The internal combustion engine of a vehicle contains a crankshaft and piston. Both parts allow the engine to start up and produce the power needed to move the vehicle. As fuel and air burn in the combustion chamber, the vapors put pressure on the piston. Once that happens, the crankshaft transforms this power into rotational energy. The crankshaft needs to be in the right position and rotating at the right speed to pull this off properly. The job of the crankshaft position sensor is to detect the position of the crankshaft and the speed of its rotation.
Now, why is all this important? Well, this is all crucial information which the engine control unit needs to successfully manage the internal combustion process. As you may know, the internal combustion chamber requires the right amount of fuel in conjunction with the demands of the engine. The ignition system will then need to time the ignition of the air and fuel mixture just right. Otherwise, it could jeopardize the performance of the engine.
Therefore, the crankshaft position sensor allows the engine control unit to receive accurate information about the crankshaft. That way, the computer will make the fuel injectors put the precise amount of fuel needed in the chamber. Plus, it will control the timing of the ignition so that the mixture is ignited at the right moment.
The engine control unit is the central computer that electronically controls most of the functions and systems of your vehicle. If there is a problem with the crankshaft position sensor, then the engine control unit is going to know this. Once the computer detects a malfunction with the sensor, it will immediately activate the Check Engine light on your dashboard. Aside from that, you should notice a weaker engine performance and a bad fuel economy. With all these problems happening at the same time, you should confirm that it is your crankshaft position sensor causing these problems.
When it comes time to replace your crankshaft position sensor, it will cost you between $120 and $300. The parts costs will only be around $80 to $120 while the labor costs will be around $50 to $200. It all depends on where you go to get the replacement job done as well as the make and model of your vehicle. Your best bet would be to research auto shops and get quotes on their prices for this type of replacement.