sensor Damage the Car?
- Final Thoughts
Once the sensor becomes damaged, your vehicle will show some symptoms. These symptoms make driving really difficult and sometimes impossible.
For instance, getting out of the position can be very challenging if you are driving on a highway and your vehicle shuts down due to a crankshaft position sensor failure.
While the permanent solution to get out of this position is to replace the sensor, there are temporary fixes to get out of this situation.
Is There a Temporary Fix?
You can temporarily fix the problem of your crankshaft position sensor by solving the particular symptom or sign the vehicle is showing at the time.
Below are ways to temporarily fix your vehicle’s issues with the crankshaft position sensor.
- Restart Engine
If your engine suddenly starts shaking or jerking while driving or running idle, this could be traced to a failing crankshaft position sensor.
A way to solve this problem is by switching off the engine. You should leave the engine for some time to cool off before restarting the engine.
By doing this, you can reduce the shock created in the engine system. The shaking and jerking problem, usually accompanied by a check engine light, is usually caused by a failure in communication or miscommunication between the crankshaft and the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
- Disconnecting the Crankshaft Position Sensor
Another quick way to solve the issue your vehicle may face due to CKP sensor issues is by disconnecting the sensor. You can carry out the disconnection when your engine refuses to start and you are stuck.
Your engine not starting could result from a problem between the CPK sensor and the PCM.
To disconnect the CPK sensor, you will have to locate the sensor. They are usually located near the crankshaft. You can use the vehicle manual if you find it challenging to locate. Once the sensors have been located, you can remove the CKP sensors’ connectors.
After the disconnection, you can then go ahead to start the vehicle. If the engine does not start after the crankshaft position sensor has been disconnected, then you need to visit a certified mechanic. There might be another problem causing a hard start.
- Fill Fuel Tank
If your engine suddenly stops working while driving, try to fill your fuel tank. When the crankshaft sensor fails, it can cause the PCM to deliver inadequate fuel to the engine system.
Adding more fuel will enable more fuel to get to the engine combustion system and might temporarily fix the problem.
Can You Repair/Fix a Broken Crankshaft Position Sensor?
When your crankshaft sensor gets damaged, there is no way to fix the damage, and you will have to replace the sensor. The crankshaft sensor must work at total capacity if you want to get the best quality out of your engine system.
We do not recommend trying to repair a bad crankshaft position sensor. It is usually affordable to replace at a good mechanic. You should budget between $175 to $230. The price excludes labor costs, which will incur an extra $100. Replacing the CKP sensor is simple and can be done by following the proper steps.
Replacing the CKP sensor is better because it can save your engine from imminent failure. When the sensor or its wiring fails, all monitoring of the crankshaft is caught off. The PCM will not be able to regulate and monitor the crankshaft causing it to stall and shake uncontrollably.
Eventually, it will lead to a more severe engine problem which could lead to engine failure if the sensors are not replaced immediately.
Can You Drive a Car Without Crankshaft Position Sensor?
It is possible to drive your vehicle without a crankshaft position sensor, but it is not recommended. The operation of the crankshaft needs to be monitored and regulated by the PCM. The crankshaft can quickly go out of speed and lose position if the sensors are not working correctly.
A bad crankshaft sensor will cut off the signal and monitoring of the crankshaft while the car is still running. In this case, the crankshaft will run unsupervised, which could be very dangerous for your engine and other vehicle parts.
Related content: Why does my car shake after an oil change?
What Happens If You Unplug a Crank Sensor?
Many things can happen when you disconnect the crank sensor of your vehicle. Some signs you may experience after disconnecting the crank sensor include.
- Engine Stalling
Your car will get slower in picking up acceleration and even stall completely in some cases. Once you disconnect the crankshaft sensor, the sensor will no longer be able the communicate the condition of the crankshaft. The PCM may intentionally stall your engine to prevent the engine from being damaged.
- Unexpected Engine Switch off
Your engine stops unexpectedly just as a result of the disconnected sensor. The PCM could adjust the fuel timing causing the engine to receive lesser fuel, leading to the engine switching off.
- Check Engine Light
Your engine light will be on once the crankshaft sensor is disconnected. It is just the engine showing you that it has lost connection with the sensors and can no longer monitor the crankshaft.
- Hard Starting
Another sign you will experience after the disconnection is that you may have difficulty starting your engine.
The crankshaft plays a vital role in powering the vehicle. Once the PCM loses communication with the crankshaft, starting the engine may be more demanding. In some cases, your vehicle may not start at all.
- Engine Misfires or Vibration
Your engine is prone to misfire once the crankshaft sensor is disconnected. It is because the sensor will not be able to provide the information the PCM needs about the position of the piston. So, the PCM can not regulate these engine parts.
Related content: What Happens When You Unplug Throttle Position Sensor?
How To Check for A Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor
There are two significant ways you can test your crankshaft position. You can either use a scanner or a multimeter.
The first method uses a multimeter tool, which is relatively more common than a scanner. It measures the voltage in electrical components or parts within the vehicle.
Once you have the multimeter, you can go on and disconnect the CKP sensor, which is relatively easy to do. You can consult your vehicle’s manual to locate the sensor. Attach one part of the multimeter end to each sensor’s wiring when disconnecting the sensor.
If the multimeter reads resistance of zero or infinite resistance, this means that the sensor is not working. A zero resistance reading shows there is a short circuit, while infinite resistance shows that it is an open circuit.
The second method involves measuring the voltage output while cranking the engine. You can ask a friend to lend you a helping hand to get this done. You must be careful with moving parts of the engine.
Connect the multimeter to the sensor wiring, and then crank the engine. The reading should be around 200 millivolts. The measurement could differ with various vehicles, but you can get your specific measurement through the vehicle’s manual.
A scanning tool can easily scan your vehicle for codes related to the crankshaft position sensor. Once you confirm the codes, you should immediately get the sensor replaced.
Will Disconnecting Battery Reset Crankshaft Sensor?
Disconnecting the battery of your vehicle will reset the crankshaft sensor. When you disconnect your vehicle’s battery for some time, the power in all the electronic components, including the crankshaft sensor and PCM, will be drained. Doing this will cause every short-term memory to clear, which will reset the system.
Resetting the system will not solve the issue of the failed crankshaft sensor; you will still have to replace the sensor to solve the problem. So do not see this as a fix to your problem.
Related content: This Is Why Your Car Shakes While Idle but Smooths Out While Driving
Will Driving with A Bad Sensor Damage the Car?
Driving your car with a damaged CKP sensor can cause severe damage to your engine system. When your engine starts exhibiting uncontrolled and excessive shaking, turning off unexpectedly, and the engine misfiring, this shows that your engine system cannot function without the sensor. It would be best if you immediately have the vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic.
Once your engine starts to experience excessive shaking, it can cause other parts of the engine to shift out of position. If you keep driving in this condition, you may experience engine failure, as well as other damage to the vehicle.
A bad crankshaft position sensor could cause a lot of inconvenience to drivers and put them in difficult situations. It is essential to know how to get out of those problematic situations. As we have seen, we can quickly temporarily get our vehicle going by just paying attention to the symptom it is showing and finding a solution for it.
After the temporary fix, you should not rely on the fix as a permanent solution, or you will find yourself in that difficult situation again. Make sure to replace the sensor as soon as possible. If you are not able to do it yourself, your local repair shop should be able to help you.