A camshaft simply refers to a rotating object which converts rotational motion into up-and-down or side-to-side motion. In your car’s engine, the camshaft works to operate the intake and exhaust valves.
These parts don’t usually break, but if they do they can be costly to replace.
Replacing a camshaft is an expensive repair that usually costs anywhere from $700 to $3,000 depending on the vehicle. However, the average cost is between $1,250 and $1,500 for most makes and models. Some of the most expensive jobs may cost well over $4,000.
- Replacement Camshaft Cost
- How to Know if Your Camshaft is Bad
- Causes for Camshaft Failure
- Related Repairs
- Camshaft Solenoid Replacement Cost By Vehicle
- How Do Camshaft Solenoids Work?
- How Do I Know If My Camshaft Solenoid Needs To Be Replaced?
- Related Guides
- The Bottom Line
Replacement Camshaft Cost
Replacing a camshaft is a costly repair, mostly due to the amount of labor involved. In most cases, a camshaft cannot be repaired, meaning that it will almost always have to be replaced in the case of failure.
The price for the replacement part depends on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, where you take it to have the work done, and your geographic location.
For most vehicles, the labor cost alone will be well over $1,000 to replace the camshaft. However, the labor cost also varies greatly based on the vehicle specifications.
High-performance cars will have much more expensive labor charges than a standard sedan, with labor costs typically falling between $1,500 and $2,000.
A big part of the labor cost is based on how difficult it is to access the camshaft. Some cars have one camshaft and others have two. The camshaft may be on top of the engine or on the side of the engine.
If the mechanic has to remove multiple components to access the camshaft, you can expect it to drive the labor cost upward.
Average Cost to Replace Camshaft
|Minimum Price ||$700
The cost to replace the camshaft varies mostly due to the vehicle’s make and model. The parts to replace a camshaft are much lower than labor costs and usually cost between $300 and $475.
For example, replacing the camshaft in a Honda Civic may cost between $1,500 and $2,000, while the same job in a BMW 328i may run between $1,800 and $2,200.
Some people replace their camshafts with a custom version so that they can be fitted into high compression engines. These are much more expensive than standard camshafts, and they cost up to $600 just for parts alone.
Also, vehicles with an overhead cam are usually less expensive to replace than others. For some vehicles, you may be able to have the camshaft replaced for the $800 price range with an overhead cam.
Estimated Cost to Replace Camshaft
|Honda Civic||$1,500 - $2,000|
|Honda Accord||$1,800 - $2,200|
|BMW 328i||$1,800 - $2,200|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$1,500 - $2,200|
|Toyota Camry||$952 - $1,100|
|Lexus IS250||$3,807 - $4,396|
|PT Cruiser||$726 - $840|
|Chevrolet Malibu||$625 - $765|
How to Know if Your Camshaft is Bad
Camshaft failure is an uncommon problem in most vehicles, but all car engines are complex and have many moving parts that could have issues at any given time.
If your camshaft is having problems, the most common sign is an illuminated “check engine” light. Since this light could mean many different things, you’ll want to take it to a local service station to have them run a diagnostic.
If the problem is the camshaft, the trouble code may be for a cylinder misfire or a camshaft position sensor code. Many service providers will run a computer diagnostic for free, but many also charge for the service.
It’s always a good idea to ask. The average cost for a car diagnostic is under $100, so it shouldn’t be too great of an expense.
Other signs and symptoms of a failing camshaft may include
- Backfiring or a popping sound from the tailpipe or intake
- Tapping sound coming from under the hood
- The car won’t start or the engine loses power
- A dead miss in the engine.
- Timing belt failure
- Engine runs rough
- Vibrations or hesitations from the engine
If your vehicle is displaying signs of a camshaft problem, you should have it looked at right away. Typically, if your camshaft fails, the vehicle will not operate properly, if at all. Even if the vehicle does still drive temporarily, doing so may cause irreparable engine damage. Driving the vehicle with camshaft problems can lead to metallic shavings from the crankshaft going into the oil channels and being spread internally throughout the engine.
