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P0011 OBD Fault Code: Signs, Causes & How to Fix

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Last Updated on: 21st November 2023, 02:44 am

P0011 OBD fault code stands for: Camshaft Position A – Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance (Bank 1)

Quick Summary
  • The P0011 fault code signifies that the engine’s intake camshaft in bank 1 is more advanced than the Engine Control Module (ECM) commands, often due to issues with the Variable Valve Timing system.
  • Causes range from faulty camshaft sensors, VVT solenoids, oil level problems, and more.
  • Symptoms include a lit Check Engine Light, reduced performance, and poor fuel economy.
  • This code is moderate to severe and requires prompt repair to prevent potential engine damage.

This code is part of the On-Board Diagnostics-II (OBD-II) system, a standardized system implemented in vehicles since the mid-1990s.

P0011 is specifically related to the engine’s timing and its efficiency. In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms and potential fixes.

What the P0011 Code Means

The P0011 code is an OBD-II generic code indicating that the Engine Control Module (ECM) has determined that the bank 1 intake camshaft is more advanced than what the ECM has commanded it to be.

This scenario occurs during the Variable Valve Timing (VVT) or Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT) in the engine. Bank 1 refers to the side of the engine with the first cylinder.

This DTC is moderate-severe, the vehicle may still be drivable if symptoms aren’t that bad but should be repaired as soon as feasible and best not to drive.

How Serious Is It?

The severity of a P0011 code can range from moderate to severe, depending on the specific circumstances and how the vehicle is responding.

  1. Moderate Severity: In many cases, a P0011 code falls into the moderate severity category. This means that while the vehicle could still be driven, it requires attention and repair as soon as possible. Ignoring this code can lead to diminished performance, increased fuel consumption, and potential long-term damage to the engine.
  2. Severe Severity: In some situations, particularly if the vehicle is exhibiting significant performance issues, such as stalling, rough idling, or failure to start, the severity can escalate. In these cases, it’s advisable not to drive or start the engine until the issue is resolved. Continuing to operate the vehicle in this state could lead to engine damage.

The severity can escalate if the issue is ignored over time. Even if the issue seems minor initially, the underlying problem could worsen, leading to more serious issues.

OBD Fault Code Severity Rating

  • minor (non-issue or doesn’t need fixing in any immediate manner, can still be driven)
  • moderate (can be driven still but needs repairing asap, symptoms may worsen or could lead to damage if left unfixed)
  • severe (do not drive or start the engine)


Several factors can trigger a P0011 code. Common causes include:

  1. Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor: This sensor monitors the position of the camshaft and relays this information to the ECM. If it malfunctions, it can send incorrect timing data.
  2. Engine Oil Issues: Low oil level or poor oil quality can affect the VVT system’s operation, as it relies on hydraulic pressure.
  3. Malfunctioning VVT Solenoid: This component controls the flow of oil to the VVT chain and gears.
  4. Timing Belt or Chain Problems: Wear and tear or incorrect timing belt/chain installation can lead to timing issues.
  5. ECM Software Needs Update: Sometimes, the issue might be with the ECM’s software, requiring an update.


Symptoms accompanying the P0011 code can vary but often include:

  • Check Engine Light comes on
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Engine performance issues (misfire, hesitation, etc)
  • Rattling noises from the engine
  • Hard to start or stalling


Proper diagnosis involves several steps, such as the following.

  1. Reading the Code: Use an OBD-II scanner to confirm the presence of the P0011 code.
  2. Visual Inspection: Check for oil leaks, wear and tear on the timing belt/chain, and overall engine condition.
  3. Check Engine Oil Level and Quality: Ensure the oil is at the correct level and is not dirty or contaminated.
  4. Sensor and Solenoid Testing: Test the camshaft position sensor and the VVT solenoid for proper operation.
  5. ECM Software Check: Verify if the ECM software is up-to-date.

How to Fix

You may be able to fix this fault code using the following methods.

  1. Replacing the Camshaft Position Sensor: If found faulty.
  2. Changing Engine Oil and Filter: If oil issues are detected.
  3. Replacing the VVT Solenoid: If it’s malfunctioning.
  4. Timing Belt/Chain Adjustment or Replacement: If they are improperly installed or worn out.
  5. Updating ECM Software: If required.

Prevention Tips

To avoid the P0011 code, regular vehicle maintenance is key. This includes timely oil changes, checking the timing belt/chain condition, and ensuring the ECM software is updated.


The P0011 code is a clear indicator that there is a discrepancy in the engine’s timing management, specifically concerning the intake camshaft position in bank 1.

Addressing this issue promptly can prevent further damage to the engine and maintain optimal performance.

  • 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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