Blog Car Care Advice How To Reset Camshaft Position Sensor: A Step-By-Step Guide
Car Care Advice

How To Reset Camshaft Position Sensor: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Your car’s smooth operation depends on the coordinated performance of various sensors, and the camshaft position sensor takes center stage in this automotive choreography.

If this sensor goes bad, it can affect your engine and drivability. 
So you need to replace it soon. 

But that’s not all!
You also need to calibrate or reset the new sensor to ensure optimum engine performance. 

Let’s find out how to reset a camshaft position sensor to keep your engine in top shape and get answers to related concerns. 

This Article Contains: 

Let’s begin!

How to Reset Camshaft Position Sensor Step-by-Step 

Important: Resetting a camshaft position sensor implies relearning or recalibrating a new sensor. A malfunctioning sensor can’t be fixed by resetting it. If you’re not confident with automotive parts, it’s best to leave this job to an auto mechanic

But if you still wish to get a general idea of how it’s done, here are the steps to reset camshaft position sensor:

1. Locate the Camshaft Position Sensor

The camshaft position sensor is a small disc or tube-shaped part with wire connections secured by two bolts. You’ll usually find this sensor:

Note: The cam position sensor can be located on the driver side or passenger side of the engine. Its exact location depends on your vehicle’s make and model. If you’re unsure, refer to your owner’s manual. 

2. Remove the Old Sensor 

Use a 10 mm socket wrench to loosen the bolts that hold the cam sensor in place. You might also need to remove any tubes or wiring that obstruct your way. 

Next, unclip the wiring connector that links the sensor to the engine. 

While you remove the position sensor, inspect the wiring and the connector for any damage, as you may need to replace these parts too. 

3. Install the New Sensor 

Before you install the new sensor, ensure it’s the right match for your vehicle. For that, it’s best to take the old sensor to the auto parts store to get an exact match. However, avoid driving the same car from which you’ve removed the old sensor. 

Also, if you can’t find the exact match, it should at least be compatible with your engine. 

Once you have the new sensor with you, it’s time to install it. 

4. Relearn the New Cam Sensor 

There are two ways to reset or relearn the camshaft position sensor:

Let’s break down each method. 

A. Using a Scan Tool 

While some modern engines can automatically relearn a new sensor, other vehicles require an advanced OBD-2 scanner for the reset process called CASE (Crank Angle Sensor Error) relearn.

The diagnostic software recalibrates the positioning between the camshaft and crankshaft position sensor (CKP sensor).

Here are the steps:

  1. Attach the scan tool to the connector pin found under your steering wheel. 
  2. Switch on the ignition, but don’t crank your engine
  3. Select the CASE relearn or “Cam Crank Relearn” option under “Special Functions.” 
  4. The scanner will prompt you to start the engine to begin the reset.
  5. Crank the engine, and the tool will display a message when it has reset the positioning between the camshaft sensor and the crankshaft sensor.

B. Without a Scan Tool

To reset the camshaft position without a scanner:

  1. Turn off all electronic accessories.
  2. Ensure air and coolant temperatures are within 9°F of each other.
  3. Idle for 2 minutes, then accelerate to 55 mph at part throttle.
  4. Maintain 55 mph for 10 minutes.
  5. Decelerate to 45 mph without using brakes, and hold for 1 minute.
  6. Repeat deceleration cycles four times for 25 seconds each, returning to 45 mph for 15 seconds between each cycle.
  7. Accelerate to 55 mph and maintain the speed for 2 minutes.
  8. Stop and idle for 2 minutes with brakes applied in Drive or Neutral.

Note: The same process can be used to reset a new crank sensor (crankshaft sensor.)

How do you confirm if this works?
The method worked if your check engine light goes off after this process.

But when do you need to reset the camshaft position sensor?
Keep reading to know the signs!

How Do I Know I Have a Faulty Camshaft Sensor?

Here are some symptoms that point to a failing camshaft position sensor:  

1. Illuminated Check Engine Light or SES Light

When you have a bad camshaft or crankshaft sensor (CKP sensor), it can disrupt the fuel injection and ignition timing, causing the Check Engine Light (CEL) or Service Engine Soon light (SES light) to come on.

But, because the engine light is an ambiguous warning, you’ll need to check the DTC code to find out the root cause. A bad camshaft sensor will likely throw a P0340 or P0016 error code along with a lit engine light.  

2. Difficulty Starting the Vehicle

Since the camshaft positioning sensor, along with the crankshaft position sensor, controls fuel injection timing, if these sensors go bad, you’ll struggle to start your vehicle. And if you don’t replace a bad sensor soon, you’ll not be able to start your car or truck at all. 

3. Engine Sputters while Driving

In addition to a difficult start, malfunctioning cam sensors can compromise your spark timing and engine performance while driving. As the sensor wears out, you’ll notice increased engine sputtering, acceleration lags when you hit the gas pedal, and engine stalling. 

4. Poor Fuel Efficiency

Bad ignition timing due to a faulty cam sensor can result in inefficient combustion and misfires in the combustion chamber. This causes the engine to overwork and use up more fuel to produce the same engine power. 

This excessive fuel supply will also be picked up by the O2 sensors, causing the engine light to flash

5. Transmission Issues

The camshaft positioning sensor can also affect transmission by sending the wrong data to the PCM. You may experience inconsistent shifting or the transmission could lock up, failing to shift at all. 

So, is it safe to drive with a bad cam sensor?
Let’s find out next.

Can You Drive with a Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor?

While you can technically drive for short distances, you should avoid taking long drives as it can damage your engine.  

The camshaft position sensor plays a critical role in the proper functioning of your engine. Driving with a malfunctioning sensor can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, engine misfires, and increased emissions from the combustion chamber. 

If you suspect you have a failing camshaft position sensor don’t wait to seek expert help

Now, let’s address some related questions about camshaft sensors. 

3 FAQs on Camshaft Position Sensor

Here are answers to common queries on the cam position sensor: 

1. Why Does a Camshaft Position Sensor Go Bad?

A camshaft or crankshaft position sensor can malfunction due to: 

2. Why Won’t My Car Start after Changing the Camshaft Sensor?

Your car may fail to turn over after the reset if:

3. How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Bad Camshaft Sensor?

Replacing a bad cam sensor can cost between $100-$400, depending on your vehicle’s make and model. The job typically takes two hours but can be longer and cost more if there is additional damage around the sensor. 

Keep Your Engine in Sync with AutoNation Mobile Service 

A smooth-running engine is essential for your car’s longevity, and resetting a camshaft position sensor correctly is crucial for maintaining your vehicle’s performance. 

That’s why you should trust professionals like AutoNation Mobile Service for the job. 
Whether you need a crank position sensor, fuel pump, or spark plug replacement, our mobile mechanics can do it from your driveway.
Contact us for a quote today.