What Is A Camshaft Position Sensor And Why Is It Important?

Your Nissan is full of sensors. Did you know that there’s even a sensor for your camshaft? It’s called the camshaft position sensor.

The camshaft rotates very fast. As it rotates, it controls when the valves open and close. If the valve timing is even a little bit off, the engine’s performance suffers. The camshaft position sensor makes sure that the valve timing stays accurate.

How A Camshaft Position Sensor Works

Camshaft position sensor

Image Credit: CarTreatments

The location of the sensor depends on your Nissan model. Usually, the camshaft position sensor is mounted on the cylinder head. It is placed opposite to the timing rotor that’s attached to the camshaft.

The camshaft position sensor connects to the ECU. The sensor monitors the rotation of the camshaft. It does this by using a magnet to produce or vary an electronic signal. The camshaft position sensor then sends the information to the ECU. The ECU uses the information to:

  • Detect the camshaft position
  • Fine tune the spark timing
  • Fine tune the duration of the injector pulse
  • Determine the timing of the fuel injection pulse

The whole process occurs many, many times in a minute. The rapid pace of the process means that everything needs to work properly at all times. This includes the camshaft position sensor.

Camshaft Position Sensors Can Fail

Nissan designed its camshaft position sensors to last the lifetime of the vehicle, unlike some other sensors such as the oxygen sensor. Yet, it’s possible for a camshaft position sensor to fail before the vehicle runs its course.

Some of the most common causes of camshaft position sensor failure include:

  • Excessive heat from the engine
  • Car accidents
  • Water/moisture damage
  • Oil build up on the engine from an oil leak
  • Damaged sensor wires
  • A secondary problem related to an issue with another part within the engine

Signs Of A Bad Camshaft Position Sensor

If you’re experiencing some (or all) of the following symptoms, then chances are the camshaft position sensor could be bad.

  • Rough idling
  • Engine stalling frequently
  • Decreased engine power
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Sluggish acceleration

You want to diagnose the issue and replace the camshaft position sensor as soon as possible. If you let this go on long enough, the engine will either:

  • Cut out and die while you’re driving
  • Not start at all

It’s because the weaker the camshaft position sensor, the weaker the signal it sends to the ECU. The signal will become weaker and weaker until it switches off. When that happens, the engine switches off too. There’s no way to turn the engine back on unless you replace the camshaft position sensor. That’s why it’s best to catch the issue and address it before it gets to that point.

Do You Need To Replace Your Camshaft Position Sensor?

Camshaft sensor

At Nissan Parts Plus, you can find genuine OEM Nissan parts at wholesale pricing. We carry camshaft sensors for many different Nissan models. One of our best sellers is this camshaft position sensor for select 2000-2019 Nissan models.

Do you need help finding the right camshaft position sensor for your Nissan model? We’ll be happy to help if you contact us!