Bad Crank Sensor Symptoms

The Crank Sensor is an Important Engine Part

The crankshaft sensor in the modern automobile engine is an integral component. When malfunctioning, the symptoms of a bad sensor are easily recognizable to the motorist and should be handled quickly to avoid being stranded and risking additional engine components.

History

As computer systems became more integrated into the operating of the internal combustion engine, the need for monitoring its many complex components became necessary. Crank sensors were developed using a combination of magnets and an inductive coil and are commonly mounted near the main crank pulley, flywheel or on the crankshaft itself. It is one of the most important sensors of modern internal combustion engines.

Function

The crankshaft sensor monitors the relationship between valves and pistons in the engine to maintain the variable valve timing. It is also measures the engine’s speed by calculating revolutions per minute. The crankshaft sensor is in effect a catcher in a baseball game, calling the game so the pitcher (the engine) can fire the appropriate function, or pitch,

Types

Most crank sensors function as magnets and an inductive coil. Newer sensors have been built to operate under the Hall Effect, which produces a voltage difference across an electrical conductor to create a magnetic field. This semiconductor eliminates the need for an inductive coil and magnets. Crank sensors are also used on bicycles to supervise the position of its crankset.

Symptoms of Problems

When a crankshaft sensor has failed or is failing, certain timing problems will arise in engine function. The engine may start normally in some cases, but will cut off after a few minutes (or seconds) of operation. More than likely the engine will be unable to start at all. Since the crankshaft sensor is responsible for engine timing, the driver may experience engine backfire or irregular rpm function, if the vehicle starts at all.

Solutions

The crankshaft sensor will have to be replaced if it is malfunctioning. Consult a local auto mechanic that specializes in the particular manufacturer of vehicle being driven to secure the parts and labor in order to get the vehicle running properly. Avoid employing used parts for integral engine components as they have a greater chance of failure than newer equipment.