With the Check Engine Light on, you know there’s a problem with your vehicle that needs prompt attention. Once you scan the system with your OBDII reader, you may see the P0011 code.
It’s important to know what the P0011 trouble code means, so we’ve laid out all of the pertinent information for you. We cover the causes, symptoms, diagnostic tips and estimated repair costs below. Our guide also looks at some mistakes that can easily be made and we answer a few of your top questions, such as should I drive with the P0011 code?
Code P0011 Definition
P0011 – Camshaft Position A – Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance (Bank 1)
P0011 – Intake Valve Timing Control Performance Bank 1 (Nissan)
What Does the P0011 Code Mean?
The P0011 code means that the engine control module (ECM) received information that the bank 1 intake camshaft has progressed further than where it is supposed to be. While this is a generic code used by many automakers, the Nissan models tend to have a different meaning.
Bank 1 is the side where the 1st cylinder is housed. When the engine computer recognizes that the cam timing has gone too far, the code triggers. Every engine contains a bank 1. However, V engines also have a bank 2. If there’s a problem with that bank, the P0021 code sets instead.
If the camshaft timing is retarded, or behind where it should be, you will see different codes. Instead, you may see the P0012 or P0022 codes, depending on which bank is to blame.
What Are The Symptoms Of P0011?
In some cases, the P0011 creates a multitude of symptoms. You will notice the Check Engine Light, along with some performance issues. Here are a few possibilities.
- Check Engine Light
- Rough idle
- Engine stalling
- Trouble starting the engine
- Reduced fuel economy
- Misfiring engine
- Engine rattling
- Failed emissions testing
What Are The Causes of P0011?
It’s very possible that the reasons for the P0011 code are something simple that’s easy to fix. However, the problems can also be more severe, so you don’t ever want to make assumptions. Here are the most common causes you may be dealing with.
- Contaminated/low engine oil
- Wrong engine oil viscosity
- Damaged wiring or connector
- Faulty VVT solenoid
- Defective camshaft actuator
- Damaged timing chain or belt
- PCM issues
How Serious is the P0011 Code?
Severe – With the camshaft timing off, you have a serious engine problem on your hands. Even if you aren’t noticing a lot of performance issues, they will get worse and possibly leave you stranded.
The worst thing that could happen is that the timing belt or chain breaks. If that occurs, serious engine damage can follow. If your car is older and has high mileage, it may not be worth fixing at that point.
How Do I Fix the P0011 Code?
To determine the appropriate P0011 fix, you must first work through a complete diagnosis. We list these steps down below, based on what we would do as professional mechanics. However, it’s still helpful to know what you might be facing. Here are the most common fixes for the P0011 code.
- Oil and filter change
- Repair damaged wiring or connection
- Replace VVT solenoid
- Replace camshaft actuator
- Replace timing belt or chain
- Update/replace PCM (rare)
Common P0011 Diagnosis Mistakes
It’s easy to throw parts at a problem with the hopes of repairing it quickly. However, it’s essential to walk through the diagnostic procedures before replacing parts.
You don’t want to spend a lot of money on new parts before you figure out what’s wrong. After all, the car may only need an oil change.
How to Diagnose the P0011 Trouble Code?
If you want to figure out what’s going on with your car, there are some methods of testing. Most of these steps don’t require any advanced tools or knowledge, so you can feel confident doing them at home.
- Use your code scanner to check for other DTCs. If there are multiple problems present, you may be able to figure out what’s wrong by looking at them together. Use our trouble code library to learn more about the DTCs you see.
- Inspect the oil level and its condition. If the level is low but the oil looks good, you can add some more. You should also look for a leak if the level continues to drop. Otherwise, if the oil is dirty, you should change it and the filter.
- Verify that you are using the right oil viscosity. If you haven’t used the correct type recommended by the manufacturer, you should drain it and refill the engine.
- Inspect the camshaft oil control valve by removing it. Use a repair manual to figure out how to test it on your car model. Supply power and ground to the solenoid with jumper wires. You shouldn’t apply power for more than a second. If the valve is working, you should hear a clicking sound and you may see it move.
- Inspect the timing chain or belt and check the camshaft timing. If you notice that the camshaft timing is out of alignment, it is time to replace it. Timing belt replacement is normally part of recommended maintenance, so you may consider doing it if the mileage is close, even if you aren’t noticing any problems.
Aside from these steps, it may be best to reach out to a professional mechanic for more support. You don’t want to make any mistakes with the engine if you aren’t familiar with what you are doing.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix Code P0011?
The approximate cost for repair depends on what needs to be fixed and the average labor rate in your area. We highlighted a few averages below, but these costs could be even lower if you do the work yourself.
- Oil and filter change – $35 to $95
- Repair damaged wiring or connection – $50 to $550
- Replace VVT solenoid – $55 to $450
- Replace camshaft actuator – $650 to $950
- Replace timing belt or chain – $550 to $3,250
- Update/replace PCM – $250 to $2,500
A Mechanic’s Tips About The P0011 Code
It’s so easy to jump right into troubleshooting and forget how important the oil is. If the wrong viscosity is used or the oil is dirty, the camshaft timing phasers may either advance too far or remain behind where they are intended to be.
Before jumping into anything complicated, it may be best to change the oil and see what happens. That may be all it takes to fix the problem and you will have saved a lot of money. If the oil levels are low and continue to drop, you should also check the system for leaks to prevent future issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is code P0011 serious?
Yes, the camshaft timing has everything to do with how the engine runs. With the timing off, you could experience serious engine problems, from a rough idle to stalling. If these symptoms get too bad, you may not be able to restart the car. Additionally, if a belt or chain breaks, it can cause serious engine damage.
Can I drive with a P0011 code?
No, once you see the P0011 code, you should stop driving. The problem could get much worse very quickly. Additionally, if the timing belt or chain were to break, you could be looking at a massive engine repair. Depending on how old your vehicle is, it may no longer be worth fixing after this issue.
What happens if the camshaft sensor goes bad?
If data isn’t being transferred properly, the fuel delivery and ignition timing may be off. Even if it’s just off slightly, the vehicle can start to exhibit performance problems. You may notice sputtering, a rough idle, backfiring, and stalling. It may also be hard to get the engine started again.
What are the symptoms of incorrect timing?
With the timing of the ignition off, the mixture of fuel and air won’t be combusted properly. Therefore, you are left with several performance issues that make it harder to drive, such as a rough idle and stalling. On top of that, when the engine isn’t running as it should, the car is going to burn more fuel.
You may not think the P0011 code is anything to worry about and you may want to ignore it, but you shouldn’t. This serious engine fault can lead to a lot of trouble if you don’t have it fixed right away. Not only will the car’s performance suffer, but you are going to be spending more money filling up the tank because of the inefficient operation.
To be safe, run through our diagnostic steps and find out what’s wrong. If you don’t feel qualified or you can’t figure it out, take your car to a local repair shop for more help. By taking care of this problem now, you avoid more costly and serious issues down the road.
Categories: OBD Codes
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