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Top Dead Center (TDC) Sensor Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your top dead center (TDC) sensor replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your top dead center (TDC) sensor replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace a top dead center sensor?

You can expect an average total replacement cost of $205 for a top dead center sensor, with $88 for parts and $118 for mechanic labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle.
How long does it take to replace a top dead center sensor? In general, it takes around 1.0 hours for a certified mechanic to complete the job. Your mechanic will perform a preliminary inspection to determine if a replacement is necessary, then follow through with the full replacement. 
Here’s an overview of top dead center sensor replacement costs for different vehicles:
Top dead center sensor replacement cost for various vehicles
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
June 10, 2024
Geo Metro
$691
$311
$380
3.5 Hours
June 8, 2024
Volkswagen Golf
$846
$341
$505
4.6 Hours
June 4, 2024
Eagle Talon
$751
$311
$440
3.5 Hours
June 2, 2024
Tesla Model X
$769
$311
$458
3.5 Hours
June 1, 2024
BMW M440
$869
$341
$528
4.6 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my top dead center sensor replacement and how much do those parts cost?

You can check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for precise parts, but here are the main things you’ll need:
  1. Top dead center sensor: This is the main component that needs to be replaced. The TDC sensor monitors the top dead center reference point of a cylinder in the engine. On average, a new TDC sensor can range anywhere from $90 to $250.
You can purchase top dead center (TDC) sensor parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three of our top recommended brands for TDC sensor parts are ACDelco, Standard Motor Products, and Beck Arnley. With that said, the best part and brand for your replacement will vary depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Although both OEM and aftermarket top dead center sensors have their pros and cons, OEM TDC sensors usually provide more longevity and reliability than their aftermarket counterparts.
You can find TDC sensors at body shops and auto parts shops like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts. Amazon is another spot where you can purchase top dead center sensors.
Quick note: Make sure to first check your owner’s manual to confirm that the parts you’re purchasing are compatible with your vehicle.

Where can I get my top dead center sensor replaced?

With the rundown on 2,500+ vetted repair shops nationwide, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can make the search for a mechanic to replace your TDC sensor a lot easier.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from local shops using actual hourly rates. You’ll be able to budget for diagnostic fees and see reviews from previous customers to make sure you’ll be happy with your service.
Here’s a look at some of our vetted shops below—and you can download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
142 Reviews
National Transmission Co, Inc
address
4420 Griggs Rd, Houston, TX
Top Dead Center Tdc Sensor
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$240
(Parts - $83, Labor - $157)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
143 Reviews
Just Tires - Knightdale
address
4002 Village Park Dr,, Raleigh, NC
Top Dead Center Tdc Sensor
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$233
(Parts - $83, Labor - $150)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
139 Reviews
AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care - Jersey City
address
1613 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ
Top Dead Center Tdc Sensor
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$258
(Parts - $83, Labor - $175)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
160 Reviews
O'Brien's Auto Repair LLC
address
46 Bayshore Rd, Green Creek, NJ
Top Dead Center Tdc Sensor
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$220
(Parts - $83, Labor - $137)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$130
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my top dead center sensor?

Your mechanic will do the following when replacing your TDC sensor: 
  • Disconnect the car battery
  • Locate the top dead center sensor on the cylinder (usually on cylinder number one in engines like a V8)
  • Disconnect the faulty TDC sensor and remove it
  • Install a new TDC sensor
  • Reconnect the battery
  • Scan the engine and clear any error codes

What happens if I don’t replace a bad top dead center sensor?

In the event of TDC sensor damage, the crucial information it provides to the onboard computer gets disrupted. To ensure safety, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) will deactivate the ignition system, preventing the motor from starting. 
Depending on the vehicle, this can result in either the engine not cranking over at all or the engine cranking over but failing to produce a spark. Ignoring this issue could lead to more engine performance issues, poor fuel efficiency, starting problems, and stalling.

What is a top dead center sensor?

Top dead center serves as a crucial reference point for the engine's timing in your car. It indicates when a spark plug should fire to ignite fuel found in the combustion chamber of the cylinder. 
At top dead center, the piston reaches the peak of its compression stroke, and both the exhaust and intake valves inside the cylinder head remain closed. This allows the cylinder to compress the air-fuel mixture.
The TDC sensor monitors the top dead center point and sends a signal to your car’s engine control module (ECM). The ECM then sends a message to the cylinder to ignite the fuel when it reaches the top dead center. 
Finally, the fuel is ignited by the spark, the piston is forced downward, and the power stroke begins.

What are the symptoms of a bad top dead center sensor?

There might be a few symptoms that your speed sensor needs fixing, such as: 
  • Check engine light turns on
  • Engine misfires or stops firing
  • Engine runs roughly or not at all

How often do you need to replace a top dead center sensor?

Under ideal conditions, the TDC sensor should last your car’s entire lifespan. Nonetheless, being an electrical component, it’s susceptible to failure. Factors like wear and tear, cracking, and corrosion can lead to the deterioration and malfunction of the TDC sensor.

Is replacing a top dead center sensor yourself easy?

Although replacing a top dead center sensor isn’t the hardest car job, if you decide to venture on this journey solo, you should be confident in your DIY auto repair skills. For the average driver, we recommend letting a certified mechanic diagnose and fix the problem.

FAQs

This service takes around 1–1.5 hours to complete.
The TDC sensor is also referred to as the crankshaft position sensor.
The top dead center sensor plays a vital role in ensuring a running engine, so it must be replaced as soon as possible if it fails.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.