A camshaft sensor is a sensor connected to the engine of your car that keeps it in working order. It ensures that proper ignition and fuel are sent to the pistons so that the engine can function optimally.
So if it gets damaged for some reason, is it safe to drive with a bad camshaft sensor? The answer is — NO. A worn-out or dysfunctional camshaft sensor will send wrong information to your engine’s electrical components and hinder it from working properly. This will cause engine misfires, acceleration jerking, and constant trigger warnings.
So it is not safe to drive with a bad camshaft sensor. That being said, your car will still run with a dysfunctional camshaft sensor for a while. But for how long will it run, and is it a good idea? In this post, I’ve answered all these questions, so keep reading to learn more.
- What is A Camshaft Sensor?
- Can You Drive Your Car With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- Is It Safe to Drive With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- What Problems You May Face Driving With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- So, How Bad Idea Is It To Drive With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- Can You Fix A Bad Camshaft Sensor Yourself or See A Professional?
- How Much Does It Cost to Fix A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- How to Fix Problems Caused By A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
- Final Words
What is A Camshaft Sensor?
First, let’s understand what a camshaft sensor is. A Camshaft Sensor or a Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) is an electrical sensor connected to the engine of your car. It’s usually located close to the camshaft of an engine.
Camshaft sensors determine the position of the camshaft relative to the position of the crankshaft and each piston. This data helps the Engine Control Module or ECM to determine the proper ignition and fuel injection timing needed for each cylinder and piston. Thus a camshaft sensor makes sure that an engine is working efficiently.
With a bad camshaft sensor, misinformation is sent throughout the engine and it doesn’t work optimally.
Can You Drive Your Car With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
It’s possible to drive your car with a bad camshaft sensor. Your engine and other components of your car will work, but they won’t function perfectly.
Due to a faulty camshaft sensor, your engine efficiency will go down. This means you’ll require more power to run the engine than before.
Fuel consumption will increase as your pistons won’t be getting the right amount of fuel injections. You’ll have to bear an additional price for all these problems. So it won’t be so great for your wallet.
Irregular engine behavior is common when your camshaft sensor gets damaged. This may cause unwanted speed increases on busy roads. It will therefore be a bumpy experience.
Alongside this, you face the risk of accidents as well. Unwanted engine behavior on busy roads is a recipe for disaster.
So although you can drive your car with a bad camshaft sensor, it isn’t recommended at all.
How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
All being said, you can still drive with a bad camshaft sensor for a long time. But this won’t be good at all for your vehicle’s health.
As mentioned earlier, while driving with a bad camshaft sensor, your engine efficiency will go down. As it’ll require more power to run, it can start having a toll on your engine. This will decrease its lifespan and overall performance.
With imbalances in fuel injections and power distribution, different parts of your vehicle will have to deal with excessive overload. This will make them more prone to wearing out and thus decreasing their lifetime and performance.
So to answer the question, you can keep driving on a bad camshaft sensor for as long as the parts of your car can hold up the additional stress.
Is It Safe to Drive With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
As I’ve discussed earlier, it isn’t totally safe at all to drive with a bad camshaft sensor. You’ll end up damaging your vehicle after all. Here are some symptoms you might want to know of a bad camshaft sensor.
When your camshaft sensor gets damaged, you can start noticing the following things in your car —
- Jerking and stumbling on acceleration.
- Sudden unwanted increases in speed.
- Hesitation while accelerating even when the gas pedal is pushed down.
- Auto transmission is getting stuck in a single gear.
- Engine taking too much time to start or not starting at all.
- The engine suddenly stops or stalls while driving.
- Check engine light constantly blinking on the dashboard.
If you’re facing any of these things in your car, you should immediately check your engine for a defective camshaft sensor. Otherwise, you may face a lot of problems.
What Problems You May Face Driving With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
Driving with a dysfunctional camshaft sensor is really detrimental to your vehicle’s health. As a driver, you may face some problems. The following are the most common —
Damaging Your Engine
Your engine will get damaged over time if you use a bad camshaft sensor. It’ll cause uneven rotation in the pistons, slowly damaging them over time. Your engine will also start to overheat, further impacting its health and overall performance.
