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Is it Possible to Disconnect the Battery and Reset My Crankshaft Sensor?

Are you thinking that simply detaching the battery would reset the crankshaft sensor?

Disconnecting the battery in your vehicle will not reset the crankshaft sensor because the crankshaft sensor is a passive component that measures the rotational position of the crankshaft. It does not have any internal memory or settings that can be reset by disconnecting the battery.

The crankshaft sensor generates an electrical signal that is sent to the engine control module (ECM) or powertrain control module (PCM). This signal is used to determine the engine’s RPM and to calculate the timing for fuel injection and ignition events. When the battery is disconnected, it can reset the ECM/PCM, which may temporarily clear stored error codes or adaptative learning parameters, but it won’t affect the crankshaft sensor itself.

In cases of sensor malfunction, a comprehensive examination, repair, and, if necessary, replacement must be carried out by a qualified mechanic.

The Function of a Crankshaft Sensor?

A crankshaft sensor is used to keep a check on the rotational speed or position of the crankshaft in an internal combustion engine. It is made up of a toothed reluctor wheel which is attached to the crankshaft along with a sensor which is mounted close to the reluctor wheel.

As the crankshaft rotates, the teeth on the reluctor wheel pass by the sensor thereby generating an electrical signal. The crankshaft transmits this signal to the engine control module which utilizes it to gauge the position and speed of the engine.

This data ensures that the engine runs smoothly as it is used to control the fuel injection system along with the ignition of the engine.

Reasons Why a Crankshaft Sensor Could Fail

There could be a million reasons why a crankshaft sensor could fail and many wonder if disconnecting the battery will reset the crankshaft sensor. Although the answer to this is no, let’s have a look at the most common reasons why a crankshaft sensor could fail in the first place:

  • Contamination – With usage, there could be an accumulation of debris, dirt, or oil that can build up on the sensor. This could be one of the main causes of crankshaft sensor failure.
  • Wear and Tear With constant exposure to moisture, vibration, and heat, the sensor might wear out and lose its capability to function properly over a span of time.
  • Faulty Electricals – If there is a fault in the connections or wiring of the sensor it could lead to a failure of the sensor.
  • Exposure to Heat – The sensor’s life is greatly shortened when there is a high under-hood temperature.
  • Issues with the Mechanism – The sensor might not function properly when the sensor’s reluctor wheel or tone ring is worn out or damaged.

Indications of a Failing Crankshaft Sensor

When dealing with a faulty crankshaft sensor you will need to look out for certain warning signs. But what exactly? Mentioned below are the indications that can prepare you to take action before it dies out on you. Let’s have a look:

  1. Difficulty in Starting – If you experience difficulty at the time of starting the engine, it could be an indication of a faulty crankshaft sensor. The difficulty could be in terms of the engine starting slowly or not at all.
  2. Engine Misfire – The engine may misfire or have poor performance if the sensor fails. The main function of the crankshaft sensor is to send information about the crankshaft position to the engine control module which is then used to time the ignition and fuel injection.
  3. Stalling – Another indication of the crankshaft sensor not functioning properly is that the engine might stall especially at the time of slowing down or while coming to a stop.
  4. Light of the Engine – Checking the light of the engine can prove to be a good indication of a fault in the crankshaft sensor. In the case of a failure of the crankshaft sensor, the light on the dashboard of the engine will glow.
  5. Reduced Fuel Efficiency – If there is a faulty crankshaft sensor, the engine will run inadequately which is definitely going to result in a decreased fuel efficiency.
  6. Engine Losing Power – The role of a properly functioning sensor is to specify the crankshaft position to the engine’s control unit. In a situation where the sensor does not provide accurate information, the engine’s control unit will not be able to function properly which will then cause the engine to lose power.

Tools to Analyze the Performance of a Crankshaft Sensor

There are a bunch of notable tools that have been useful in diagnosing and detecting a fault in the crankshaft sensor. The most popular ones are:

  • Using a multimeter
  • Checking the engine light
  • Using a scan tool
  • Checking for diagnostic trouble codes

testing crankshaft sensor with a multimeter
Video | SimpleCarGuy

The crankshaft sensor requires in-depth technical knowledge along with the usage of specific tools and it is best to get in touch with a professional mechanic to address the fault. So, it’s best not to fiddle around with it yourself!

Wrapping Up

The crankshaft sensor is considered to be a critical component in the proper functioning of the engine. 

At times minor issues can lead to other major issues if not addressed immediately. So don’t procrastinate any longer and if you have come here in search of a way to tinker with your sensor, it is best if you got your crankshaft sensor checked by a professional right away!


Video References

Christopher Barr – Random Chris



The AbJ Garage

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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