Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

What Is a Camshaft Actuator?

by Andrea Stein

An actuator refers to a device used to control or move a system or mechanism. A camshaft actuator is used to control camshaft timing.

Camshaft

A camshaft is a shaft attached to the cam. This is the rotating piece in a mechanical linkage designed to convert circular motion into straight-line motion. The actuator is used to provide thrust to the base of the camshaft shaft.

Timing

Timing between the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft is integral to the proper function of a vehicle engine. The crankshaft refers to an engine part used to convert reciprocating linear piston motion into rotational motion. The camshaft operates the poppet valves, which control both exhaust gases and the air-to-fuel mixture flow. The valves must close and open at the necessary points during the piston stroke to transfer the gases and mixture. This timing is facilitated via the actuator.

Actuator

The camshaft actuator mounts to the end of the camshaft and either slows or speeds up the opening and closing of the poppet valves via commands sent by the Engine Control Unit. This enables valve timing to be more precise, which helps optimizes engine performance.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

More Articles

Photo Credits