P0022 OBD2 Trouble Code – Why is my truck not idling!?

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P0022 OBD2 Trouble Code

Meaning of the P0022 OBD2 Code

The technical definition is: “A” Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded Bank 2.

Simply put, this means the camshaft timing is constantly over-retarded.  This code is typically associated with variable valve timing (VVT) systems, which are commonly found in modern engines to optimize performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions.  This problem is most common in vehicles equipped with Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT) or variable valve timing (VVT) and often seen in Fords (we saw it on a lot of F-150 with the 5.4), but many other car brands can have this issue.

Pro Tip
Replacing your oil and filter usually fixes this P0022 OBD2 Trouble Code! If that doesn’t work, you’ve likely got a VCT Solenoid that needs to be replaced or other Camshaft issues.

In layman terms, P0022 is a generic engine code that refers to an issue in the camshaft.

It refers to the A camshaft in bank 2, with ‘A’ camshaft referring to front, left, or intake camshaft depending on engine configuration.

What are the causes of P0022 Fault Code?

When we break down this generic fault code we see that it’s got something to do with the Fuel/Air mixture that the ECM is detecting. In this case, the camshaft is where we’ll be focusing our attention.

 P0022 (Camshaft timing issues)  

The first letter of the fault code will indicate the family. The first digit in the error code will signify if the code is Generic or Manufacturer Specific. The second number means specific areas (Fuel/Air, Ignition, Auxiliary, Engine Idle, Transmission, etc). The third and fourth numbers pinpoint help pinpoint the problem:

  • P = Powertrain
  • 0 = Generic fault
  • 0, 1, and 2 = Air/fuel mixture
  • 22 = Camshaft issues

This generic DTC can stem from a variety of causes. The most common cause is a stuck oil control valve in the VCT solenoid unit. The OCV or oil control valve can get stuck in the retarded position due to dirty engine oil. Since most VVT units use oil pressure to switch between cam profiles, excessive dirt or sludge in the engine oil can block the oil passages in the valvetrain.

Pro Tip
If you (or the previous owners) of the vehicle didn’t do regular oil changes that’s usually what causes this code.

Another cause of the P0022 generic OBD-II error is a damaged cam phaser. This is most commonly seen in older or abused vehicles. Anything that has to do with oil flow problems in the VCT and cam phaser will trigger the check engine light and P0022 DTC.

In some cases, the problem is also caused by incorrect camshaft timing and/or related wiring problems in the intake timing control valve solenoid. And as you might have guessed, this type of problem is best addressed by a competent mechanic.

P0022 fault code DTC explained

In general, the 6 most common causes of a P0022 OBD-II code are:

1. A Faulty Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid

2. Problems with Oil Flow

3. Damaged or Worn Timing Components

4. Wiring or Connector Issues

5. Camshaft Position Sensor Problems

6. ECM or PCM Issues

What are the symptoms of P0022 DTC?

Since the intake camshaft is constantly set in the retarded position, a P0022 fault code will produce a host of symptoms related to engine starting and performance. If the cam is stuck in a severely retarded position, the motor will refuse to start even after repeated cranking. Of course, this is accompanied by a check engine light in the console.

Most common symptoms are: 

  • Very rough idle
  • Stalling
  • Slow throttle response
  • Multiple DTC fault codes showing (P0022, P0012, and P2198)

But if the engine is running, you will notice hesitation as you step on the pedal. The motor will also consume excessive fuel resulting in lower fuel mileage. This is accompanied by excessive fumes in the exhaust along with a rough or inconsistent idling. In some cases, the engine will stall completely for no apparent reason.

However, the symptoms will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

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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!

How much does it cost to fix P0022 Generic Code?

(Note: We have updated these costs for 2023) – If you’re lucky, the problem can be addressed with a basic oil change, which will cost anywhere from $40 to $60 including labor and materials. If your vehicle is equipped with VVT or variable valve timing, regular oil changes are critical to good engine health, especially in high-mileage applications. The same holds true if the issue stems from a wiring problem, which won’t cost a ton of money to resolve, usually around $100 – $150.

But if the DTC is caused by a broken or faulty timing valve control (VCT) solenoid, the cost of fixing the problem will cost hundreds of dollars especially if you have to take it to a mechanic. This repair can easily cost $500 or more, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

The best first steps is to check the condition of the engine oil and replace if necessary. After that, check the VCT Solenoid, the wiring harness in the solenoid valve, and check for frayed or broken connections.


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