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P0016 Code: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnostics, and Fixes

The P0016 code triggers when there’s a problem with your engine’s timing. Specifically, it tells you the camshaft and crankshaft aren’t lining up correctly. Engine timing issues can cause significant damage, so this is one code you want to take seriously when you see it.

There are a few systems that can lead to the P0016 OBD2 code. We’ll go into more detail about what this code means and how to diagnose it below. 

When there's a difference between the crankshaft and camshaft timing, the P0016 code is triggered
The P0016 code triggers when the camshaft and crankshaft aren’t lining up correctly

P0016 Code Definition

P0016 Code Definition (Generic): Crankshaft position – camshaft position correlation (bank 1 sensor A)

P0016 Ford Code Definition: Crankshaft position camshaft position correlation bank 1 sensor “A”

P0016 Hyundai Code Definition: Crankshaft position-camshaft position correction-bank 1 sensor “A”

P0016 VW Code Definition: Crankshaft position camshaft position correlation bank 1 sensor “A”

What Does P0016 Mean?

The timing of the various components of your engine is controlled by the engine control module (ECM). It uses a series of sensors to determine when to make adjustments, and ensure that all systems are operating in sync. 

The crankshaft sensor sends the ECM information about the crankshaft’s position. This information determines when the engine fires the spark plugs to maintain consistent power and speed. The camshaft sensor sends similar information regarding the position of the camshaft. 

If either of these sensors are operating outside normal parameters, the ECM will trigger the P0016 trouble code. It will also trigger if the position of the crankshaft and camshaft don’t correlate. 

Both of these sensors operate by passing a redactor ring over a magnetic sensor. The generated voltage indicate the position of the corresponding shaft. Connecting the two shafts is a timing belt or timing chain. Problems in any of these systems can lead to the activation of P0016.

What Are The Symptoms Of The P0016 Code?

You will likely notice drivability issues when P0016 is triggered. The severity of the symptoms depends on which system is causing the failure. Possible symptoms include:

  • Activation of the check engine light
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Rough engine, especially when idling
  • Stalls and hesitations from the engine
  • Reduced power or performance from the engine
  • Hard starts or failure to start
  • Rattling near harmonic balancer

What Are The Causes Of P0016?

  • Faulty camshaft sensor or crankshaft sensor
  • Damaged or faulty wiring around camshaft sensor or crankshaft sensor
  • Camshaft phaser out of position
  • Faulty timing chain/belt
  • Timing chain/belt is misaligned or has skipped a tooth
  • Mechanical failures in timing system (stretched chain/belt, damaged tensioner, etc.)
  • Faulty redactor ring
  • Incorrect oil viscosity
  • Clogged oil passages or oil control valve (OCV)
Damaged tensioner can be a cause of the P0016 code
Mechanical failures in timing system like damaged tensioner can lead to the P0016 code

How Serious Is The P0016 Code?

The P0016 OBD2 code is of moderate to high severity, depending on the level of the drivability symptoms. While there is no danger to the driver, timing issues can lead to misfires. You should repair your vehicle as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

How To Diagnose The P0016 Code

Tools You’ll Need:

The P0016 code can be diagnosed with an OBD2 scan tool
An OBD2 scan tool can be used to diagnose the P0016 code

Method:

  1.  Scan your system for other trouble codes. These may help indicate the specific system that is causing the failure. Diagnose and repair any codes related to the camshaft, crankshaft, or engine timing.
  2. Read the freeze frame data, as well as the patterns of the camshaft and crankshaft. Identify the conditions in which the code initially occurred, then clear the codes and test drive your vehicle. If the code comes back, continue with your diagnosis.
  3. If there is no pattern to the camshaft or crankshaft readings, the redactor ring is likely slipping. Inspect the alignment and make sure it’s not loose or damaged. Repair or replace as necessary.
  4. Inspect the wiring around the camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor. Replace any that are frayed or damaged, and ensure all connections are secure.
  5. Check the timing belt and associated components for mechanical wear or failure. If the chain is mis-aligned or has skipped a tooth, repair the issue.
  6. Visually inspect the camshaft and crankshaft sensor for damage. If they are dirty, clean them with mass air flow sensor cleaner. Also verify they’re installed and connected correctly.
  7. Use a digital multimeter to test the camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor wiring. Start by unplugging the sensor you’re testing. Next, turn your ignition on without starting the engine. Touch the black lead of the multimeter to a ground, such as the negative battery terminal, and touch the positive lead to each disconnected sensor wire. One of the wires should register 1.5 volts. If none do, the sensor is not receiving the correct voltage and the wiring harness needs to be repaired.
  8. While the sensors are disconnected, switch the multimeter to AC voltage. Connect the leads to the pins of the camshaft sensor. Have an assistant crank the engine while you watch the read-out. The voltage should pulse. If it doesn’t, the sensor is faulty. Repeat this process for the crankshaft sensor.
  9. Compare the viscosity of your oil with the recommended specifications in your vehicle’s manual. If they don’t match, drain the oil and replace your oil filter. Refill your oil reservoir with the correct oil for your vehicle.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Diagnosing The P0016 Code

Many people replace the camshaft sensor without checking for other issues. The timing system, crankshaft sensor, and wiring are just as likely to be the source of the problem. Don’t replace any components until you’ve completed a full diagnosis.

What Should You Do To Fix The Code P0016?

  1. Replace any damaged wires or faulty components found during your diagnosis, then clear the codes and take a test drive. If P0016 comes back, continue with step 2.
  2. Check if the timing chain has slipped alignment, even if you fixed it during your diagnosis. The timing chain may be stretched. Replace both the timing chain and the timing guides, then check if the code recurs.
  3. Replace the camshaft sensor, even if it passed the multimeter test. Vibration and heat can cause intermittent issues in the camshaft sensor that may not come up in diagnosis.
  4. Replace the oil control valve for the bank 1 camshaft.
How to fix the P0016 trouble code

Tips To Avoid P0016 In The Future

Excessive heat and vibration are the enemy of many engine components, including the sensors and timing belt or timing chain. Avoid parking your car in direct sunlight, especially when the temperature outside is over 90°F.

Basic preventative maintenance can also stave off this trouble code. Check your system’s wires for issues whenever you change the oil, and always make sure you use the oil viscosity recommended for your vehicle.

Read more: How to Test Your O2 Sensor With an OBD2 Scan Tool

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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