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How Long Does a Crankshaft Position Sensor Last? (Explained)

Updated: Jan 8

The crankshaft position sensor (CKP), also known as the crank sensor, is an important component of a vehicle's ignition system.


It is responsible for minoring the position and rotational speed of the crankshaft and sending this sdata to the engine control unit (ECU) to control the ignition timing and fuel injection.


This sensor is essential for the proper functioning of the engine and any issues with it can lead to serious problems. In this article, we will delve into how long a crankshaft position sensor lasts, how often it should be replaced, and the consequences of not replacing a faulty sensor.

 

Table of Contents:


crankshaft position sensor measuring flywheel position

How Long Does a Crankshaft Position Sensor Last?

The lifespan of a crankshaft position sensor can vary greatly depending on several factors such as the quality of the sensor, the type of vehicle it is installed in, and the driving conditions it is subjected to.


On average, a crankshaft position sensor can last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles, or even longer in some cases. However, it is not uncommon for a crankshaft position sensor to fail prematurely due to various reasons, which we will discuss later in this article.


How Often Should a Crankshaft Sensor Be Replaced?

As with any other component of a vehicle, it is recommended to replace the crankshaft position sensor at regular intervals to ensure that it is functioning correctly. The specific interval will depend on the manufacturer's recommendations, which can be found in the owner's manual.


It is generally recommended to replace the crankshaft position sensor every 50,000 to 70,000 miles, although some vehicles may require a replacement sooner or later. If you notice signs of a bad crankshaft sensor you should have it checked and replaced if needed.


It is a good idea to have the crankshaft position sensor checked regularly as part of routine maintenance to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Why Do Crankshaft Position Sensors Fail?

There are several reasons why a crankshaft position sensor may fail. One of the most common causes is exposure to moisture or other contaminants, which can cause the sensor to corrode or malfunction.


Another common cause of failure is physical damage to the sensor. The crankshaft position sensor can also fail due to wear and tear over time, as the sensor may become less sensitive or accurate with age.


The crankshaft position sensor can be damaged if the teeth on the flywheel become broken, worn, or snapped off. This can disrupt the pattern of pulses that the sensor measures, causing confusion.


Wiring issues can also cause problems with the crankshaft position sensor, such as a burned-out or corroded circuit that connects the sensor to the control module.


Additionally, metal shavings in the engine compartment can be attracted to the magnet in the crankshaft position sensor, altering its measurements.


If the wheel and the sensor become too close together, known as bridging, this can also result in incorrect measurements.

Do Crank Sensors Wear Out?

Yes, crankshaft position sensors can wear out over time due to constant use and exposure to various factors. As the sensor ages, it may become less accurate or sensitive, which can lead to problems with the engine's ignition timing and fuel injection.


This can result in reduced performance and fuel efficiency, as well as increased emissions. Regular maintenance and replacing the crankshaft position sensor at the recommended intervals can help to extend its lifespan and prevent it from wearing out prematurely.


Symptoms of a Failing Crankshaft Position Sensor

There are several symptoms and indications of a failing crankshaft position sensor. These include the following.


  • Engine misfires or stalling

  • Difficulty starting the engine

  • Reduced fuel efficiency

  • Increased emissions

  • Check engine light illumination


If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to have the crankshaft position sensor checked as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the engine.


Can You Drive With a Faulty Crank Sensor?

It is not recommended to drive a vehicle with a faulty crankshaft position sensor as it can lead to serious problems with the engine.


The engine may misfire or stall, which can be dangerous while driving. Additionally, driving with a faulty crankshaft position sensor can cause further damage to the engine and result in costly repairs.


If you suspect that your crankshaft position sensor is failing, it is best to have it checked as soon as possible to avoid any issues while driving.


What Happens if You Don’t Replace a Crankshaft Sensor?

If a faulty crankshaft position sensor is not replaced, it can lead to several problems with the engine. The engine may not start or may run poorly, resulting in reduced performance and fuel efficiency.


Additionally, the engine may stall or misfire, which can be dangerous while driving.


Ignoring a failing crankshaft position sensor can also result in further damage to the engine, leading to costly repairs. It is important to replace a faulty crankshaft position sensor as soon as possible to prevent any issues with the engine.


Conclusion

The crankshaft position sensor is an important component of a vehicle's ignition system that is responsible for detecting the rotation of the crankshaft and sending a signal to the engine control unit.


The lifespan of a crankshaft position sensor can vary greatly, but it is generally recommended to replace it every 50,000 to 70,000 miles.


Crankshaft sensors can fail due to various factors such as exposure to moisture or contaminants, physical damage, and wear and tear. Common symptoms of a failing crankshaft position sensor include engine misfires or stalling, difficulty starting the engine, and reduced fuel efficiency.