The trouble code P0125 is a generic OBD-II code that will set when the time it takes for the vehicles engine to reach operating temperature is longer than a specified value. While you may not notice any drivability symptoms with the P0125 code, it can cause your car to not enter closed loop operation soon enough, or at all, causing your emissions levels to rise and fail a state emissions test.
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P0125 (Generic): Insufficient Coolant Temperature for Closed Loop Operation
What Does P0125 Mean?
For your vehicle to run as clean and efficiently as possible it is very important for the engine to reach proper operating temperature as soon as possible. The engine coolant temperature sensor monitors the temperature of the coolant in the engine’s cooling system and is a main input to the ECM. Once the ECT senses that the coolant is at a specified temperature, it allows the ECM to operate in “closed loop”. This is where the ECM uses all the inputs from various sensors to modify different engine operating parameters to maximise fuel efficiency, engine power, and emission levels. A P0125 trouble code indicates that the engine is not reaching this temperature.
What Are The Symptoms Of The P0125 Code?
You may not notice any symptoms with a P0125 trouble code other than an illuminated check engine light and a temperature gauge that is reading lower than normal. You may notice a slight drop in fuel mileage, or poor heater performance. If left unresolved, running at too low of an engine temperature for an extended period of time can result in excessive carbon build up.
What Are The Causes Of P0125?
- Faulty Thermostat
- Low Coolant Level
- Defective Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
- Wiring Problem
How Serious Is The P0125 Code?
P0125 is not a very serious trouble code, although it should be repaired as soon as possible. Continuing to operate below operating temperature can cause lower fuel mileage, excess carbon buildup, and higher than normal exhaust emissions.
How To Diagnose And Fix The P0125 Trouble Code
To diagnose code P0125 start with connecting your OBD-II scan tool and recording all trouble codes and freeze frame data. If there are codes relating to the engine coolant temperature sensor diagnose and repair them first. Once you have recorded and cleared trouble codes, check the coolant level. If the coolant level is low, check for and repair any leaks.
If the coolant level is full, start the engine and allow it to warm up. Using an infrared thermometer, compare the actual temperature of the engine with the data PID for ECT on your scan tool. If they match, it is a good indication that the ECT sensor is functioning properly, and associated wiring is intact. If not, visually inspect the wiring harness and connectors for broken, chafed, or corroded wires.
If the ECT sensor and wiring checks out OK, again using your infrared thermometer check the temperature of the different hoses in the cooling and heating systems. If they are all generally the same temperature and the engine has been running for at least 15 minutes, the coolant thermostat is the most likely cause.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Diagnosing The P0125
Some common mistakes to avoid while diagnosing a P0125 code are jumping straight to the thermostat and not following the full diagnostic procedure. And after a coolant leak is repaired or a thermostat replaced, not properly bleeding the cooling system is another common mistake.
Tips To Avoid P0125 In The Future
To help avoid P0125 in the future, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, particularly in regards to coolant flush intervals.