P0010 Code – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms (& How To Fix)

If you're getting a P0010 code on your code scanner, don't panic. Here's everything you need to know about what it means and how to fix it.

P0010 Trouble Code

Once you start having trouble with your car engine, you naturally want to avoid dealing with it for fear of what’s to come. However, with a code scanner, it’s simple to get the DTC and fix it, especially if you find the P0010 code. 

In this guide, we cover the meaning of the P0010 trouble code and show you what might have caused it. We also look at the symptoms you might notice it producing and give you a few fixes to resolve the situation. 

Code P0010 Definition

P0010 – “A” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)

What Does the P0010 Code Mean?

P0010 is a generic powertrain code stating that the computer or powertrain control module (PCM) noticed an issue with one of the VVT solenoids. The fault is found on Bank 1, which is the side of cylinder 1 and “A” which is the intake camshaft.

If your engine is a Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), the fault is usually found with the intake camshaft. Otherwise, if you have a “V” engine, it’s found at the intake camshaft for the first cylinder. 

READ MORE: Bank 1 vs Bank 2 – Sensor 1 & 2 (Locate O2 Sensors Fast & Easy)

P0010 Trouble Code Symptoms

The first sign that something is wrong occurs when the Check Engine Light comes on. However, there are also performance issues that are common with this trouble code.

Here are just a few of the conditions that might exist.

Causes of the P0010 Code

There’s no clear-cut explanation for what causes the P0010 trouble code. It can be several different problems, which is why diagnosis is needed.

However, these are a few of the most common causes.

How Serious is the P0010 Code?

Medium – It can be tempting to continue driving the vehicle, especially if there aren’t too many noticeable signs occurring. However, there are some real concerns you must consider.

The engine performance will suffer, which causes you to use more fuel and contribute to higher emissions in the atmosphere. Before something major happens as a result of the fault, you want to have the system looked at.

What Repairs Can Fix the P0010 Code?

The only way to figure out the correct repair is to run through our diagnostic steps listed below. Once you’ve been through these steps, you will know precisely what needs to be fixed.

However, here are some of the most common fixes that resolve the P0010 trouble code.

  • Engine oil and filter change
  • Replace VVT solenoid (oil control valve)
  • Repair wiring or bad connection
  • Update or replace PCM

Common P0010 Diagnosis Mistakes

Without the right amount of experience, you may start throwing parts at the problem to fix it. If you do this, you might miss something small, like the simple oil change, which could fix it.

In the end, you could spend far too much money and remain in the same boat. That’s why you must walk through the diagnostic steps before trying to fix the problem. 

How to Diagnose the P0010 Trouble Code

If you want to get to the heart of the P0010 code, you need to follow the steps outlined in your service manual. We’ve outlined a few generic steps that will put you on the right track.

Follow these tips to get more details on the cause of the code.

  1. Record the trouble codes shown in your scanner. If there are too many present, you can clear them and run the car until the light comes on again. A rescan will reveal the most recent trouble codes.
  2. Start with a visual inspection of the oil. If it’s old and contaminated, you should always start with an oil and filter change. Even if it’s not the issue causing the code, you will avoid other trouble in the future.
  3. Perform an inspection of the VVT control solenoid on bank 1. If you see any frayed wiring or a defective connector, you want to repair the problem. 
  4. Check the resistance of the intake camshaft VVT control solenoid as per the procedure in your service manual. If it’s not falling in line with the specifications, replace the solenoid.

If you can’t get to the bottom of the issue, you could be dealing with a PCM problem. These issues are better left to the professional mechanics, so we recommend having it checked out. 

Estimated P0010 Repair Cost

If you followed our troubleshooting steps and found the problem, you know what you need to do next. To help you budget accordingly, we put together a few of the estimated repair costs, including parts and labor. 

  • Engine oil and filter change – $45-$125
  • Replace VVT solenoid (oil control valve) – $300-$650
  • Repair wiring or bad connection -$50-$550
  • Update or replace PCM – $300-$2,500

Mechanics Tips about the P0010 Code

For the engine to run properly, the timing must be set correctly. The timing between the camshaft and crankshaft must be perfect if the engine is to run as it was intended. This timing affects the performance of the motor, so if the timing is off and this code is set, there will be issues with the performance. The engine will try to correct itself by making adjustments, which can further affect the performance. 

Most often, the code can be found in Subaru, Chevy and BMWs, but it’s possible in other makes too. If you see the code with a high-mileage car, assume it has something to do with the engine oil or sludge buildup. On the other hand, if the vehicle has lower mileage, there could be an electrical issue, either with the wiring or the PCM.