Of all the parts in your car, the crankshaft sensor is not one that usually requires a replacement. It’s one component that will last most of your vehicle’s lifespan. Still, if it fails and needs to be replaced, the replacement process is pretty straightforward.
Replacing a crankshaft sensor is easy and only requires some essential tools. You’ll need to lift the car with a floor jack and jack stands. Then, you’ll need a ratchet and socket set to remove the sensor and its mounting bolt before putting the new one in. Lastly, a code scanner or reader is required to clear any active fault codes triggered by the old sensor.
Read this guide to understand what tools you need and why they’re necessary to replace a crankshaft sensor. Then, you’ll discover a step-by-step process to get the job done safely and effectively.
What Tools Do You Need To Replace A Crankshaft Sensor?
Unlike when dealing with some of the other sensors in your car, removing and replacing a crankshaft is a pretty straightforward and relatively easier process. As a result, the tools you’ll need to get the job done are also pretty basic.
Here are the tools you’ll need to replace a crankshaft sensor:
- A floor jack: Depending on how the manufacturer has designed your car and its engine bay, you might have to access the crankshaft sensor from below the vehicle. If that’s the case, you’ll need a floor jack to raise your car off the ground so you can work safely with plenty of room to move around.
- Jack stands: The floor jack helps lift your vehicle off the ground, but you’ll also want some jack stands to keep the car safely elevated. Those jack stands provide increased protection against the vehicle falling to the floor while elevated, potentially injuring you.
- A ratchet and socket set: The floor jack and jack stands provide access to the crankshaft sensor. However, a ratchet and socket set is also needed to detach the existing sensor and attach the replacement.
- The replacement crankshaft sensor: Of course, you’ll need a suitable replacement crankshaft sensor. Be careful when purchasing this replacement. You should always buy an identical replacement from the same manufacturer. That way, you won’t have any compatibility issues because the part will work well with the rest of your vehicle.
- An onboard diagnostics code scanner or reader: If your crankshaft sensor has gone bad and you’re experiencing problems, you likely have active error or fault codes in your car. Once you replace the sensor, you’ll need a basic code scanner or reader to clear those codes.
The items listed above are the tools you need to replace a crankshaft sensor successfully. As you’ll see in the next section of this article, the process is incredibly straightforward.
How Do You Replace A Crankshaft Sensor?
Replacing a crankshaft sensor is a pretty easy job, and you don’t need much automotive expertise to get it done. Still, working with a helper nearby is always best, especially if you’re accessing the crankshaft sensor from beneath the vehicle.
Start by preparing your vehicle. You should park it on a level surface with its gear in Park and its parking brakes engaged.
Then, follow these 5 steps to replace your crankshaft sensor:
Step 1: Raise And Locate
First and foremost, you must raise the vehicle off the ground and keep it there safely. That way, you can work underneath the car safely and with plenty of wiggle room to move around.
So, use the floor jack to lift the front of your car off the ground. Once the vehicle is high enough off the ground, that’s when you slide the jack stands underneath to support the vehicle.
Those jack stands are stationary, so there’s no chance of them slipping away if the car moves.
From underneath, look up into the engine bay to locate your existing crankshaft sensor. Most vehicles will have their sensor between the engine and the transmission. However, you might need to refer to the car owner’s manual to locate yours.
Step 2: Remove Existing Sensor And Connector
Once you locate the crankshaft sensor, use your ratchet and socket set to undo the bolt holding it in place. Once your socket is in place, you only need to apply a little bit of force to free the bolt and enable you to pull the sensor out of its position.
Don’t forget to disconnect its electrical connector, as that keeps the sensor tethered to the engine even after you’ve removed the sensor.
Step 3: Prepare O-Ring And Install New Sensor
When you removed the existing crankshaft sensor, you took along with it an o-ring. That ring is crucial to maintain a tight seal and prevent the sensor from coming undone due to engine vibrations.
That’s crucial to understand because you must prepare and install a new o-ring before attaching the new crankshaft sensor.
So, first, prepare the new o-ring by lubricating it lightly. That will prevent it from damage when you tighten the sensor. Then, put it in place where the new sensor will go.
Next, slide the new crankshaft sensor into place and tighten it gently.
Before you reattach the bolt, check the product manual. The manufacturer will specify the amount of torque you should use to reinstall the new bolt securely without damaging the sensor.
Lastly, reattach the electrical connectors the correct way around.
Step 4: Lower Vehicle Safely
Once you’re confident that you’ve installed the new crankshaft sensor correctly, you can gently lower the vehicle down to the ground.
Step 5: Clear Error Codes And Test The Engine
This process’s final step is ensuring that the new crankshaft sensor works. That way, the Check Engine light will shut off (if it was on before), and you can proceed to clear the error or fault codes on the onboard diagnostics.
Plug your code reader or scanner into the onboard diagnostics port in your car. Then, clear any active error codes regarding the crankshaft sensor.
The job is done at this point. However, you’ll want to perform some testing to ensure that the crankshaft is working correctly and that you don’t have any problems to worry about.
You can start the engine and monitor your car for a while. Better yet, take a quick drive around the block to see if the vehicle functions well.
If the replacement is successful and the new crankshaft sensor is functioning correctly, you won’t have any active fault codes, the Check Engine light won’t turn on, and the car will drive smoothly.
The crankshaft sensor collects data to ensure your engine functions correctly. So, you can’t drive around comfortably for long without replacing a problematic sensor.
Removing and replacing it is a pretty straightforward job. You’ll only need a basic set of tools to do it correctly, including a ratchet and socket set, a jack and jack stands, plus a code reader or scanner.
You only need to raise the vehicle to access the sensor from below and remove it. Then, you can mount the new sensor and clear any active error codes from before.