What Does the Crankshaft Position Sensor Have to Do With the Alternator & Battery?

A majority of drivers do not think of the intricate mechanics behind the ignition and initial starting of a vehicle's engine. Three parts, including the crankshaft position sensor, alternator and battery, all work together for overall car ignition.

  1. Identification

    • The crankshaft position sensor, or CKP, tells the engine's on-board computer where the crankshaft is in regards to pushing the pistons up and down for engine timing. Working indirectly with the CKP, the alternator provides electricity and the battery stores the electricity for all the electrical components within the vehicle.


    • The alternator supplies the electricity for the CKP to function and provide timing signals. If the alternator or battery fails to supply voltage to the system, the timing cannot be determined and the vehicle will subsequently fail to crank at ignition.


    • Most commonly, the wire harness that supplies electricity to the CKP sensor can fail, preventing the vehicle from starting. In this case, the alternator and battery do not need to be examined for failure, the harness simply needs repair or replacement to get the vehicle running.

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