How To Reset Crankshaft Position Sensor: Quick Tips

Crankshaft position sensors are essential for the optimal performance of a vehicle. If your car won’t start, or a ‘check engine’ light has come on, it might be due to a faulty crankshaft sensor. To sort this out, you need to reset the sensor.

  1. Remove the negative battery terminals.
  2. Spot the harness that connects the sensor and double-check for any damage.
  3. Ensure all wires are secure.
  4. Rotate the bolt until 0 mph shows up on the scanner.

You might struggle to reset if there are missing teeth in the timing peg, or a bad crankshaft/trigger wheel. Connect the wiring harness and CKP sensors properly, before attempting other tests.

Pro Tip: If you can’t reset the crankshaft position sensor after following these steps, call a mechanic or use a scan tool to detect any PCM trouble codes. Take care of your engine’s best friend, i.e., the crankshaft position sensor for a great journey and long life.

how to reset crankshaft position sensor no start

Image of a crankshaft position sensor

Understanding the Crankshaft Position Sensor

The Crankshaft Position Sensor is a must-have in any vehicle’s engine management system. 

It finds the crankshaft’s position and sends data to the ECU, helping with fuel injection and combustion. 

Here are key details:

DefinitionDetects crankshaft position and sends signals to ECU.
LocationMounted near the crankshaft pulley or flywheel.
OperationMagnetic sensor finds the trigger wheel with missing teeth. It then sends a signal through wiring harness to ECU
IssuesCKP sensors that don’t work can cause trouble codes, check engine light, and difficulty starting.

Modern engines often have several CKP sensors that measure different parts of the crankshaft. 

Plus, the sensor works with other accessories like variation learn, ignition timing, and fuel injection systems. If it needs resetting, you can get help from a mechanic or do it yourself with the right methods. This can help your engine reach its best performance.

Crankshaft position sensors have come a long way from the early days of car manufacturing. The first sensors were needed manual adjustment and were unreliable because of wiring and voltage drop. 

Now, they provide top-notch performance that can stop engine issues from happening, if they work properly. 

Symptoms of a Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

A CKP sensor that’s not working properly can cause car starting issues. Knowing the signs of a faulty CKP sensor helps achieve optimal engine performance. 

Signs include:

  • Engine stalling or surging.
  • Difficulty starting, or won’t start at all.
  • Check engine light turns on.
  • Power loss while driving fast or accelerating.
  • Bad fuel economy and reduced horsepower due to incorrect ignition timing.
  • Uneven combustion due to missing teeth on the crankshaft pulley.

If you spot any of these symptoms, get a professional to help or try resetting the sensor first. 

To prevent future breakdowns, make sure the battery terminals are clean and wiring harnesses are securely connected for steady voltage and data signals to the sensors. One warning sign of a crankshaft position sensor failure is the engine going idle.

Why the Crankshaft Position Sensor Might Fail

The Crankshaft Position Sensor can be affected by various factors. One of the primary causes is bad crankshaft or trigger wheel teeth missing, which affects the sensor’s signal to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). Wiring harness and connectors can also affect its performance. Low voltage levels in the battery terminals can make starting a car hard.

If you spot the Check Engine Light with ‘Crankshaft Position Sensor Malfunction‘ or ‘Variation Learn Failed‘ codes, resetting the CKP sensor might help. 

If you don’t have enough mechanical knowledge, seek professionals. Ignoring such issues could lead to failure of fuel injection, ignition timing, and combustion process.

It’s essential to keep the Crankshaft Position Sensor in good shape, since it’s important for the vehicle’s performance. If you experience any issues related to crankshaft or starter, use a scan tool to analyze data without delay. That way, you’ll ensure optimal performance and safety while driving.

Tools Required for Resetting Crankshaft Position Sensor

Resetting the crankshaft position sensor requires certain tools. 

3 important tools are:

  1. Scanner or multimeter for trouble codes or sensor signal issues.
  2. Torque wrench to fasten the CKP sensor bolt.
  3. Screwdriver/pliers for reattaching wires from the wiring harness connector.

Using an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part is best for accuracy and compatibility. 

Professional help may be needed if DIY methods like cleaning magnetic sensors and checking trigger wheels don’t work. Cleaning sensors improves weak signals. Checking wiring harnesses and battery terminals can prevent future signal issues. 

Resetting the CKP sensor is like pressing a reset button on your car’s brain but no guarantee that it’ll fix the problem.

