What can cause sensor and module failures?


I have a 92 Buick Century with 187000 miles. Five and a half years ago, I had the crankshaft sensor and ignition module replaced. I had to have it replaced again only 58000 miles later. It lasted only 4 days. My mechanic replaced the crankshaft sensor again, claiming the parts vendor gave him a defective one. A few nights ago, I had trouble starting the car (It cranked normally). Is there any other component that can cause the ignition module or crank sensor to fail? Could noise spikes in the electrical system cause recurring failures in any of the ignition components?


There’s nothing really that would cause a crank sensor or ignition module-- age agrivated by heat is what does it. It could be that maybe there’s an intermittent bad connection that gets rectified by fiddling with the wires to change it but really 58,000 miles is not an unreasonable lifespan for one of those and parts do occasionally come from the factory bad. 187,000 miles is pretty high, so there’s plenty of other reasons why your car might not be starting.


Did you ever consider the DESIGN of these parts leaves something to be desired? GM lost 39 billion dollars over the last four months. There is a REASON for that…


It’s being assumed here that the crank sensor is always the problem. Maybe it’s a diagnosis problem since there are a hundred reasons why a car could act like this.

You’re relying on your mechanic’s word and he may be guessing during the whole process. A crank sensor is easily tested to determine if it is really bad.

Maybe the crank sensor is being used as a whipping boy when the problem is somewhere else; say a fuel pump going in or out if it has never been changed, a faulty ignition switch (which can cause a no-spark condition), etc.

JMHO, but I don’t see this as a GM problem since your mechanic more than likely used aftermarket parts from a local parts house and GM has nothing to do with this.


I don’t know about the module failure unless a bad coil or poor connections would be doing it, but check your balancer for the crank sensor failures. The balancer has a hard rubber center and if the rubber center starts coming apart, the balancer will wobble, and kill or throw the signal from the crank sensor off. Pretty common actually.


Just for the record, a quarter is 3 months and most of that loss was paper (accounting charges for some tax credit not used or something), not operating loss. Still not good, but GM isn’t going belly-up tomorrow (maybe next year…).


Did you use AC Delco parts? A lot of the aftermarket sensors, especially ignition modules, are junk. It’s usually worth the extra money to buy these parts from the dealer.


Wow. I’m sure this comment helped the OP immensely