Educational post! The little black thing in my hand is a camshaft position sensor, and it was pulled from my Subaru Outback XT. This is a $60 part, and it can ostensibly turn your car into a brick. The idea is that this sensor works by generating a small voltage pulse as the camshaft rotates, giving the ECU an idea of where the engine is in it's rotation, and how fast the engine is turning. This allows the ECU to control fuel and ignition timing. When it fails, the ECU stops getting that signal and your engine most likely will just die in that moment, as mine did.
Depending on your car, this can be relatively easy to replace, or it can be a major headache. In my case, it was the former, though not due to it being easy to reach. See photo two, and you'll have a pretty good idea of where the sensor is. (The car actually has two, but this is where the failed one lived.) I do love my Subaru. This has really been my first time wrenching on it as far as engine repair, because it's been pretty reliable on the whole. That said, if your hands are any larger than that of a 14 year old, well, I wish you all the best. You'll be here a while. As for mine, she's back on her feet, and I am very happy for that.
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