How to Reset the Crankshaft Position Sensor

Reset your crankshaft position sensor and get your car running smoothly again. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the CKP sensor. It’s likely near the crankshaft pulley, trigger wheel, or flywheel.
  2. Disconnect the battery terminals. Unplug the negative (-) terminal first, then the positive (+).
  3. Remove sensor harness connector and bolts. Use an app, scanner, or multimeter. Ensure no trouble codes are associated with the sensor. Then remove the bolts with a socket wrench.
  4. Clean and inspect the harness connector. Check for corrosion or damage.
  5. Reset the CKP Sensor Position. Rotate the crankshaft until the timing peg matches the TDC mark. Reinstall the CKP Sensor bolt to factory torque specs.
  6. Reconnect all accessories and start the engine. Reattach the electrical accessories, such as the ignition timing wiring harness, fuel injection system, starter motor, and ECU connectors. Then reconnect the battery terminals.

Remember that in some cases you may need professional help to reset your crankshaft position sensor. And, not resetting the CKP sensor could lead to malfunctioning signals and future engine problems. So, reset the CKP sensor now.

Tips and Tricks for Resetting Crankshaft Position Sensor

If your car won’t start due to a faulty CKP sensor, resetting it could be the solution. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how:

  1. Disconnect the battery terminals before touching the engine or wiring harness.
  2. Carefully remove the sensor’s wiring harness connector.
  3. Unscrew the bolt that holds the CKP sensor in place, and take it out. Remember where it was.
  4. Check the trigger wheel (attached to the crankshaft) for any missing teeth or damage.
  5. Put in a new OEM CKP sensor, and secure it with its bolt.
  6. Reconnect all wiring harnesses.

Variation learn and magnetic field relearning may be needed, so get professional help using a scan tool or app.

Resetting a bad CKP is essential, as it can prevent trouble codes, check engine light problems, starter issues, and lower engine performance. So, reset your crankshaft position sensor. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a crankshaft position sensor and why is it important?

A crankshaft position sensor is a device that detects the rotation of the crankshaft in an engine and sends a signal to the engine control module. It is important because it provides critical information about the crankshaft’s position and speed, which are necessary for proper engine function.

2. How do I know if my crankshaft position sensor needs resetting?

If your car is not starting or is starting but running poorly, a malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor may be the cause. Additionally, if your check engine light is on and there are trouble codes related to the sensor, resetting it may help resolve the issue.

3. What is the process for resetting the crankshaft position sensor?

The process for resetting the sensor varies depending on the make and model of your vehicle. In general, it involves disconnecting the battery terminals and checking the wiring harness and connector for damage or corrosion. It may also require resetting the ECU using a scan tool or app.

4. Can I reset the crankshaft position sensor myself or should I seek professional assistance?

Resetting the sensor can be a DIY project, but it may require some knowledge of auto mechanics and electrical systems. For those without experience, seeking professional assistance is recommended to avoid further damage or safety issues.

5. What are some common issues with crankshaft position sensors?

Common issues include malfunctioning sensors due to damaged wires or connectors, bad crankshaft teeth or a missing tooth on the trigger wheel, and issues with the sensor bolt or harness. These issues can cause difficulty starting the vehicle, decreased performance, and even total engine failure over time.

6. How can I ensure optimal performance of my crankshaft position sensor?

Regular maintenance of the sensor, checking the connector and wiring harness for damage or corrosion, and ensuring the sensor bolt is properly torqued can help ensure optimal performance. Additionally, maintaining proper ignition timing and fuel injection can reduce stress on the sensor and increase its lifespan.


A functioning crankshaft position (CKP) sensor is key for optimal performance in a vehicle. If the CKP sensor fails, the engine won’t start. Resetting the CKP can help fix the issue. To do this, disconnect both battery terminals and wait 10-15 minutes. Next, reconnect them and drive the car at highway speeds for 30+ minutes. This relearns variation data and ignition timing. If resetting doesn’t work, there may be an issue with a bad crankshaft or wiring harness that needs fixing by a mechanic. Mechanics can use scanners to look for trouble codes that provide comprehensive data on circuit or signal performance. Missing teeth on the trigger wheel may also cause signal issues. Regularly checking these signals ensures proper functioning without misfire or hesitation. A friend with a no-start issue used multimeters to check voltage between sensor pins and found a high resistance in one wire. Replacing this wire, clearing trouble codes, and resetting the CKP sensor with a downloaded app solved their problem. Resetting your CKP can be useful. But first it’s important to identify any underlying damage that could affect performance long term.

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