P0010 CODE: Causes and Fixes, “A” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)

You may have just heard about it, and now you are face to face with dreaded error code – P0010. What is it? What causes it? How can it be fixed?

The error code P0010 is linked with the timing of the mechanical variable valve of your engine. Because of set performance and emissions standards, vehicle manufacturers install systems that work with the purpose of increasing the lift of the engine valve while taking into consideration specific considerations that are based on performance and load.

Just so you know, the P0010 error code can also go together with different codes, including the P0020, P0011, P0012, P0021, P0022, even more.

What is this Code All About?

The work of the variable valve timing (VVT) system is to increase engine performance and fuel economy. This is done by regulating the time when the valves for intake and exhaust opens and closes. Another vital part of the engine is the camshaft. This part/s is adjusted using the Engine Control Module (ECM) via an oil control valve, otherwise referred to as the variable valve timing control solenoid valves.

When the Engine Control Module tries to adjust the timing of the Bank 1 intake camshaft with one of these oil control valves, and it alerts an electrical issue with the solenoid windings in the valve or the circuit that goes into the valve, the code P0010 error is triggered.

If you are like most of my clients who find it difficult to understand some of these terms, the engine code P0010 means that there is most likely to be an issue with the timing of your car's mechanical variable valve. This code is actually a generic one. When the diagnostic code P0010 is returned, it shows that a potential problem was discovered with the ECM picking up a gap between the mechanical parts of the camshaft (bank 1) and the crankshaft. This type of error is usually detected at a higher speed. This is because, in this scenario, the ECM adjusts the valve in order to offset the higher RPMS.

Symptoms of OBD2 Code P0010

By their natural design, the ECM sensors are used in finding the location of the camshafts and crankshaft. Data from the sensors are used in controlling the valve lift, fuel timing, and ignition as the car runs. If an issue is detected, you will notice its Check Engine Light turning on, thus potentially affecting the engine performance.

As such, the following symptoms are commonly observed:

  • Lit Check Engine Light (CEL)
  • Difficulty in the no-start condition during an engine start
  • Rough idle
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Decreased engine performance
  • Engine misfires
  • The smell of gas coming from the exhaust pipe

  • Potential Causes for Code P10010

    The following are among the most likely causes for this error:

  • Obstruction in the oil passage
  • Low pressure in the engine oil
  • Issues with the camshaft position actuator
  • Faulty wiring of the camshaft position actuator (burnt, shorted, open)
  • Fault connector of the camshaft position actuator (corroded, loose, or bent, or disconnected pins)
  • How to Diagnose Diagnostic Code P0010

    Before you attempt to diagnose this error code, make sure that you have some knowledge regarding safety measures as you work with your car. If not, better take it to a professional like me. Avoid compromising safety – it's a must!

    1. Let's start!

  • Clear the ECU memory first to discard a potential intermittent DTC scenario. Afterwards, perform a complete driving cycle.
  • Check the trouble codes and note them well.
  • Clear the memory for the data trouble codes
  • Complete a driving cycle for about 5 to 10 minutes
  • If the Check Engine Light is still off, this is an indication of an intermittent issue. If the light is on as you do the driving cycle, you can continue with Step 2.

    2. Visual Check

  • Oil Pressure Check
  • Check the engine oil pressure by using the right oil gauge. Complete it if needed and do more tests if the problem continues.

  • Camshaft Position Actuator Connectors and Wiring
  • Make an elaborate visual connection of this part. Search out for damaged, burnt deteriorated, or corroded wires. You can also unplug the actuator first to see whether there are bent terminal pins, corrosion, loose connections, or other indications of a possible bad connection.

    Learn the signs of the failing camshaft position ( CMP ) sensor

  • Scan Tool Tests
  • This depends on the make and model of your car. Some tests are manual, while others are automatic. Note, though, that these tests may not be completely conclusive. An OEM diagnostic test is recommended.

  • Electrical Tests
  • While referring to the right OEM literature, do a check on the sensor signal, ground, and supply voltage of the CPA (Camshaft Position Actuator). If necessary, repair the circuits accordingly.

    How to Repair Engine Code P0010 Error

    The way to repair this code P0010 highly depends on the results of the diagnostics. However, among the most common ones are the following:

  • Replace the Camshaft Position Actuator
  • Change or Complete Engine Oil

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