Diesel engines don’t start the way other motors do because they don’t have spark plugs. Instead, diesel engines start when an air/fuel mixture combusts at an extremely high temperature. The crankshaft position sensor is a critical component of a diesel engine because it sends signals to the crankshaft about how much fuel or air is necessary for that mixture. If the sensor isn’t working correctly and sends the wrong messages, you could be in for a host of issues. Your automobile may not have the right amount of fuel it needs to start, and the entire system can get out of whack. The timed scheduled may also get messed up if fuel injectors open when they aren’t supposed to. The rest of this piece will discuss telltale signs your crankshaft position sensor is failing so that you know what to watch for on the road.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re ready to start your day—and the truck won’t start. To the Average Joe, this delays their entire plan for the day. For folks who own trucking fleets, this means a loss of revenue and packages going undelivered. One potential reason why the truck won’t start is that the crankshaft position sensor is failing. Try to think of the sensor as a messenger and the crankshaft itself as the operator. If the messenger gives the operator an incorrect reading, the whole system gets disrupted. For example, the sensor may think that there’s enough fuel to get started, so it tells the crankshaft to get going. Yet, things get messy if there’s not really enough gas, and more is needed. This may be the one case in life where the old saying is wrong; you can blame the messenger.
Being carsick is terrible. One reason why you might feel nauseated behind the wheel is because of uneven acceleration. Things might get shaky because of a faulty crankshaft position sensor. Again, the crankshaft operates on a timed schedule. The part looks like a rod with cranks on it that move and keep the engine running. If there’s an issue with the sensor, you might experience a less than smooth drive because the sensor is giving the crankshaft inaccurate readings while you’re driving. The fuel injectors may open when they aren’t supposed to, causing excessive jostling and, eventually, carsickness.
Poor Fuel Mileage
Another headache that drivers hate dealing with is low fuel mileage. Gas is expensive. Everyday folks or those operating a trucking fleet certainly don’t want to spend more cash at the pump than necessary. Speak to a mechanic if you’ve been stopping at the gas station more than usual. Here’s what might be happening: Let’s say your crankshaft position sensor tells the crankshaft more fuel is necessary for operation. In this case, your crankshaft will go into overdrive and pump more fuel into the engine than it needs. This process is entirely wasteful and costly. Pay attention to how many times you’re stopping at the pump to keep money in your pockets.
Not So Good Vibrations
Every driver expects to feel a little vibration while they’re behind the wheel. However, if things are shaking beyond belief, you’ve probably got a big problem on your hands. When the crankshaft gets the wrong messages from the sensors, their timed schedule gets off. Therefore, you might feel more vibrations than usual. The crankshaft must stay on its regular operating schedule because a diesel engine is incredibly complex, and the automobile won’t drive smoothly without it. Thus, you should head to a repair specialist the minute you feel lots of movement.
The Dreaded Check Engine Light
Nothing ruins a day more than seeing a check engine light come on. One explanation for this occurrence might be a failing crankshaft position sensor. However, it’s important to note that this indicator might flash because of various issues. Thus, you should always rely on a trained mechanic to tell you what’s going on. Be sure to let the repair specialist know if you’ve experienced any other signs of a crankshaft position sensor failure. That way, they can pop the hood and get down to the root of the problem.
Keep an eye out for these symptoms of a bad crankshaft position sensor so that you don’t end up with costly repairs or perhaps even get into an accident. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening. For starters, keep the vehicle out of extreme heat. Think of your crankshaft position sensor as a computer that sends signals. Like any other computer, the sensor shouldn’t get too hot.
Another thing you can do to keep the sensor from failing entirely is to perform regular maintenance. The crankshaft position sensor may wear over time. Thus, a mechanic should look things over occasionally to determine when various parts require replacement.
If a replacement does become your only option, look no further than ATL Diesel. We sell excellent remanufactured Cummins engine parts that are less expensive than newer components but still high-quality. Our team will work with you every step of the way until you’re back on the road completing the rest of the day’s tasks. We know how much vehicle issues throw a wrench in your day, so we make it our goal to prioritize customer satisfaction in any way that we can. And you can make the process a little simpler if you can recognize what problems to watch out for while you’re on the road. The more you know, the faster the repairs will be.