Temporary Fix for crankshaft position sensor issue: how to start a car with a bad crankshaft sensor

If you’re on the road and your car is shaking, sputtering, or just not running right, then it’s probably time to check your crankshaft position sensor. Unfortunately, this sensor can go wrong for various reasons, and if it does, it can cause all sorts of problems. In this article, I’m going to describe the temporary fix for crankshaft position sensor problems if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead car.

Also, I will discuss the possible causes of crankshaft position sensor problems, the symptoms to watch for, and how to avoid them in the future. So read on to learn how you can fix your car’s crankshaft sensor problem and start it up again!

Temporary Fix for crankshaft position sensor

What Is a Crankshaft Position Sensor, And What Does It Do?

A crankshaft position sensor is a device that monitors the rotational speed of the engine’s crankshaft. It sends that information to your car’s computer Or ECU. This information is then used by the engine control unit (ECU) to make appropriate adjustments, such as altering ignition timing, the engine’s relative speed, and the engine’s actual RPM to ensure proper operation of the engine. So any fault with this sensor can cause big problems.

Symptoms Of Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor?

If you’re experiencing issues with your car, it’s important to check the crankshaft position sensor. A faulty CKP sensor may be causing some serious problems, so get it replaced as soon as possible. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s probably time to replace your crankshaft position sensor:

  1. Flashing Check Engine Light
  2. Engine Stops Suddenly
  3. Hard To Start The Engine Or Unable To Start the Engine
  4. No Spark at Ignition Coil
  5. Intermittent Stalling
  6. Sudden Shake On Vehicle
  7. Poor Economy Mileage

Uneven Acceleration

If you are experiencing two or more of these issues, it might be a good idea to bring your car in for a diagnostic checkup. A mechanic can use an OBD-II scanner tool to diagnose and fix the issue right away.

Sudden Shake On Vehicle

Sudden engine vibration is one of the most prominent and frequent symptoms car owners experience due to a bad crankshaft position sensor.

A bad CKP sensor can not optimize your engine’s performance as expected. When it reads the incorrect signal and sends that signal to your ECM/ ECU to make the fuel and ignition timing adjustments, it can not make the correct adjustment. As a result, you may experience sudden vibrations in your vehicle.

If the sensor is not functioning correctly, it will cause the engine to vibrate and sometimes make a “thunk” sound. This is often accompanied by a loss of power and can lead to some other issues, including:

  • Difficulty shifting gears
  • Inability to accelerate or go up hills
  • Engine knocking

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your crankshaft sensor checked out as soon as possible.

Poor Economy Mileage

Without having the correct timing information from the crankshaft position sensor, the engine may not be able to produce the desired power resulting in reduced fuel economy. This can also lead to decreased performance and increased emissions. If you notice poor fuel economy or poor driving performance, it’ll be wise to check whether the CKP sensor is okay or not.

Flashing Check Engine Light (CEL)

Illuminating the check engine light (CEL) is one of the many symptoms of a bad CKP sensor.

However, the check engine light function may also be activated for various other reasons like Faulty ECU, Defective Ignition Coil, Wiring Issues, reductant heater A control circuit performance issues, and so on. So to know if it’s the crankshaft position sensor that’s causing the problem or not, you need to take the help of the OBD-II tool to get the DTC error codes.

Engine Stops Suddenly

If you are experiencing engine stoppages suddenly, it is most likely due to a bad crankshaft position sensor or faulty wiring in the sensor. This faulty sensor or wiring problem can cause the engine to stop abruptly while driving and even lead to a car crash. 

When the ECU can not receive the proper signals from the sensor, it stops supplying the fuel to the cylinder. This means the injectors cannot inject the correct amount of fuel into each cylinder.

Hard To Start The Engine Or Unable To Start the Engine

CKP sensor helps the engine control unit (ECU/ECM) adjust its timing and is responsible for supplying the spark to start the engine. If the sensor is not working correctly, your car’s ECU will send wrong signals to the engine; as a result, the engine will face difficulty or even impossible to start. Sometimes, a weak or burnt-out sensor may also result in this issue. Therefore, if you are having trouble starting your car, it is important to get the problem diagnosed and resolved as soon as possible.

Misfire at Ignition Coil

Having misfires at the ignition time is likely because the coil does not provide a high enough voltage to ignite the fuel. A faulty CKP sensor may be causing this fault by sending wrong engine signals. When the CKP sensor can not send the correct piston position and crankshaft speed information to the ECU, it will cause misfires at the time of ignition.

Intermittent Stalling

If your car is experiencing intermittent stalls, the problem likely lies with the crankshaft position sensor or its wiring. When the sensor malfunctions, it will cause incorrect signals to be sent to the engine control unit. This can cause your car to stall intermittently. If you are experiencing this problem, it is crucial to get the issue diagnosed and resolved as soon as possible.

Uneven Acceleration

A bad CKP sensor can also significantly cause uneven acceleration when accelerating from a stop. This is because the engine may not be able to properly match the desired crankshaft speed to the actual rotational speed of the engine. Again, this can cause issues with fuel economy and performance.