Causes for Camshaft Failure
Since camshaft failure isn’t incredibly common, there are only a few known contributors to the issue. Sometimes, it may be a design flaw or defect.
For example, there are some European vehicles that have experienced camshaft failure due to high-pressure fuel pumps in the vehicle.
The only other major cause for camshaft failure is not keeping up with vehicle maintenance, particularly oil changes. If you keep your vehicle up to date on scheduled maintenance, never let the oil run low, and avoid driving too harshly, you shouldn’t ever have to replace your camshaft.
If you’re lucky, you may have a problem with your vehicle that turns out to be something other than the camshaft itself. There are some issues that have the same symptoms as a faulty camshaft but are much less expensive to repair.
For example, a common issue is with the electrical components related to the camshaft. The camshaft position sensor is one of those components that may wear out and fail.
Replacing the camshaft position sensor usually costs between $170 – $450, depending on the vehicle and where you take it for the work.
Cost Estimate to Replace Camshaft Position Sensor
|Vehicle||Local/Chain Garage Price||Dealership Price|
|Toyota Highlander||$160 - $175||$175 - $190|
|Chevrolet Impala||$165 - $180||$175 - $190|
|GMC Sierra 1500||$325 - $340||$350 - $375|
|Land Rover Range Rover||$400 - $425||$425 - $450|
|BMW 330i||$410 - $425||$425 - $450|
|Honda Civic||$100 - $130||$150 - $210|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$135 - $160||$190 - $260|
Balance Shaft Drive Belt Replacement Let’s take a look at some of the other repairs that are commonly associated with replacing a camshaft.
This can include the replacement of the alternator belt, power steering pump belt, and/or air conditioning compressor belt. The balance shaft belt wraps around the balance shaft and crankshaft.
This repair typically costs between $350 and $450, with most of the cost going toward labor, like the camshaft replacement.
Camshaft Seal Replacement
On average, replacing a camshaft seal costs between $375 and $490. These seals work to prevent oil and dust from passing through where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.
If you see oil leaking from the camshaft seal, then the seal has failed.
If the leak is significant, you may see a pool of oil underneath your vehicle after idling in place for more than a few minutes. The main concern with a seal leak is oil loss from your vehicle which could cause damage.
Engine Oil Cooler Replacement
The engine oil cooler looks like a mini radiator and works like one as well. The cooler works to lower the temperature of the engine oil and helps it to work more effectively.
Keeping oil at the ideal temperature keeps it at the appropriate consistency.
Replacing an engine oil cooler typically costs between $525 and $585.
Engine oil coolers usually fail due to leaks, so replacing seals and gaskets can help prevent this costly repair.
However, the most common source of damage for this component is due to collision.
Timing Belt Replacement
Replacing the timing belt is a fairly expensive repair that may cost between $550 and $750.
The timing belt connects the camshaft and crankshaft and ensures that they maintain proper time for smooth engine operation.
If you have timing belt work done, it’s a good time to replace all the nearby parts, since it requires quite a bit of labor.
Replacing your timing belt is part of your regular maintenance schedule and should usually be done every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
If your timing belt breaks before it can be replaced, it can potentially cause severe engine damage.
Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement
A slapping noise from the engine and your check engine light may indicate that your timing chain tensioner needs to be replaced. This repair usually costs between $800 and $1,000 depending on the vehicle.
If the tensioner wears out, the timing chain can get too much slack, causing problems with the engine.
Usually the slapping or tapping sound only occurs when you first start your vehicle, so if this is the case, it could be an issue with the timing chain tensioner.
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
The valve cover is on top of the engine’s cylinder head, and the valve cover gasket is what keeps oil from leaking out. Sometimes, spark plug tube gaskets are also part of the valve cover gasket, so all the components can be replaced at the same time.
A faulty valve cover gasket will result in an oil leak that you may see under your vehicle, or you may smell a burning smell while you’re driving.
Replacing the valve cover gasket typically costs anywhere from $200 to $275.
