What To Do After Replacing Camshaft Sensor – The Best Tips

What to do after replacing camshaft sensor is what many DIYers want to know, especially if the replacement doesn’t seem to have fixed their driveability issues. You may need to reset the ECU using an OBD2 scan tool or disconnect the battery for a few minutes or replace a faulty part.

What To Do After Replacing Camshaft Sensor

We have discussed that in length below and a few tips to prevent premature camshaft sensor failure. Additionally, we have highlighted the various symptoms of a failing camshaft sensor so that in the future, you’ll make an accurate diagnosis, act on time, and avoid costly repairs.

How To Troubleshoot Engine After Replacing Camshaft Sensor?

To troubleshoot engine after replacing camshaft sensor, check and ensure you’ve installed the component correctly. If you still notice issues, connect an OBD2 scanner and clear any trouble codes or disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes. For further troubleshooting, check and replace any related part that could be faulty.

A professional camshaft position sensor replacement is expensive. Parts alone cost anywhere between $25 and $100. The labor will run from $65 to $100. You can expect to pay a range of $90 to $200. Many choose to replace the component themselves to bring this replacement cost down.

After the replacement, the new camshaft sensor should fix the issues triggered by the earlier installed sensor. So, if you’ve recently installed a new cam sensor but still face the same driveability problems you were experiencing before, something needs to be fixed. Implementing one or more of the above things would be best to ensure proper performance. Let’s discuss these fixes in detail.

  • Ensure You’ve Installed the Part Correctly

Please do a thorough job when replacing a camshaft sensor to avoid continuing to experience the same problems as before.

Do you have to disconnect battery to change camshaft position sensor?

Yes, to learn how to replace camshaft position sensor, you must disconnect the battery’s negative terminal to avoid short-circuiting. Next, remove the engine cover, and you’ll find the sensor located on the cylinder head or the engine block side.

Installing Camshaft Part Correctly

Remove the wiring connector using a screwdriver, pliers, or the correct-sized wrench. Ensure you’re careful to prevent breakage. Remove the fasteners holding the sensor onto the engine and take it out. Replace the o-ring, which prevents oil from coming out of the sensor’s hole and dirt from getting inside. After that, put in the new sensor. Replace the fasteners and the wiring harness or connector. Check that everything has gone back correctly.

  • You Might Need to Reprogram the ECU

Once you have the sensor replaced, you can reprogram the engine control module (ECM). However, this step is optional. The ECM will use the new cam sensor to perform its functions and ensure optimal engine performance. If the readings from the sensor are accurate, your engine will run smoothly, and you won’t need to reprogram the module.

Reprogramming or resetting the ECU helps clear any stored data from the old sensors. That means the computer can begin to receive fresh inputs from the newly installed sensor and act accordingly. However, resetting the ECU will be necessary if you’re experiencing issues with the engine. We’ve heard many say, “I replaced camshaft position sensor but still get code.”

Note that the error code disappears when a new camshaft sensor is installed in some cars. But after some time, the error reappears. Therefore, relearning the ECU is essential to enable it to interpret signals from the new sensors correctly. When you reset the ECU, you’re sure to avoid issues with trouble codes and decreased engine performance.

The best way to reset the ECU once you replace the bad camshaft position sensor is by using an OBD-2 scanner. How to reset camshaft position sensor without scanner: you can borrow a neighbor or request someone do it. Alternatively, you can reset the device by disconnecting the battery. You remove the negative terminal for about 15 minutes, and when you reattach the terminal and start the engine, your car should run fine.

Those asking, “Do you need to reset computer after replacing crankshaft position sensor?”, the answer is no! Note that the crank or cam position sensor can’t be reprogrammed. If you’ve reset the ECU and are still facing issues, the new sensor itself may be defective and needs to be replaced. New components can also get damaged before use due to many things, such as manufacturing errors.

  • Check and Replace Any Faulty Components

So, you’ve installed the new sensor and reset the ECU, but the error code has reappeared. The next thing is to inspect related components that may be at fault. Start with the electrical connector, and find out if you’ve pushed it correctly until you hear a click. Probably, the connector needs to be appropriately set.

If the car still has problems after checking the connector, inspect other engine sensors such as the crankshaft position sensor, manifold absolute pressure sensor, exhaust gas recirculation valve, and mass airflow sensor. If you don’t find any signs of damage on all these sensors, then it’s likely that the newly installed sensor is the one to blame. To know how to check if camshaft position sensor is bad, one way is to try to replace it and see if the problem is resolved.

Replacing Car Faulty Components

Some want to know why the car won’t start after replacing camshaft sensor. There could be many reasons, such as an incorrect new part (as mentioned) or lousy installation. It could also be bad wiring or an inaccurate diagnosis that led you to replace a component that wasn’t the root of the problem.

On a similar issue, the engine light still on after replacing camshaft sensor could be a problem with the wiring, reluctor wheel, or the newly replaced cam position sensor might be incompatible with your engine.

