vvt solenoid symptoms

Bad Variable Valve Timing(VVT) Solenoid Symptoms & Replacement Cost

In Engine by Magnus Sellén5 Comments

vvt solenoid symptomsVariable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid is one of the awesome innovation of the automobile industry.

Almost all modern cars use VVT technology to improve their performance and fuel economy. VVT solenoid helps engines altering their valve lift timing which makes sure that the right amount of oil is supplied to the engine that results in fuel efficiency.

Electronic fundamentals of electromagnetism equipped in form of solenoid valve are used to control this oil flow. Solenoid draws a small amount of current from car’s battery which activates it.

When the ignition is turned on connection to the solenoid is established drawing a metal slug down overcoming spring force that pushes the slug away. This push closes the contact between connections and connects that battery to starter, letting large current to pass via contact to the starter motor and letting the engine to start.

When solenoid goes bad, the passage of current gets interrupted resulting in a problem in starting. This could be because of burn or corroded contacts.

In case of VVT Solenoid’s malfunctioning, improper lubrication can result in gear and timing chain damage.

Bad Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Symptoms

There could be a variety of symptoms and effects of the bad timing belt. All of them are as follows:

1. Indicating Check Engine Light

flashing check engine lightWith the help of Electronic Controlled Unit (ECU) equipped in new modern cars, you can get to know any unusual activity going on in your via a check engine light indication. Your ECU monitors compare and report every activity going in your car and in case any of the current situations is not compatible with the predefined values it gives you check engine light.

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In this case, it is recommended to go to a highly professional mechanic and get your car checked as only he check and decode your check engine light through his manual.

2. Inappropriate Idling in Engine

The flow of additional oil to VVT gears is one of the possible outcomes if VVT solenoid malfunctioning. It results in an engine’s rough idling. Engine’s RPMs fluctuates when VVT works, Ignoring RPMs fluctuation can result in early wear and tear of the engine.

3. Dirty or Bad Engine Oil

VVT solenoid’s performance depends highly on the quality of your engine oil. With clean engine oil, they tend to perform perfectly. Engine oil with lots of impurities lowers its viscosity resulting in clogging in VVT solenoid ultimately effecting chain and gear.

4. Reduction in Fuel Economy

VVT Solenoid manages valve’s open and shut timings to make sure efficient fuel consumption is observed. So any malfunctioning in VVT Solenoid will surely result in fuel efficiency. So if you notice definite drops in your fuel average and smell kind of unburnt fuel, then there are very good chances that your Variable Valve Timing sensor is at fault.

Replacement of the Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid

Once it has been detected and confirmed that your car’s VVT Solenoid is at fault, it is recommended to get it replaced with some professional mechanic or do it yourself if you know about it. For replacing, the following steps will have to be performed.

Disconnecting Battery

First of all, disconnect the car battery carefully from your car by loosening both terminals carefully and handling batter (in case if it is with battery acid to remove any possible spillage). Keep both terminals away from each other to avoid any possible short because of any stored charge in capacitors.

Opening Engine Cover

Your engines are covered with some plastic body (different in every model) under which all other engine parts are hidden. So, first of all, remove your engine cover by unfastening nuts on them and keep it securely in a side.

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Finding VVT Solenoid

Once the cover is removed, now look carefully for your VVT Solenoid. It is normally located around the valve cover. In case you do not know and you have new VVT Solenoid, then try and compare both of them and find a similar part mounted somewhere nearby as it will make it easier for you find. Once found, make sure to clear that area of wires and others.

Looking for Mounts and Bolts

Normally Solenoid Valves are tied using a single bolt, but in some cases, there are two bolts as well. Remove these bolts carefully and keep them safe, making sure you do not drop them in the engine room.

Getting Old Solenoid Off

Firstly, remove the connector fixed on VVT solenoid carefully by make sure no connections to the connector are disturbed by pressing tab to release the lock. Now remove the Solenoid with the help of a pair of channel locks. Grip on the metal part and pull. Try swirling it and pulling as it might make your pull more effective.

Inspecting Faulty Solenoid

Once you have taken Solenoid out, have a proper look at it. Make sure that whole Solenoid is removed and none of its side parts like O-ring etc. is left. Also, make sure that you clean any dust and debris if found there.

Installing New Solenoid

Once you unboxed your new Solenoid, make sure to lubricate it before fixing it. Also, lubricate its seals with lithium grease.

Securing it tightly

Now get back the mounting screws you unfastened from to remove the old solenoid and fastened them now tightly. Make sure they are well tightened with an accurate amount of torque.

Putting Connector

Now put all jacks and connector to this newly attached VVT Solenoid. Applying dielectric grease on seal and connecter’s face is appreciated as it will help prevent corrosion.

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Packing Back

Once all above steps are done, back your engine cover and reconnect your battery. You are ready to go now.

VVT Solenoid Replacement Cost

The average replacement cost of the VVT Solenoid is around 300$. You can expect a labor cost of 50-300$ depending on the car model and the part itself costs between 50-300$.

There is a large price variency when it comes to the VVT solenoids depending on which car you have. Some car models you have to take half the engine apart, while on others it’s replaced within 5 minutes. Check your repair manual for the exact information.


VVT Solenoid plays an important role in your cars overall performance. Malfunctioning of VVT Solenoid means disturbance in engine activity which possibly can lead to engine wear and tear.

If you have any questions regarding the VVT Solenoid, Leave a comment down below!

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

  1. Cleaned both solenoids and car drove ok for 140 miles some short trips some high speed driving BUT Engine warning light came back on and car went LIMP MODE..
    Turning ignition off for two minutes and turning ignition on off three times seems to have cleared lights and now car dives fast /slow ok.
    Don’t know why Limp Mode then car can drive ok if there is a real problem

  2. I have a 2015 Chevy Equinox
    With approximately 39,000 miles.
    I have been taking it to the
    dealership service department
    To maintain it in a timely manner
    In hopes of keeping it running smoothly

    2 weeks ago the start started running
    hard and hesitating and the next day
    the car died twice and
    the check engine lite popped up-
    The next day I brought it in
    To the service department
    and they replaced the solenoid intake valves.

    Well it is 8 days later and the strange
    Noise I heard yesterday – is the
    need for a new starter which
    Was replaced this afternoon.

    Is it possible that my starter
    Was damaged when replacing those valves?

    The only other strange thing
    Is this car is on it’s 3rd battery
    – I realize the Arizona heat can be
    brutal on cars but now I live in fear
    of going over a few miles from home
    in case of engine failure

    These past 2 repairs
    Have been out of pocket
    Because my warranty has expired

    Please help – is it possible these
    3 issues are related in someway?

    Is this something I should send
    To GM for review?

  3. I have Toyota Vios 2004 & It’s RPM goes to 1500 at idle speed ,Check Engine also indicating,What Could be Happen?

  4. I have a 2005 Hyundai Elantra. The variable valve solenoid sits right on top of the engine on my car, and somehow got broken and was just dangling by the connector wires. The piece that had been broken off had a bit of the metal inside showing and it touched my motor which is metal as well and caused my car to die and it wouldn’t restart. Do I just need to get a new variable valve solenoid or would the two metals touching have caused more damage to something else as well? And what else would have possibly been damaged too?

    Thanks, Jenn

  5. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
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