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Where to Find the Crankshaft Position Sensor (Location & Appearance)

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Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 12:47 am

The crankshaft position sensor is a crucial part of a car’s ignition system. It tracks the position and rotational speed of the crankshaft, crucial information for the engine control module (ECM).

The ECM needs this sensor to manage the ignition timing and fuel injection correctly.

If the sensor fails, the ECM might mismanage these tasks, leading to diminished engine performance or even engine damage.

This article delves into the details of the crankshaft position sensor, such as where you can find it, what it looks like, and whether an average car owner can replace it themselves.

Understanding the Crankshaft Position Sensor

The crankshaft position sensor, also known as CPS or CKP, is a sensor located on the engine block or cylinder head.

crankshaft position sensor highlighted in red

It’s primary job is to give the ECM data about the crankshaft’s position and rotation speed.

The ECM uses this information to manage the ignition timing and fuel injection, ensuring smooth and efficient engine operation.

The crankshaft position sensor uses a magnetic field or a reluctor wheel to identify the crankshaft’s position.

The sensor transmits this information as an electrical signal to the ECM. The ECM then uses it to calculate the engine’s RPM and establish the right ignition timing and fuel injection.

Where to Find the Crankshaft Position Sensor

The crankshaft position sensor’s location can change based on the vehicle’s make and model.

It’s usually found in one of these places:

  1. At the front of the engine, close to the crankshaft pulley or flywheel
  2. On the engine’s side, near the starter motor
  3. At the engine’s rear, near the transmission

For accurate location, it’s advised to check the vehicle’s service manual or consult a mechanic. The service manual might offer detailed data on the sensor’s location and how to replace it, if needed.

Appearance of the Crankshaft Position Sensor

The crankshaft position sensor usually looks like a small cylinder with a connector at one end and a mounting hole at the other.

It might be fastened to the engine block or cylinder head using a mounting bracket or bolt. The sensor could also come with a cover or shield to keep debris or moisture out.

mechanic holding crankshaft position sensor

Replacing the Crankshaft Sensor Yourself

The replacement process for the crankshaft sensor is generally simple and can be handled by a car owner with basic mechanical skills.

However, bear in mind that the sensor is a critical part of the vehicle’s ignition system. Any errors during the replacement could lead to engine damage or other problems.

If you’re not sure about your mechanical abilities or aren’t familiar with your vehicle’s specific make and model, it’s better to let a professional mechanic handle the replacement.

They will have the required tools, knowledge, and experience to ensure the sensor is installed correctly, and the vehicle operates smoothly.


In summary, the crankshaft position sensor is a key element of a vehicle’s ignition system. It feeds the ECM with data about the crankshaft’s position and rotational speed.

It’s usually located at the front, side, or back of the engine and can be recognized by its small, cylindrical shape and connector.

While an average car owner can replace the crankshaft position sensor, it’s recommended to get a professional’s help to guarantee a safe and proper installation.

Signs of a malfunctioning or failing crankshaft position sensor include engine misfires, trouble starting the vehicle, reduced fuel efficiency, and impaired engine performance.

If you spot any of these problems, it’s crucial to have the sensor checked and replaced, if required, to prevent further engine damage.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer.He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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