Many times you hear people talking about car sensors without even specifying what types of sensors they are referring to. For example, someone will be like, “You know what man, my engine keeps on misfiring and I’m not sure if it’s the sensors that are causing it or something else.”
Usually, these people want to sound more knowledgeable about cars than you, especially when they are in front of their girlfriends.
Let me explain to you that modern vehicles come with several different types of sensors. A person who truly knows about cars and engines more than the normal motorist will specify the kind of sensors they are talking about.
You see we have more than ten types of sensors each of which performs a specific function in the engine. One of them is the camshaft position sensor, which is simply known as the “camshaft sensor.”
The work of this sensor is to monitor the position and proper timing of the camshaft so that the camshaft can operate as efficiently as it’s designed to. As such, a bad camshaft sensor may create lots of problems in the functioning of the camshaft.
So, can a camshaft sensor cause misfire?
The short answer is: YES. A problematic camshaft sensor can lead to a problematic camshaft that doesn’t properly let in the gas-air mixture and let out the remnants of the burnt gas-air mixture. This is a major cause of a misfire.
What Problems Can a Camshaft Sensor Cause?
Besides misfires, a bad camshaft sensor can create a myriad of problems for your engine. These include mismatched ignition timing and fuel delivery. This will cause a lot of driveability problems for your car.
For example, your vehicle will sputter(be unable to achieve full combustion) when starting, lack power, accelerate poorly, or even stall and shut off. You don’t want these problems to get you.
Knowing the causes of a bad cam position sensor can ensure you avoid those causes and having a bad sensor in general. Having said that, here are some:
Some parts of a cam position sensor are made from metal, which is not corrosion-resistant. If these parts are damaged by corrosion, that can cause internal short circuit problems, causing your sensor to start misbehaving.
By the way, most sensors have failed because of this issue. Avoid subjecting your sensor to corrosion risk factors such as water, humidity, certain, and temperatures.
2. Oil Leaks
A worn-out or bad oil seal for your cam position sensor could cause oil to leak on your sensor thereby destroying the sensor. To avoid that, service the oil seals for your sensors regularly, replacing the bad or malfunctioning seals to avoid potential oil leaks that could ruin your sensor.
3. Failure of Other Engine Components
A bad engine component can also hurt your cam position sensor. To avoid that, make sure to service your engine regularly with the help of a competent mechanic who understands your car model.
That will limit the chances of a malfunctioning engine component that may otherwise cause problems with your cam sensor.
4. Wear and Tear
Your cam position sensor just like other components of your vehicle’s engine is susceptible to wear and tear. By the way, the sensor is not designed to last a lifetime.
So, to avoid disappointment, be sure to replace it after the duration recommended by your manufacturer. Matter of fact, the sensors for modern vehicles will last 100,000 miles or 7-10 years, whichever comes first, before needing replacement.
Should You Replace or Fix a Camshaft that Causes Misfire?
As you have seen, a bad camshaft position sensor can destroy the camshaft to which it’s connected. If you have a bad camshaft, you may be undecided as to whether to fix the camshaft or just replace it altogether.
An expert would advise you to replace rather than repair this part. Camshafts come with lots of manufacturing complexities that many mechanics simply can’t tackle.
There are many mechanics out there who will lie to you that they are capable of fixing bad camshaft while, in reality, they aren’t. Even though you’ll pay them a lot of money, they’ll not make the problem go away.
In the end, you’ll be sick and tired of moving from one garage to another in search of a mechanic who can truly fix your camshaft. Instead of subjecting yourself to all that pain and agony, better just replace the cam with a new one.
After all, the process is quick and less intricate than that of dismantling and trying to repair a broken cam.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace or Fix a Bad Cam?
Looking at the rates offered by different mechanics out there, it’s safe to say that camshaft replacement costs between $720 and around $3100, on average.
Of course, it depends on your vehicle model and type. Notably, labor is more expensive than the cam itself as it takes a lot of work to get to it and replace it. Don’t forget that the camshaft is located almost at the heart of your engine.
On the other hand, fixing a camshaft will cost between $110 and around $300, on average. Again, it all depends on your car model. Unfortunately, not so many mechanics provide this service.
And for the few who do, a good number of them are just liars who will take your money, but not fix the camshaft successfully. As such, you may end up going to several mechanics, one after the other, to get this important component of your engine corrected.
The worst part is that you’ll spend more money compared to when you go for the replacement option.
Your camshaft position sensor is critical to the normal functioning of your camshaft and combustion system in general. If it’s problematic, it could lead to you needing to replace it plus the entire camshaft system.
After all, a bad sensor can damage a good cam, creating a myriad of problems, including misfires. And if you ever find yourself in a dilemma where you are not sure whether to fix or replace a malfunctioning camshaft, just go with the latter option.
After all, replacing is cheaper and less frustrating than fixing, in the long run.