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The check engine light on my 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6 went on and, when I did OBDII disagnostics, it turned out I had P0348: Camshaft Position Sensor A.

I took the sensor out and it turned to be physically broken. You can see it here next to the other, proper one on the right:

enter image description here

It is easy to replace the sensor, which is on its way. However, I am worried for the following reasons:

  1. Why did the sensor break like that? Or what broke it? Is it an indicator of a foreign object in the cylinder head lobe where it goes? Any speculations/guesses as to the reason? For example, on the day the light went on, we did drive on some really bad rural roads, almost 4 wheeling -- could it have broken from rough driving?

  2. The broken off chips of the sensor can only be inside its cylinder head lobe, as it plugs into the engine right above the sprockets of the timing chain. How bad is it to have those plastic chips inside such a critical engine component? Should I open that cylinder head and clean it from the chunks or is it safe to assume they will be ground into shreds by the chain and other moving parts inside?

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    I have seen this on high mileage cars of all makes, the plastic deteriorates over time due to acids that build up between oil changes. This is normal. – Moab Jun 5 '19 at 15:14

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