As explained above, you can disconnect the battery for a few minutes and see if the engine will start or if the check engine light turns off. The best way to diagnose the issue is by using an OBD2 scanner. But if you don’t have the tool or need help to figure out the cause of the problem, calling an expert will be your only way out.

How To Detect a Malfunctioning Camshaft Position Sensor?

To detect a malfunctioning camshaft position sensor, watch out for the most common lousy sensor symptoms. One is poor fuel economy because the engine cannot run efficiently due to inaccurate data from the sensor. Other symptoms include engine stalls, misfires, poor acceleration, and warning lights.

  • Unusually High Fuel Usage

One common symptom of a malfunctioning cam position sensor is reduced fuel economy. The engine control unit will receive inaccurate data if the sensor works erratically. And with the wrong information, the ECU will be unable to cause the engine to run efficiently, leading to bad fuel consumption.

  • Rough Idling and Stalling

As mentioned, bad camshaft sensors may not provide accurate information to the ECU. When that happens, the ignition and fuel-injection timing can become erratic, causing rough idling. Also, when the fuel delivery and ignition timing go out of sync, even by a few milliseconds, you may experience engine stalling.

  • Check Engine Light Is On

An illuminated check engine light could indicate many engine problems, and a faulty camshaft position sensor is one of them. If the sensor fails, it may lead to the misfiring of one or more cylinders and the engine running erratically. Misfires can often result in power loss or poor acceleration.

Check Engine Light Is On

The engine management light will always illuminate the dashboard when it detects an issue in the engine. Note that a bad crankshaft sensor can also present the same symptoms. You should contact an expert for an accurate diagnosis.

How To Prevent Camshaft Position Sensor Failure?

To prevent camshaft position sensor failure, keep up with routine engine maintenance to ensure it runs at its best all the time. Avoid excessive idling and other situations or practices that cause engine overheating. You must also keep your engine and the sensors clean by scheduling regular engine clean-ups.

  • Ensure Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance for your car can prevent many issues, including the cam position sensor failure. Change oil on time to help it run at its best always. Remember to check the sensors at least once a year or during your routine servicing.

  • Avoid Excessive Idling

A car may overheat if it idles for more than 15 minutes, especially on hot days or when the air conditioning is running. An overheating engine is terrible for your sensors. Avoid excess idling and other practices or situations that can cause the engine to overheat.

  • Keep the Sensors Clean

If you frequently take your car off-road, clean it to protect the sensor from debris or dirt build-up. Also, clean the engine routinely, at least once a year. That helps to prevent grime build-up.

Keeping Camshaft Sensors Clean

Other things that can spoil the camshaft sensor include water exposure, bad wiring, which interrupts the connection to the ECU, a break in the encoder wheel, and oil in the engine. Be careful how you handle your engine. As mentioned, regular maintenance can prevent all these things from happening.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Find the Cam Position Sensor in the Engine?

You find the cam position sensor in the engine by removing the engine cover and checking inside the cylinder head or on the top of the engine block running down on the cylinder bank side—a cylindrical portion on the sensor inserts into the engine head.

How Does the Camshaft Sensor Cause Reduced Engine Power?

The camshaft sensor causes reduced engine power by sending inaccurate camshaft position signals to the engine control module (ECM). With misleading feedback, the ECM cannot ensure proper fuel delivery. In other words, there will be a mismatch between when the valves open and close.

What Does the Camshaft Sensor Do in the Engine?

What the camshaft sensor does in the engine is mainly to enable the engine control module (ECM) to determine the exact position of the camshaft. The ECM requires this information to calculate the ignition and fuel injection points, among other things, to ensure the engine starts and runs efficiently.

Is It Safe to Drive with a Bad Crankshaft Sensor?

Yes, it is safe to drive with a bad crankshaft sensor only for a short distance. Driving with a malfunctioning cam sensor is bad for your engine in the long run. You may experience numerous performance issues, including increased fuel consumption, poor acceleration, stalls, misfires, and check engine lights.

Does a Car Have Only One Camshaft Position Sensor?

No, a car may have more than one camshaft position sensor. However, the exact number of sensors can vary, depending on the number of camshafts and the car’s production year. Modern vehicles, such as those with horizontally opposed engines, can have up to four camshafts, each with its own sensor.


Thanks to our guide above, you know what to do after replacing camshaft sensor. Let’s leave you with a summary:

  • The most critical thing to do after replacing the sensor is to ensure you’ve done it right.
  • After the replacement, the ECU should work with the new sensor to ensure optimum engine performance, and you don’t necessarily need to do anything else.
  • However, if you still face the issues you experienced with the earlier installed sensor, try resetting the ECU using an OBD2 scanner or disconnecting the battery for a few minutes.
  • If that doesn’t work, check and replace related components, including the crankshaft sensor, EGR sensor, and sometimes the spark plugs, especially if the engine doesn’t start.
  • But if there are no signs of damage on any of these components, your newly installed sensor may be defective and needs replacement.

You can now execute the above steps and troubleshoot your engine. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you need help.

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