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How to Replace a Crankshaft Position Sensor (Step-by-Step)

Updated: 1 day ago

The crankshaft position sensor is a crucial component in your vehicle's engine management system. It is responsible for detecting the position of the crankshaft and sending this information to the engine control unit (ECU).


This helps the ECU to control the ignition timing and fuel injection, ensuring that the engine runs smoothly and efficiently.


Over time, the crankshaft position sensor can fail or become damaged, leading to engine performance issues. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to replace your crankshaft position sensor.


  • Engine misfires or stalls

  • Difficulty starting the engine

  • Reduced fuel efficiency

  • Poor acceleration

  • Check engine light comes on

 

Table of Contents:


a crankshaft position sensor being held

When Should You Replace the Crankshaft Position Sensor?

It is recommended to replace the crankshaft position sensor if it has failed or if it is showing signs of wear and tear. In general, it is a good idea to replace the crankshaft position sensor every 50,000-100,000 miles or so, as a preventive measure.


However, it is always best to consult your vehicle's owner's manual or a mechanic for specific recommendations.


How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of replacing a crankshaft position sensor will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle and where you get it done.


On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for a new crankshaft position sensor, depending on the vehicle. If you choose to have a mechanic replace the sensor, you can expect to pay an additional labor charge, which can range from $50 to $100 per hour.


Materials Needed to Replace Crankshaft Sensor

To replace a crankshaft position sensor, you will need the following materials.


  • Floor Jack: A floor jack is used to lift the vehicle off the ground, allowing you to access the crankshaft position sensor.

  • Jack Stands: These are essential to support the vehicle while it is jacked up, ensuring that it stays in place while you work on it. Always use jack stands when working under a vehicle.

  • Ratchet and Socket Set (1/4” or 3/8” Drive): A ratchet and socket set is used to remove the crankshaft position sensor bolt and other components that need removing to gain access to the sensor.

  • New Crankshaft Position Sensor: You will need to purchase a new crankshaft position sensor to replace the old one. Make sure to get a high quality crankshaft sensor and get the correct sensor for your specific make and model of vehicle.


a crankshaft position sensor circled in red

How to Replace a Crankshaft Position Sensor

Before you begin, make sure that you have all of the necessary materials and that you are working in a safe and well-ventilated area. Follow the steps below to learn how to replace a crankshaft position sensor.


  1. Disconnect the Battery: To ensure your safety while working on the vehicle, it is important to disconnect the battery before you begin.

  2. Jack Up and Secure the Vehicle: Using a floor jack, lift the vehicle off the ground and secure it with jack stands. Make sure that the vehicle is stable and secure before you begin working on it.

  3. Locate the Crankshaft Position Sensor: Consult your vehicle's owner's manual to find the location of the crankshaft position sensor. It is usually located near the front of the engine, on or near the crankshaft pulley.

  4. Disconnect the Electrical Connector: Once you have located the crankshaft position sensor, disconnect the electrical connector. This will allow you to remove the sensor without damaging any wires.

  5. Remove the Crankshaft Sensor Bolt: Using a ratchet and socket set, remove the bolt that holds the crankshaft position sensor in place. This may require some force, so make sure that you have a good grip on the tool.

  6. Remove the Crankshaft Sensor: Once the bolt has been removed, gently pull the crankshaft position sensor out of its mounting hole.

  7. Compare the New Sensor With the Old One: Before you install the new crankshaft position sensor, compare it with the old one to ensure that it is the correct size and shape.

  8. Lubricate the New O-Ring: Most crankshaft position sensors come with a new O-ring to seal the sensor in place. Before installing the sensor, lubricate the O-ring with a small amount of oil or silicone grease to make it easier to install.

  9. Install the New Crankshaft Position Sensor: Align the new crankshaft position sensor with the mounting hole and gently push it into place. Make sure that the O-ring is properly seated and that the sensor is secure.

  10. Connect the Electrical Connector: Reconnect the electrical connector to the new crankshaft position sensor. Make sure that it is securely fastened.

  11. Lower the Vehicle Safely: Carefully lower the vehicle back down to the ground using the floor jack. Make sure that the vehicle is stable and secure before you remove the jack stands.

  12. Reconnect the Battery: Reconnect the battery to the vehicle to ensure that it has power.

  13. Clear Any Fault Codes: If the check engine light was on before you replaced the crankshaft position sensor, it may be necessary to clear any fault codes that are stored in the ECU. You can do this using a professional diagnostic tool.

  14. Relearn the New Crankshaft Position Sensor: Once the new crankshaft position sensor has been installed and the fault codes have been cleared, the ECU may need to relearn the new sensor. This process can be done by driving the vehicle for a few miles and allowing the ECU to adjust to the new sensor. You may need to relearn the crankshaft position sensor using a diagnostic tool.


Conclusion

Replacing a crankshaft position sensor can seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, it is a relatively straightforward process.


By following the steps outlined above, you can learn how to replace the crankshaft position sensor quickly and easily, ensuring that your vehicle's engine runs smoothly and efficiently.