How To Clean Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid (Detailed Instructions)

Cluttered gadgets in the engine compartment can be the number one factor slowing down the performance of your car. In severe cases, they can negatively affect the ignition, leading to the car no start and its slower acceleration while driving. Thus, it is imperative that you clean them up regularly.

In our article today, let’s have a look at how to clean camshaft position actuator solenoid. You will be surprised at how sufficient your car comes off once the camshaft actuator is rid of dirt and accumulated oil!

What You Need Before Cleaning Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid

Before getting down to the actual work, make sure your tool kit has the following objects:

  • Carb cleaner spray.
  • Paper towels.
  • A toothbrush with soft hair.
  • A piece of microfiber cloth, preferably lint-free.
  • A 13mm socket.
  • A 10mm socket.
  • A ratchet.
  • A breaker bar.
  • A screwdriver.

How To Clean Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid (Step By Step Guide)

  • Step 1: Disconnect the battery for safety reasons, then slowly remove the serpentine belt using a breaker bar. Figure out exactly where the camshaft position actuator solenoid (CPAS) is. Usually, you can find it somewhere around the power steering pump. 
  • Step 2: Remove the wiring harness from the CPAS. 
  • Step 4: Unscrew the bolts attached to the power steering pump. You can do this by lowering the position of the pump to reveal the holes in the pulley. Reach inside the pulley with a 13mm socket and a ratchet. Remove the bolts one by one.
  • Step 5: Pull out the CPAS by twisting it around, then gently put it on the paper towels. Let the CPAS sit for two to three minutes for the oil to drain away completely.
  • Step 6: Use the screwdriver to remove the O ring. It is made from rubber so that carb cleaner can ruin the quality.
  • Step 7: Spray the cleaner all over the CPAS and make sure you leave no place untouched. Then, use the cloth to rub on the CPAS. Be extra careful when it comes to the screen, or else the entire CPAS will go to waste.
  • Step 8: Use a toothbrush with soft hair to remove the dirt clogged up around the circles.
  • Step 9: Place the CPAS into the engine compartment. All you need to do is reverse the steps mentioned above, and tada, you are done!

For visual assistance, you can have a look at this YouTube video

What Is A Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid?


The CPAS is part of a car’s engine, which takes responsibility for the oil flow into the camshaft actuator. When functioning properly, the CPAS will control the timing of the valve, allowing the precious amount of energy inside the combustion chamber.

How to know a camshaft position actuator solenoid is not working

As the CPAS is vital to the valve operation, the mixture of air and fuel, as well as the ignition process, a marred CPAS can deal a blow to your car. Watch out for the following signs, as they indicate that your CPAS might be failing.

  • “Check Engine” light is on: this does not necessarily mean that your PCAS is wrong because any error in a car can light up the “Check Engine.” However, it is still a worth-noticing reminder.
  • Jerks or leaps while driving: when the oil flow is not controlled, the timing of ignition can be off. As a result, you might experience sudden movements on the road.
  • No start: if your car fails to start even after inserting the key and there are no problems with the fuel tank, it is likely your camshaft position actuator solenoid is to be blamed.
  • Slower acceleration: if the timing of ignition is not synced, your car cannot speed up even when you repeatedly press on the gas pedal.

If your car has all of the above issues, it is highly recommended to get a new camshaft position actuator solenoid to prevent any accidents or mishaps. You can also have a look at what to do after replacing camshaft sensor so that the whole engine is renewed.


1. How much does it cost to replace a camshaft position actuator solenoid?

A camshaft position actuator solenoid can cost anywhere from $200 to nearly $3000, depending on the car’s model and the quality of the solenoid. On average, it is around $700.

2. What causes a camshaft position actuator solenoid to go bad?

There are multiple reasons contributing to a failing camshaft position actuator solenoid:

  • Accidents: anything from an unexpected halt or a serious crash can destroy parts of the solenoid.
  • Extensive use: each technical device has a limited lifespan, so you cannot expect your camshaft position actuator solenoid to work endlessly without making mistakes.
  • Dirt accumulation: if neglected for a long time, residue inside the engine compartment can get clogged up on the circles of the camshaft position actuator solenoid, hindering its performance.

3. Where is the camshaft position actuator solenoid located?

The camshaft position actuator solenoid can be found on top of the cylinder head, near the opening of the valve.

4. What does a bad camshaft sound like?

If the camshaft is not working, you can spot frequently ticking and tapping noises right under the hood of the car.

5. What does a camshaft sensor do?

A camshaft sensor delivers the data concerning the valve operation and timing of ignition to the ECM – engine control module. From there, the ECM will calculate the amount of fuel necessary for each cylinder and when to spark the fuel/air mixture, thus maintaining the vehicle’s drivability.


Getting rid of residue accumulated inside the engine compartment is one of the easiest ways to maintain the vehicle’s performance and quality. Now that you have learned how to clean camshaft position actuator solenoid, let’s soon get to work and see the result for yourself!

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