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 issues that produce various symptoms.

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

How to Test a Crankshaft Position Sensor?

If you need to check this particular part of your vehicle, you will likely have experienced one of the following issues.

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

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

  • Here it would be best if you first unplugged the CKP sensor.
  • You should then set your digital multimeter by selecting a low range on the DC voltage scale.
  • Turn the vehicle’s key to the ignition position without starting the engine.
  • Then it would be best if you connected the red and black wires. 
  • 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, 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. This part will need to be replaced if no voltage pulse is detected.

How Do You Reset a Crank Sensor without A Scanner?

It may be that your car cant is used with a scanner like those that exist these days. However, with the following steps, you can reset the crankshaft sensor.

  • The coolant and air temperatures 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 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 55 mph for 2 minutes.
  • Finally, 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 reconnect it.

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

Is It Hard to Change a Crankshaft Sensor?

When changing a crankshaft sensor, it is possible to encounter some issues 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 cause issues. (2)

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

How to Check if The Camshaft Position Sensor Is Bad?

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

1. The vehicle repeatedly stops: A vehicle may accelerate slowly, the engine power has decreased, or the fuel consumption is inadequate. The camshaft position sensor should be replaced when a vehicle has one of these signals. These issues 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, this indicator will come on. However, you should note that this indicator can also light up for other reasons.

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 driving or your vehicle is parked.

How to Test 3 Wire Crank Sensor with Multimeter


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 avoid many problems and failures in the future. This means nothing more than decreasing the money you will need for future repairs. 

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

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


(1) camshaft –
(2) crankshaft –

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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