P0011 OBD2 Trouble Code – Oh No! Does my engine need to be replaced!?

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P0011 OBD2 Trouble Code


Meaning of the P0011 OBD2 Code

The technical definition of P0011 OBD2 code is Camshaft Position ‘A’ Timing Over-Advanced or Bank 1 System Performance.

Now that’s quite a mouthful, but the meaning is simple. The P0011 OBD2 Trouble Code means the ECU has detected the intake camshaft in bank 1 has a more advanced timing. It’s usually fixed by changing engine oil. The code can also be triggered if the camshaft timing in bank 1 is too advanced even after the ECU commands a lower timing.

The source of the P0011 code may sound complicated, but it can be caused by something as trivial as dirty engine oil. This problem is usually associated with V6 or V8 motors equipped with variable-valve timing (VVT), variable-camshaft timing (VCT), or a derivative of both. Take note that bank 1 is easily located by verifying the position of cylinder 1.

And even though the P0011 code is also associated with the ECM or engine control module, this trouble code is specifically attributed to the camshaft timing. Remember that the “A” camshaft can either be located in the front, left, or intake side of the motor, depending on the orientation of the engine.


What causes the P0011 Fault Code?

 P0011 -“A” Camshaft Position – Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance (Bank 1) 

The first letter of the fault code will indicate the family of the diagnostic trouble code. In this case, Powertrain:

  • P = Powertrain (Engine or Drive Train)

The first digit in the error code will signify if the code is generic or manufacturer specific:

  • 0 = Generic fault

The second number means specific codes for:

  • 0, 1, and 2 = Air/fuel mixture

The third number narrows it down to the camshaft:

  • 11 = Camshaft Position

Anything that has to do with camshaft inefficiency is related to the P0011 code. This includes wiring problems in the intake control valve solenoid system top incorrect camshaft timing caused by faulty oil control solenoids.

But the main cause of the P0011 code is dirty or sludgy engine oil. If the oil is too thick or dirty, the oil passages in the camshaft phasers might get clogged or stuck, hence resulting in a constantly advanced timing in the bank 1 camshaft. Take note that VVT (read more about Variable Valve Timing) equipped motors rely on oil pressure to activate the variable valve timing mechanism. This is the reason why frequent oil changes are critical especially in modern cars.

P0011 fault code DTC explained

What are the symptoms of P0011 DTC?

Since the camshaft in bank 1 is constantly stuck in advanced timing, you can only imagine the barrage of symptoms that follow next. Besides triggering an illuminated check engine light (or MIL), P0011 can also cause hard starting and poor idling. If the cam is stuck in far advanced or retarded timing, the engine might refuse to start even when applying throttle pressure.

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P0008, P0010P0011, P0012, P0014, P0016, P0022, are common to see if you’ve got gunk built up in your engine. Hopefully changing the oil fixes it. Otherwise you may have a seized engine!

But if the motor is running, you will notice a severe drop in fuel economy along with poor engine performance. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the engine will also hesitate or stall and will run like it needs an overhaul.

You know what follows next, right? Due to the inability of the ECU to tame the camshaft timing, the vehicle will also fail the emissions test.

How much does it cost to fix a P0011 code?

If the engine is relatively new or has low-mileage, the cost of fixing the P0011 code will cost no more than a basic oil change (around $30 to $50).

In most cases, the P0011 OBD2 Trouble Code is caused by dirty oil.

Flushing out the dirty oil and replacing with manufacturer-specified engine oil will fix the problem with no added repairs necessary.

But in some cases, the problem can also be caused by damaged cams or faulty timing chains, which will be more costly to fix.


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