Acura RSX How-to: Troubleshoot the Camshaft Position Sensor
The camshaft position sensor will cause an assortment of problems to your Acura RSX when it starts to fail. The performance of your ride may experience some issues, or worse, the car won't start entirely due to a no-spark activity from the ignition. Now, you may ask, "How can this be when the function of the camshaft position sensor is to monitor the position and the speed of the camshaft in an internal combustion engine? It doesn't work directly with other components, does it?" But with a faulty sensor, the strokes of your engine will fail to be synchronized, hence, making the aforementioned engine issues possible. You can avoid this, though, by following some of the troubleshooting tips discussed below:
The Check Engine light comes up.
Since the camshaft position sensor is part of your vehicle's engine control unit, it is only expected that once the sensor begins to fail, the Check Engine light will intermittently blink to alert you of the situation. Check the most obvious causes of engine failure, if nothing stands out, then it is most probably the camshaft position sensor that causes the Check Engine light to trip.
The car stalls when you step on the accelerator pedal.
This is, again, because the strokes of the pistons are not synchronized. The camshaft position sensor relies on a slotted wheel attached to the camshaft-and by extension, the positions of the pistons-that when it is misaligned even at a very minimal angle, it will start to produce a mish-mash of communication data. Your car's brain is confused when and when not to work harder because the camshaft position sensor is giving mixed signals.
The car won't start at all.
If your car fails to start even after several attempts of cranking it to life, then, the camshaft position sensor is indeed in very bad shape. You should already have a professional take a look at this, since, attempting to troubleshoot this on your own will only increase the chances of other parts getting damaged.
Acura RSX How-to: Camshaft Position Sensor Maintenance
The basic principle at work behind the functionality of the camshaft position sensor is magnetic induction. A voltage is induced into a conductor, supplying a permanent magnetic force in the sensor. This all sounds Greek to you? No worries! That technical introduction is just to familiarize you on how important the camshaft position sensor is to your Acura RSX; without it, your car won't be able to give you its best foot forward on the road. Worse, you may not even be able to get it out of your garage. Below are some tips to help you check whether or not the camshaft position sensor in your ride is still working in tiptop shape.
Test for resistance.
Before you can test the resistance of the camshaft position sensor, you will first need to remove it from its spot at the side of the engine block. You will also need a multimeter, a special device used for measuring Ohms of mechanical parts. If the multimeter displays an infinite resistance, or zero Ohms, the camshaft position sensor has short-circuited.
Test for magnetic field.
It has been discussed during the introduction that the camshaft position sensor is exposed to magnetic fields in order to work. Hence, you can test the strength and the activity of the magnetic fields surrounding the component using, well, magnets. Place a magnet on both ends of the cylindrical camshaft position sensor, and try to take a voltage reading using the multimeter. If nothing comes up, then the camshaft position sensor is in very bad shape, that not even tangible magnets can create a force field around it.
Take a reading from an ECU reader.
With the camshaft position sensor still installed in the engine block, connect your handheld ECU reader to the car's main brain. Scan the codes that are causing the Check Engine light to trip, and check your vehicle's manual if any of the codes indicate a bad camshaft position sensor. This should be the first thing you have to do if you suspect that the sensor is failing, after all, the symptoms indicating a faulty camshaft position sensor can also be the symptoms of a totally different engine issue.