What Is a Crank Position Sensor?

by Melissa Rogers

The crankshaft position sensor is an electronic component designed to fine-tune the timing of a vehicle's engine. The sensor works with the vehicle's on-board computer to ensure the vehicle runs at optimal performance.


The crankshaft position sensor monitors the position and speed of the crankshaft to control the ignition system timing. The component aids in variable valve timing by monitoring the movement between the vehicle's pistons, valves and the engine, noting the engine's revolutions per minute.


Made from magnets and an inductive coil, the crank position sensor is positioned next to the crankshaft. The crankshaft has several pins spaced an equal distance apart which is read and calculated by the magnets within the sensor as the crankshaft spins.


These sensors are located in the lower front of the engine block either directly next to the crankshaft, within the main crank pulley or the flywheel. The crankshaft position sensor can be identified as a long, thin, black cord.

About the Author

Based in Southern California, Melissa Rogers has been writing professionally since 2006. Her work has been featured in "Popstar! Magazine" and used for the "MTV Canada Special: Miley Cyrus Can't Be Tamed." Her work reporting on the entertainment industry is often sourced by websites such as OceanUp and FuseTV. Rogers has an associate degree in communications from Saddleback College.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera old engine image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com