If this continues, you risk busting your engine completely. As they’re not cheap to replace, this can pose a serious problem.
Irregular Driving Behavior
You’ll face a lot of irregularities while driving. It is common for the engine not to start. And even when it starts, it may stop suddenly during driving. This can be dangerous on highways.
Acceleration problems are also common. You might get a sudden jump in speed when you don’t want to. All this puts you and your car at risk for an accident.
Damaging Internal Parts
Different internal parts of your car will also face some issues when driving with a bad camshaft sensor.
While driving, unburnt fuel gets dumped into the exhaust system. This will damage the oxygen sensors of your car.
Your converter can also get damaged by sudden rises in temperature. This may even cause your vehicle to catch on fire.
Excess Fuel Consumption
If you drive with a bad camshaft sensor, your car will use more fuel. This creates a bad fuel economy and will make you spend extra on gas.
So, How Bad Idea Is It To Drive With A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
If you’ve come to this point in the post, I think it’s safe to say that driving with a malfunctioning camshaft sensor is a really bad idea. You risk damaging important parts of your car and becoming a public hazard yourself.
So, I would recommend not driving with a bad camshaft sensor at all. If you notice it’s failing, take it to a repair shop. So, only while taking it to the repair shop should you drive with a bad camshaft sensor.
Can You Fix A Bad Camshaft Sensor Yourself or See A Professional?
You can change a faulty camshaft sensor easily at your home. Getting a professional can be costly, so doing it yourself is the best decision. You can follow these steps to change a defective camshaft sensor —
- First, locate where your camshaft sensor is. It will usually be located close to the camshaft of your engine.
- You’ll see an electrical connection on the camshaft sensor. Now, pull it off carefully.
- Take the coil and plugs off your valve cover, and loosen its gasket bolts. Store all the parts in a secure container for later use.
- Now, your valve cover will come right off. Inside you will find your camshaft sensor.
- Unbolt the sensor carefully. Make sure you don’t lose the tiny bolt connecting it to the engine.
Pro Tip: You can use a magnet to not lose the bolt inside the engine.
- You have successfully removed the old and defective camshaft sensor. Now, screw your new camshaft sensor in its place with the bolt.
- Slide the valve cover on and connect the plugs and screws back in.
- Finally, connect the electrical connection back to the camshaft sensor. Your new camshaft sensor is now ready to go!
To check if you have successfully changed your camshaft sensor, start the engine of your car. If the engine starts properly and there is no check engine light, that means you have successfully changed the camshaft sensor.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
Camshaft sensors are quite inexpensive at around $25 to $50. It’ll depend on the model of your car, but for most cases, it’ll be under $100.
Getting your camshaft sensor changed by a professional can cost anywhere from $100 up to $200. Professionals charge an extra amount for their labor, so this increases the repair price.
On the contrary, changing the camshaft sensor yourself won’t cost as much. If you change it yourself, you’ll just be paying for the new sensor, and there won’t be additional labor costs.
As we’ve seen in the previous section, changing a camshaft sensor at home is easy. So, by following it, you can cost-effectively fix a bad camshaft sensor.
How to Fix Problems Caused By A Bad Camshaft Sensor?
As you’ve seen in this post, a bad camshaft sensor poses a lot of problems. You risk damaging multiple components of your car and are at risk yourself while driving.
The way to fix the problems caused by a bad camshaft sensor is to replace it. This will allow the electrical components in your engine to work again in harmony and you won’t face any future problems.
Hopefully, now you’re confident about the problem, “is it safe to drive with a bad camshaft sensor or not?”. All things considered, not spending the money to change it now will come to haunt you in the future. You might end up spending more money than was needed to make the change in the first place.
So, if you notice the symptoms as discussed in this post, try to change your camshaft sensor as quickly as possible. Only drive with a damaged on your way to the local repair store. This way, you can ensure both your and your vehicle’s safety.