The camshaft solenoid replacement cost varies from vehicle to vehicle. In cars that support VVT, the camshaft solenoid rotates the camshaft to change when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. When VVT is working, it improves performance and fuel economy. Back in the day, before VVT, gearheads would literally swap out their standard camshafts to make their engines better suited for racing purposes.
To have your camshaft solenoid replaced by a professional mechanic. Expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $100 dollars for the part. The labor charge for a camshaft solenoid is somewhere between $150 and $300. If, however, you can do it yourself or have an amateur mechanic take care of it for you, you can save yourself a lot of money.
The VVT (Variable Valve Timing) Solenoid is designed to adjust an engine’s intake and exhaust valve timing in real-time. The angle in which the VVT solenoid operates is automatically determined by the engine computer based on speed and engine load.
Camshaft Solenoid Replacement Cost By Repair Shop
The table below shows the average camshaft solenoid replacement costs at various businesses.
|Type Of Service||Work||Warranty||Price|
|You or an amateur mechanic||Parts & Labor||No Warranty||$25-$300|
|Midas||Parts & Labor||12 Months||$200-$702|
|Mr.Tire||Parts & Labor||12 Months||$180-$700|
|NAPA||Parts & Labor||24 months||$220-$750|
Camshaft Solenoid Replacement Cost By Vehicle
How Do Camshaft Solenoids Work?
A solenoid is an electromechanical device that can push and pull along one axis. In modern engines, the camshaft solenoid adjusts the position of the camshaft in real-time. This allows the engine computer to automatically return (slow down) or advance (speed up) ignition timing.
If you are driving on a flat road and not accelerating, the variable valve solenoid will retard valve timing. This will decrease power while you don’t need it while increasing efficiency. Later if in this example you start to go up a steep hill and your engine needs more power, the variable valve timing system will advance timing. This gives your engine the power it needs at the expense of efficiency, but only for that moment.
How Do I Know If My Camshaft Solenoid Needs To Be Replaced?
If you suspect that your camshaft solenoid is not functioning properly, but are not sure how to tell, there are some things that you can look out for:
Check Engine Light
Some engine problems won’t show a CEL (Check Engine Light), but that’s not the case with a failing camshaft solenoid. A failing camshaft solenoid will always show a Check Engine Light.
Loss Of Power
The camshaft solenoid is responsible for how much power the engine gets access to at a given moment. If your camshaft solenoid is bad, the engine will not have the power you expect.
Bad Fuel Economy
Because the engine is not able to properly allocate its valve timing for a given situation, this will result in poor fuel economy.
There is a certain camshaft profile that works really well for low engine RPMs and a totally different camshaft profile that works well for high engine RPMs. So, a bad camshaft solenoid makes low RPM operation difficult, resulting in a very rough idle.
A failing camshaft solenoid can make your car run poorly at low RPM and give you poor fuel economy. When your camshaft solenoid is failing, it can also make it hard to go up hills and nearly impossible to quickly accelerate. A bad camshaft solenoid will also result in poor fuel economy and will give your car a rough idle.
If you plan on having a shop repair your camshaft solenoid, it can cost anywhere between $50 and $100 dollars just for the part. After that, you have to pay the shop to change the camshaft solenoid, and that runs somewhere between $150 and $300 if you use a professional shop. If you can do the job yourself, or you can pay someone who knows how to do it for you, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars on labor and about $50 on the part.
We hope that after reading this article, you have a better understanding of the average camshaft solenoid replacement cost. Thanks for reading!
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The Bottom Line
Most people will never need to replace a camshaft, so if you find that yours is faulty, you may be surprised at how expensive the repairs are.
The bulk of the cost is due to the labor involved, so it’s a good idea to do any other related repairs and maintenance at the same time to save on labor repair costs later on.
Most people should expect to pay between $1,250 and $1,500 for a camshaft replacement, but it’s always a good idea to get multiple estimates and compare quotes from various service providers.
Ask about price matching or if the garage offers any kind of discounts to help you get the best value for the work.