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P0010 OBD Fault Code (Causes & Fixes)

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Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 12:36 am

The P0010 fault code stands for: ‘A’ Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)

P0010 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that is stored in a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) system when there is an issue with the engine’s camshaft position actuator circuit.

This fault code is specific to the camshaft position actuator circuit, it’s triggered when the circuit is malfunctioning, open or shorted.

In this article, we’ll explain what the P0010 fault code means, its potential causes, signs, and how to fix it.

What Does P0010 Mean?

The P0010 fault code is triggered when there is an issue with the engine’s camshaft position actuator circuit.

The camshaft position actuator circuit is responsible for controlling the timing of the engine’s valves, any issues with this circuit can affect performance and efficiency.

It’s more commonly seen on vehicles that come equipped with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) systems.

VVT systems are primarily activated by the oil control valve (OCV), also referred to as a solenoid valve.

A P0010 code will arise when the ECU tries to adjust the timing of the intake camshaft in bank 1 using one of these valves and it identifies a low voltage within the OCV.

It is not uncommon to encounter additional diagnostic trouble codes alongside the P0010 code.

These additional codes might include: P0011, P0012, P0020, P0021, P0022.

How Serious Is It?

The severity of this fault code varies based on the specific symptoms and complications it induces, along with the cause behind it.

Several symptoms associated with the P0010 code include diminished power output, decreased fuel efficiency, and difficulties when attempting to start the engine.

Although these symptoms can cause inconvenience and influence the vehicle’s operational smoothness, they usually don’t pose an immediate threat.

However, the underlying cause of the trouble code could be more severe if left unresolved.

For example:

  • a malfunctioning camshaft position actuator might negatively impact engine performance and efficiency, potentially causing further engine deterioration and wear.
  • damage or disconnection of the actuator control wiring harness could lead to engine malfunction or complete failure.

Generally, it’s best to fix the underlying issue causing a P0010 code to avoid damage to the vehicle’s engine.

Can I Still Drive?

If a vehicle has a P0010 fault code, it’s recommended to avoid driving it due to the potential for a no-start scenario that could lead to a breakdown.

Left unaddressed, the issue might result in additional harm to the engine.

Potential Causes

There are many potential causes of a P0010 fault code. Some of the most common causes include the following.

  • Faulty camshaft position actuator: This is a mechanical or electromechanical component responsible for controlling the timing of the engine’s valves. If the actuator is faulty or damaged, it could malfunction and trigger a P0010 code.
  • Damaged or disconnected actuator control wiring harness: This is responsible for providing power and communication to the camshaft position actuator. If the wiring harness is damaged or disconnected, it could also cause this OBD fault code.
  • Malfunctioning powertrain control module: The PCM is responsible for controlling the engine and transmission. If it’s malfunctioning, it may cause also P0010 code.
  • Faulty VVT control solenoid valve: This causes improper opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves, potentially leading to this code.
  • Damaged wiring: Damaged, frayed, corroded, or loose wiring could all be causes.
  • Contaminated oil in the engine: Dirty and old oil can cause a camshaft position actuator fault code.
  • Malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor: The camshaft position sensor and crankshaft position sensor work together to keep the engine in sync, if either one fails it can result in the other sensor not working properly and lead to a P0010 code.

Other possible causes include a low engine oil level or a faulty oil pressure sensor.

It is important to diagnose and repair the underlying cause of a P0010 code in order to prevent further damage.

Signs & Symptoms

The P0010 fault code is triggered when there’s an issue with the engine’s camshaft position actuator circuit, which can affect the engine’s performance and efficiency.

Some common signs of this code include the following.

  • Check engine light: A CEL appearing on the dashboard is one of the most obvious symptoms associated with a P0010 fault code.
  • Reduction in power: This can make the vehicle feel less responsive and accelerate more slowly. This may be especially noticeable at high RPMs.
  • Decrease in fuel efficiency: The camshaft position actuator plays a role in regulating the engine’s combustion, if it’s not functioning properly it can reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Difficulty starting the engine: If the camshaft position actuator is not functioning properly, it may cause the engine to have difficulty starting or to fail to start altogether.

You may also notice other issues such as:

  • Rattling / knocking sounds
  • The engine running rough
  • A poor engine idle

Diagnosing & Fixing

It’s important to diagnose and repair the cause of the P0010 as soon as possible.

  • Try replacing the oil and filling the oil up to the correct level.
  • Disconnect the negative (ground) terminal of the battery and wait 15-30 minutes before reconnecting the terminal.
  • If that doesn’t work, try cleaning the camshaft position actuator.

Diagnosing

The following are some steps that a mechanic or technician may take to diagnose the issue causing the P0010 code.

  1. Use a diagnostic tool: Using an OBD scanner to read and interpret a P0010 code can help identify the underlying cause of the problem.
  2. Inspect the camshaft position actuator: Inspecting the actuator and checking for visible signs of damage or wear is a good starting point.
  3. Inspect the actuator control wiring harness: Inspect the wiring harness for visible signs of damage or wear, you could also test the continuity of the wiring using a multimeter.
  4. Check the powertrain control module: You could use a scan tool to monitor the operation of the PCM and check for any issues.

How to Fix

Once the underlying cause of the P0010 code has been identified correctly you can find an appropriate fix for the issue.

Sometimes you can repair faulty parts or just simply replace them.

Possible fixes include:

  • If the bank 1 VVT control solenoid valve is faulty, repair any faulty wiring or connectors.
  • If engine sludge is present, remove it and perform an engine service.
  • If the bank 1 intake camshaft VVT control solenoid resistance is off (as per the vehicle service manual), replace the bank 1 intake VVT control solenoid.

After repairs have been completed, test the vehicle’s systems and components to ensure the issue has been resolved and the P0010 code has been cleared from the OBD system.

This may involve starting the engine, taking a test drive, and using a diagnostic tool to check for remaining codes or issues.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer. He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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