How to Reset Camshaft Position Sensor in 7 Steps

October 28th, 2023 by

Modern automobile engines have a camshaft position sensor that monitors the camshaft’s position for precise engine timing. Misfires, poor fuel efficiency, and rough idling are just a few of the performance issues arising from a faulty sensor. In some cases, resetting or recalibrating the sensor is necessary. Read as our Cochran Cars team in Boardman and Youngstown, Ohio, explains the camshaft position sensor function and symptoms of a faulty sensor. We’ll also walk you through resetting it, the necessary tools, and safety precautions to keep in mind.

Understanding the Sensor

man working on a camshaft

The camshaft position sensor plays a role in the engine management system. It monitors the precise position of the camshaft, a rotating shaft that regulates the opening and shutting of valves. The sensor gives data to the engine control module (ECM), assisting it in determining the best timing for injection and ignition. This information helps prevent misfires, optimize fuel economy, decrease emissions, and improve engine performance.

Why Reset?

You may need to reset or recalibrate the camshaft position sensor if you notice any of the following:

  • Poor engine performance: A faulty sensor can interrupt engine timing, decreasing power and overall performance.
  • Rough idle: Faulty sensors can cause irregular idling by affecting valve timing, resulting in engine instability.
  • Starting issues: Incorrect sensor readings might cause issues when starting the engine, such as extended cranking or inability to start.
  • Check engine light:  A defective sensor frequently causes the check engine light to illuminate because of its vital function in engine performance. Inaccurate sensor data can affect fuel injection timing, lowering fuel efficiency and mileage.
  • Stalling:  An erroneous sensor might cause the engine to stall abruptly, creating a safety risk.

You can try a sensor calibration or reset in response to these issues. A sensor calibration is vital when replacing or repairing the sensor to efficiently integrate it with the engine management system, restoring optimal engine performance and treating any symptoms of a faulty sensor.

Safety First

Safety should always come first while maintaining an automobile. Use the following critical safety precautions when resetting the camshaft position sensor:

  • Park on a level surface: Park the automobile on a firm, level surface to minimize accidents or inadvertent movement.
  • Turn off the engine: Ensure the engine is off and remove the ignition key to decrease the risk of false starts.
  • Disconnect the battery: Disconnect the battery’s negative connector to avoid electrical shocks and unintended electrical component activation.
  • Consult manuals: Find the owners manual for your car and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you’re performing safe automobile repairs.

Tools and Preparation

You’ll need the following tools to perform a successful camshaft position sensor reset:

  • OBD-II scanner.
  • Socket and ratchet set.
  • Wrenches.
  • Safety equipment (gloves and safety glasses).
  • Owners manual.
  • Multimeter (optional).
  • Jack and jack stand (if required).

Don’t forget to wear the right personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses, to protect yourself from chemicals, sharp edges, and potential electrical hazards.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Resetting Your Camshaft Sensor

Now that you’ve reviewed the fundamentals, it’s time to move on to the detailed instructions for resetting the camshaft position sensor.

Step 1

Check that you’ve followed all the proper safety precautions and preparations.

Step 2

Follow the directions in the owners manual to find the camshaft position sensor in your vehicle. It’s often close to the camshaft or timing belt cover. You may need to remove the engine cover to reach it. Inspect it for any obvious damage.

Step 3

Replace the sensor if you notice damage. After replacing it or confirming there’s no outside damage, look for the diagnostic port on the car. It should accept an OBD-II scanner in an under-dashboard port on the driver’s side.

Step 4

Plug in your scanner once you find the port. Once it’s ready, reset the sensor codes and information according to the on-screen instructions on the OBD-II scanner. Refer to the scanner’s handbook for detailed instructions if necessary.

Step 5

Safely reattach the battery’s negative terminal after successfully resetting the sensor.

Step 6

Start the engine and take the car for a spin. Examine the engine’s operation for any evidence of misfires, harsh idling, or poor performance.

Step 7

After finishing the test drive, use the OBD-II scanner to look for any leftover fault codes. There should be no error codes if the reset was successful.


After resetting the camshaft position sensor, calibration is essential, as it fine-tunes it back to the optimal position. It’s only necessary when installing an all-new camshaft position sensor, not when you do a simple code-reader reset. Without correct calibration, the camshaft sensor may produce false data, resulting in poor performance, lower efficiency, and higher emissions, potentially causing engine damage. The steps to calibrate a new camshaft sensor are as follows:

  • Attach the OBD-II device again after properly installing the new camshaft position sensor and safely reconnecting the battery.
  • Follow the device’s instructions to run a crank angle sensor error relearn process. You may need to look up the steps in a manual.
  • Follow the on-screen prompts until the device finishes, disconnect it, and test-drive the vehicle.


Troubleshooting common issues during or after a camshaft position sensor reset is essential. The following tips can ensure your success:

  • Check for error codes: Use your OBD-II scanner to discover any new error codes that may have appeared after the reset.
  • Inspect the sensor and battery connection: Ensure you’ve properly attached the camshaft position sensor so there are no loose wires or broken connections. The same applies to the battery connection.
  • Test-drive the vehicle: Go for a test drive to catch any performance issues. It might take some time for the ECM to adjust, but you don’t want your daily driving to feel worse.
  • Consult a technician: If problems persist or worsen, consult a certified technician or dealership to diagnose and fix any underlying concerns.

Trust Your Vehicle’s Camshaft Position Sensor to Us

Resetting the camshaft position sensor can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you need to replace it. Regularly maintaining your vehicle and knowing basic auto repairs can save you money and secure your safety on the road. If you want to learn more about DIY auto repair, you can browse our guides and posts or contact us with any questions.

Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement by Teresa Trimm is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Posted in Service, Tips