Suppose you’re experiencing issues with your car’s acceleration. In that case, it might be time to check if the crankshaft position sensor is faulty. This sensor is responsible for determining the crankshaft position and is responsible for sending signals to the engine control unit (ECU) to determine ignition timing and fuel injection. When the sensor isn’t working correctly, the car will experience uneven acceleration, leading to more serious engine problems down the line.

Temporary Fix For Crankshaft Position Sensor Problem

If you are in the middle of the road and can not start the engine or notice any of the above symptoms, you may need to take your car to the mechanic. In the meantime, check out these temporary fixes for the crankshaft position sensor problem to avoid the significant issue and at least get your car started or reach a mechanic as soon as possible. However, since the crankshaft position sensor is an electronic device; as a result, it is near impossible to repair, but we can try to bypass it.

Let The Vehicle Cool Down

If you notice the CEL is flashing and/or sudden shaking while driving, the first step would be to let the vehicle cool down. Once it has cooled off, you can try to start the car again. This will help to reduce severe shock to the engine. If the engine stops working, follow the below steps.

Unplug the Crankshaft Position sensor Plug

If your car stops and the engine is not starting, the next thing you should do is unplug the crankshaft position sensor plug. Next, try turning the key in the ignition several times without starting the engine. If your car still doesn’t start after trying these steps, we can test the next step.

Refill the Fuel

When the ECU doesn’t receive a proper signal from the CKP sensor, it doesn’t supply enough fuel, which can lead to the engine turning off. To fix the problem, unplug the CKP plug and refill the fuel using the engine’s injector connector; after that, turn the key on.

Check the CKP sensor Wiring:

If the engine still does not start, you may need to check the wiring of the CKP sensor. If there is any obstruction on the sensor’s electrical connector, then it will not send the signal to the ECU/ECM resulting in your car will not start. Use a multi-meter to test continuity between each pin of the connector and ECU. If there is any connection break, you need to replace the wire.

How To Test whether Crank position Sensor Is Working or Not Without OBD II Scanner

Suppose you are confused about whether the problem is associated with the crankshaft position sensor. In that case, you can try to test it without the help of an OBD II scanner. To do so, follow this step.

There are two types of crankshaft sensors- one is two wires, and the other is three wires. First, we need to identify the signal wire. To identify the signal wire, use a voltmeter or wire diagram. 

The three-wire sensor has its own circuit and can produce 5-8 volts of power. The three wires are 

  • a ground wire, 
  • a power wire and the last one is 
  • a signal wire.

If your crank sensor comes with two wires, follow these steps: 

  1. disconnect the crank sensor, 
  2. then ignition key on; 
  3. now take the test light and connect it to the battery ground; 
  4. after then, tap on both crank sensor signal terminals repeatedly. 
  5. You will notice a spark click and injector noide each time you tap the signal terminal.

If your crank sensor comes with three wires, follow these steps: 

  1. Identify the signal wire, take the test light, 
  2. and connect it with the battery ground. 
  3. Now key on disconnect crank sensor and repeatedly tap the signal terminal. 
  4. You will notice a spark click and injector noide each time you tap the terminal.

These are steps to test whether the crank sensor is dead or not. If the sensor is dead, your engine will not start, and you will need to replace it.

Causes Of Crankshaft Position Sensor Problem

If you’re experiencing issues with your crankshaft position sensor, it’s essential to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. 

There are many causes, so it’s important to have the engine checked by a mechanic. Common causes include worn or damaged parts, water infiltration, and bad connections. If you’re unsure if your crankshaft position sensor is the problem, check for codes that may indicate the issue. For example, if you’re getting check engine light codes, your sensor is likely the culprit.

Overheating Engine

If you’re experiencing crankshaft position sensor problems, it’s most likely because your engine is overheating. This can be caused by various factors, such as a blocked engine air filter, faulty thermostat, or bad fuel injection system. To prevent crankshaft position sensor problems from happening in the future, make sure to check all the common causes of engine overheating and take appropriate measures to rectify the issue. Additionally, have your engine checked by a professional every time there is an unusual noise or vibration from it.

Faulty voltage, damaged wire

Noticing a decrease in engine performance or a loss of power is most likely because of a problem with your crankshaft position sensor. This sensor sends signals to the engine control module (ECM) to determine the crankshaft position.

Suppose the wire connecting the sensor to the ECM is damaged. In that case, the faulty voltage will be sent, which will eventually cause the sensor to malfunction. You will need to take your car to a mechanic for diagnostic testing to fix this issue. Depending on the severity of the damage, it may just require replacing the wire or even the entire sensor. Getting your car checked out by a mechanic is always a good idea to avoid any unforeseen complications down the road.

What Are The Common Crankshaft Position Sensor-related DTC Codes

If you’re experiencing issues with your car, the crank sensor is likely the issue. This sensor detects the crankshaft’s position, and if it fails, this could result in DTC codes being stored. The most common code is P0335 – this indicates a problem with the crank sensor.

Crankshaft position sensor location

The crankshaft position sensor is generally located near the camshaft, which is the front of the engine, towards the bottom. It is usually located behind the harmonic balancer.


If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed below and are unsure how to fix the problem, check out our blog for temporary fixes and more information on the crankshaft position sensor location. We hope that this article has helped you better understand the crankshaft position sensor and will help you get your car back on the road as soon as possible!

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Rifen

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