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Code P0010 (Symptoms, causes and how to fix it)


The newer the cars are, the more features each one has. While all of these new features can have many performance benefits when everything is working correctly, it also means that there may be more check engine light features.

The P0010 code is a great example. But what exactly is this code and how important is it? More importantly, how can you fix it and how much will it cost?

Read on and you’ll see everything you need to clear this code and keep your vehicle running like new!

What does code P0010 mean?

P0011 OBD-II Trouble Code Description

Camshaft Position “A”—Actuator  Circuit/Open

Newer vehicles control everything with actuators and sensors. Intake and exhaust valve timing are two of the electronically controlled elements in new cars.

To do this, the engine takes information from the crankshaft and crankshaft position sensors and communicates this information through the ECU to the camshaft position actuator.

What the actuator does is slow down or speed up the camshaft timing in a fraction of a second. This action causes the intake or exhaust valves to open or close for an additional moment, which the engine uses to maximize performance.

When the actuator stops responding, the check engine light will come on and you will get a P0010 or P0013 code.

There are several reasons why the actuator may stop working and we explain them all. But whatever the reason behind the code, the code will always be the same.

Related: code P0011, code P0012

Code P0010 Symptoms

While a check engine light is the quickest way to diagnose a P0010 code, you’ll notice a few other things as well.

#1 – Reduced engine performance

One of the most common symptoms of a P0010 code is reduced engine performance. Your vehicle’s camshaft position actuator optimizes performance, so it makes sense that if it’s not working, that performance will suffer.

#2 – Higher fuel consumption

An engine that is not optimized is an engine that wastes fuel. It doesn’t matter how much fuel you pour into the combustion chamber; if there isn’t enough fresh air, there won’t be enough fuel material to generate additional power.

Of course, your ECU doesn’t recognize it, so it keeps dumping fuel even though it doesn’t help.

Causes of code P0010

There are several possible causes for a P0010 code. Here are four of the most common:

#1 – Excessive motor oil sludge

One of the most common causes of a P0010 code is that your vehicle is in dire need of an oil change. However, it is not something that would be missing from your oil to cause a few-mile change.

It’s more like you don’t know you need to change the oil in your vehicle, and you’ve owned the car for a few years.

#2 – Faulty crankshaft or camshaft sensors

Although there is no maintenance interval for sensors, it is not uncommon for them to break.

The camshaft and crankshaft sensors work with your engine’s ECU to optimize performance and timing, and both sensors can generate a P0010 code if they’re not working properly.

#3 – Wiring problem

Although wiring problems are not particularly common, they can easily cause a P0010 code. Everything about your camshaft actuators is electronic, and all of those electronic components are actuated and send signals through the wiring.

If these wires are broken, corroded, or damaged, the system will not operate and you will receive a code.

#4 – Worn Timing Components

If you keep track of your engine oil changes, the most common cause of a P0010 code is outdated components. In fact, these components also have maintenance intervals, and if you don’t follow them, it’s only a matter of time before they malfunction.

Is code P0010 serious?

A P0010 code means your engine is dying because the camshaft cannot maintain engine performance. Although it’s not a big deal if you fix it quickly, you may damage the engine or ignore the problem.

If you hear an engine misfire or experience a significant decrease in performance, stop driving your vehicle immediately until you resolve the underlying problem. Additionally, until you fix the problem, you should drive the vehicle as little as possible.

How to fix

Best vehicle diagnostic scanner

You may need to do some repairs to clear the P0010 code. Below are the four most common depending on the cause of your engine failure.

#1 – Oil and filter change

If you pull the dipstick and the oil looks more like sludge than oil, then you’ve found the problem. Change the oil and hope for the best; You may need to flush the system several times to remove enough sludge to clear the code.

See also: 4 common oil change scams

#2 – Replace Worn Timing Components

Check your service intervals: If it’s time for timing chain/belt repair, replace worn components. If you’re past your service intervals, that’s probably the cause of your code.

#3 – Replace the crankshaft or camshaft sensor

If all of your scheduled maintenance is up to date, the most likely culprit is a faulty crankshaft or crankshaft sensor. Depending on your vehicle, one or both of these sensors are usually easily accessible.

#4 – Troubleshooting Wiring Faults

It’s rare, but if you have a wiring fault, you have two options. Find the wiring problem and fix it or replace the entire harness. Wiring harnesses aren’t cheap, but repairing them requires more than a little electrical knowledge.



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