Symptoms of a faulty crank sensor

Written by melanie fleury
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Symptoms of a faulty crank sensor
A faulty crank sensor will cause your cylinders to not fire or fire incorrectly. (Geir Pettersen/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Vehicles that were made in 1980 and later all have a computer component that manages sensors and provides information to the engine. The computers help the cars to get the best efficiency they can. The Crank Sensor, also known as the CPK, or crank position sensor, is what is responsible for making sure that the engine cylinders fire in the proper order.

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Cylinder Misfires

One primary symptom of your crank sensor being faulty is that your engine may misfire. If that occurs, it means that the sensor is not translating the piston position to the computer properly.


In some cases, a car may hesitate, or pause, before accelerating. If this happens, the crank sensor is not giving the information to the computer fast enough. The crank sensor tells the computer where the cylinders are so that the appropriate cylinder will be fired when the person driving presses the accelerator.

Starting Problems

Problems with starting intermittently or eventually not starting at all can sometime be attributed to the crank sensor. This means that the sensor is sending no information at all to the computer, so the computer has not been alerted to fire any cylinders. In this case, it could mean that an electrical connection is not secure.

Other Culprits

Although a faulty crank sensor can be blamed for these symptoms, there are other culprits that can also show the same type of symptoms. Engine malfunctions, timing mechanism problems and even a faulty spark plug can cause the same type of behaviour.

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