P0011 Code: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnostics, and Fixes

The P0011 OBD2 code tells you the timing is off on your “A” camshaft. When this happens, it’s most often caused by a problem with the oil viscosity. It can also be the result of a solenoid failure or stuck valve, however, so you want to do your due diligence and check the system thoroughly before making repairs.

The fix for the P0011 is often specific to a vehicle’s make and model. The correct oil viscosity for your system will also be outlined in your manual, so that’s the first thing you should find when the P0011 trouble code activates.

Issues with your engine timing can quickly snowball into more serious problems, so you’ll want to fix this trouble code as soon as you notice it. Read on below to find out how to properly diagnose and repair this problem.

The P0011 Code tells you the timing is off on your “A” camshaft.
The P0011 Code tells you the timing is incorrect on your “A” camshaft.

P0011 Code Definition:

  • P0011 Code Definition (Generic): “A” Camshaft position – timing over-advanced or system performance (Bank 1)
  • P0011 Chevy Code Definition: Intake camshaft position system performance
  • P0011 Kia Code Definition: “A” camshaft position timing over-advanced or system performance bank 1
  • P0011 Nissan Code Definition:  Intake valve timing control performance bank 1
  • P0011 Subaru Code Definition: Camshaft position “A” timing over advance or performance bank 1
  • P0011 Toyota Code Definition: Camshaft position “A” timing over-advanced or system performance bank 1
  • P0011 VW Code Definition: “A” camshaft position timing over-advanced or system performance bank 1

What Does P0011 Mean?

Generally speaking, you can interpret the P0011 OBD2 code to mean the timing of your intake camshaft is off. The engine doesn’t operate at the same level the entire time you’re driving. The timing of the valves are varied by the ECU in response to the engine’s RPM range.

When P0011 activates, it tells you the “A” camshaft in bank 1 is in a more advanced position than it should be. This is the camshaft that’s at the intake, which could be the left or the front camshaft depending on your vehicle.

Diagnosing and fixing the P0011 code properly doesn’t just mean returning it to the proper position at the moment but also discovering what caused the timing error in the first place. That part of the process can sometimes be tricky, depending on your vehicle and the reason for the trouble code.

What Are The Symptoms Of The P0011 Code?

You will usually notice drivability issues when the P0011 code activates. These symptoms include:

  • Activation of the check engine light
  • Engine is hard to start
  • Engine runs rough or hesitates
  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Increase in harmful emissions
  • Stalling

What Are The Causes Of P0011?

  • Faulty wiring around intake timing control valve system
  • Failure of camshaft variable timing solenoid
  • Seized camshaft phaser
  • Incorrect oil viscosity
  • Oil flow to variable camshaft timing chamber is continuous

How Serious Is The P0011 Code?

The P0011 code is moderately serious. The rough driving caused by this trouble code can lead to further engine damage if it’s not addressed in a timely manner. While you can drive for a little while with this code active, you should repair the problem as soon as possible.

How To Diagnose The P0011 code

The P0011 Code can be diagnosed by an OBD2 scan tool.
We use an OBD2 scanner to diagnose P0113 Code

Diagnosis and repair of the P0011 trouble code can vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model. Before you start your diagnosis, read your vehicle’s service manual. You can also check for technical service bulletins that have been released related to this trouble code.

Tools You’ll Need:

Method:

  1. Check for other trouble codes, specifically related codes like P0010, P0012, P0021, or P0022. If these are present, they can help you to hone in on the cause of your problem.
  2. Inspect the wiring and valves around the bank 1 exhaust valve and oil control valve.
  3. Make sure that all electrical connections within the system are secure and unimpeded.
  4. Check the oil. Make sure it’s at the right level, and inspect the viscosity. If it seems too thick or too thin, replace the oil. You can find the specifications for the correct oil viscosity in your vehicle’s manual.
  5. Check the timing chain alignment to see if it’s jumped. This could be causing your engine’s timing problems.
  6. Use an OBD2 scan tool to read the freeze frame data. Watch the live data while you disconnect the oil control valve on the exhaust camshaft. The data should change. If it does, the valve is functioning correctly. If it doesn’t, you may have a more serious electrical problem with your engine control module. This is rare, however, as this trouble code more often points to a mechanical issue.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Diagnosing The P0011 Code

Don’t assume the problem is with the sensor without checking the systems themselves. Make sure you conduct a full diagnosis and identify the true cause of the problem before buying any new components.

What Should You Do To Fix The Code P0011?

After each step in your repair, clear the trouble codes and then take a test drive. If you’re still having symptoms or the code recurs, continue with the next step of the diagnosis. Avoid replacing any components until you’ve confirmed the problem isn’t something simple.

  1. Replace any damaged wires you find around the bank 1 exhaust system.
  2. Drain your oil, even if you don’t seen any issue with the viscosity. Replace the oil filter and flush your system, then replace with fresh oil.
  3. Check the camshaft variable timing solenoid. If it’s damaged, replace it.
  4. Check the camshaft oil control valve for the bank 1 intake camshaft to see if it’s damaged or stuck open. If you notice faults or problems, replace the valve.
  5. If none of these fixes clear the code, the issue may be electrical. Take your car to a mechanic for further diagnosis.

Tips To Avoid P0011 In The Future

The best thing you can do to avoid the P0011 trouble code is to change your oil regularly, and check it for problems in between oil changes. Issues with your oil viscosity can cause problems beyond the timing of the camshaft.

You should always use the oil viscosity recommended by the manufacturer. The components of the oil system are designed to a specific size for a specific kind of fluid to flow through them. Oil that is too thick or too thin won’t move through the system the way it’s designed to.

Tim MillerFounderOBD Advisor

I’m Tim Miller from Denver, Colorado. I’m the founder of obdadvisor.com, an automotive blog about "Diagnostic Tools and Auto Repair". My fan page is facebook.com/autozikcom. I've been working as an automotive mechanic and blogger for over 10 years writing articles to share my experiences and expertise.

Web: https://www.obdadvisor.comEmail: [email protected]
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