How to Test 3 Wire Crank Sensor with Multimeter

In some vehicle models, the passage of time or high-intensity operation may deteriorate a component. Amongst these, the crankshaft position sensor could give rise to several drawbacks that produce various symptoms.

This is why it is necessary to detect the failure or the inconvenience as soon as possible. In this case, you can use different tools, although a multimeter may be the best option. In particular, a digital multimeter allows you to check in a simple way and without major inconveniences.

Along with this, it is also important to consider each of the electrical values of your vehicle in particular. In this way, you will have the possibility to identify the wires and locate the sensor easily. You can then replace this sensor to get a vehicle in good condition.

To do this it  must have:

  • Ohm scale
  • DC voltage
  • AC Voltage
  • Red and black probes

How to check if the camshaft position sensor is bad?

At some points, the camshaft position sensor may fail due to wear over time. For this reason, you may know some useful signals that will let you know if you need to repair or replace any component.

1. The vehicle stops repeatedly: Here a vehicle may accelerate slowly, the engine power has decreased or the fuel consumption is inadequate. Here when a vehicle has one of these signals, then the camshaft position sensor should be replaced. So also these drawbacks can be a sign of other different problems. (1)

2. The check engine indicator is on: As soon as the camshaft position sensor has certain faults, then the light of this indicator will come on. However, here you should note that this indicator can also light up for other reasons. That’s why a professional should scan your vehicle and detect what the particular fault is.

3. Vehicle won’t start: If you have suffered the above problems, your vehicle is probably close to not starting. The camshaft position sensor can deteriorate and that causes other parts of the vehicle to deteriorate. Of course, this is the worst situation and can happen when you are driving or if your vehicle is parked.

How to Test 3 Wire Crank Sensor with Multimeter

How to test a crankshaft position sensor?

If you need to check this particular part of your vehicle, then it is likely that you have experienced one of the following issues. Of course, these issues are not related to a single problem with your vehicle.

  • Start and stall condition
  • Cranking, non-start condition
  • Hard to start
  • Hesitation
  • Rough idle
  • Poor acceleration
  • Misfires
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Check engine light on

With which, you will need to perform a set of useful steps to check the proper functioning of the inductive type CKP sensor. You will need to refer to the vehicle’s repair instruction manual for the necessary specifications.

  • Here you must first unplug the CKP sensor
  • You should then set your digital multimeter by selecting a low range on the DC voltage scale.
  • Without starting the engine, turn the vehicle’s key to the ignition position.
  • Then you must connect the red wire and the black wire 
  • Here it is important to prevent the engine from starting and you can remove the fuse and deactivate the fuel system.
  • Once you have reached this point you should choose an AC voltage scale in a low range on your voltmeter.
  • To find out the reading on your meter you must connect the wires from your voltmeter to certain parts of the engine. If no voltage pulse is detected, then this part will need to be replaced.

How do you reset a crank sensor without a scanner?

It may be that a vehicle cannot be used in conjunction with a scanner like those that exist these days. However, with the following steps, you will be able to reset the crankshaft sensor.

  • First of all, you will have to pay for each of the vehicle’s accessories. After that, the coolant temperature and air temperature should be at 5 degrees Celsius. From then on, you will be able to start the engine and keep it neutral for about 2 minutes.
  • At this point, you should accelerate your vehicle to 55 miles per hour for about 10 minutes. The goal here is to have the vehicle’s engine at the correct operating temperature.
  • Once you have reached this temperature level continue at the same speed for another 6 minutes.
  • Once the 6 minutes have passed, slow down to 45 mph without using any brakes and continue for one minute.
  • Every 25 seconds, you should decelerate and cycle four times without using the brakes.
  • After the four cycles, you should continue at a speed of 55 mph for 2 minutes.
  • Finally, only stop the vehicle with the brakes applied and hold for 2 minutes. Also, the transmission should be neutral and the clutch pedal should be depressed.
How to Test 3 Wire Crank Sensor with Multimeter

Can you reset a crankshaft position sensor?

An effective way to do this is to use the negative battery terminal to disconnect the battery. After that, you should keep the battery disconnected for an hour and then reconnect it.

Here this procedure will allow you to reset the engine check light. So, after the procedure is done, the short term memory must be cleared because the electronic power has been drained.

Is it hard to change a crankshaft sensor?

When it is necessary to change a crankshaft sensor it is possible to encounter some inconveniences during the procedure. Here you will notice that among the components there is a long stem. So, this component could get stuck in the block and hinder the task. (2)

Therefore, it is necessary to firmly hold the sensor once it is loose. A turning movement is required to remove this part from the motor block. From there, you will have the possibility to replace the crankshaft sensor to avoid a lot of inconvenience in your vehicle.


As you may notice, using a multimeter to test the crankshaft sensor’s performance is important. A malfunction of this component could result in a whole cascade of problems for your vehicle.

So you will be avoiding a lot of problems and failures in the future. In turn, this means nothing more than decreasing the amount of money you will need for future repairs. 

We hope this article helps you. You may also check other learning articles such: How To Test a Capacitor with a Multimeter and How to Test Purge Valve with Multimeter.

We’ve also listed a guide for you to check the best multimeters available in the market, click here to see it.


(1) camshaft –
(2) crankshaft –

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.