P0011: “A” Camshaft Position – Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance (Bank 1)

Your check engine light is on, so you break out your code scanner. The result is diagnostic trouble code P0011. What does the code P0011 mean? How can you fix it? Read on to find information about this code, its causes and solutions.


What Does the Code P0011 Mean?

This is a generic trouble code, meaning it can appear on any vehicle equipped with an OBD-II system. However, it is related to the variable valve timing or variable camshaft timing components. Therefore, it can only appear in cars equipped with these systems. Makes that use such systems include Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Audi, Acura and others.

Variable valve timing and variable camshaft timing technologies are methods of making an engine perform differently under certain circumstances. For example, VVT changes the fuel-air mixture in the engine by opening the cylinder valves for variable amounts of time. This can result in more fuel efficiency or more power as needed.

While problems with these systems can set several different codes, P0011 refers to the “A” camshaft in bank one. The “A” camshaft is the intake camshaft on the left or front of the bank from the perspective of the driver. Bank one is the bank of cylinders that contains cylinder one. This code indicated that the camshaft timing is above the threshold, also called being over-advanced.

What Are the Symptoms of Code P0011?

Like other timing issues, an over-advanced camshaft can cause the engine to run rough. Specifically, it will have trouble starting, poor idling, and will be more likely to stall. As mentioned, these symptoms can be shared by other codes such as P0014, the equivalent code for the “B” camshaft. The best way to identify the problem is with an OBD-II scanner.

What Are the Causes of Code P0011?

The OBD-II scanner error code P0011 problem can be caused by a few different mechanical issues. These are the most likely causes:

  • The camshaft timing is off
  • The valve control solenoid is stuck open
  • The valve control solenoid system has faulty or damaged wiring
  • The oil is too viscous and flow to and from the camshaft’s phasers is restrictive

More rarely, the code can also be set by a faulty PCM or ECM. However, this would not typically have the same mechanical symptoms as a genuine fault.

How Do I Fix Trouble Code P0011?

1. Visually Inspect the System

Start with a visual inspection of the connector, wiring, and valve. Repair or replace any damaged components such as the valve control solenoid being stuck open.

2. Check Your Oil

Check the condition of the engine oil. If it is too low or overly viscous, change your oil.

3. Rescan the Codes

Scan your codes again and capture the freeze frame data. Following this, clear your codes and run the engine. Watch to see if the code returns or if the symptoms continue.

If the problem is not yet fixed, follow the vehicle-specific pinpoint test for code P0011. You can find instructions for this in your vehicle’s service manual. These steps should help you find the root of the problem with the VCT. These steps depend greatly on the manufacturer; so, make sure to have the correct instructions for your make and model.

Keep in mind that the problem may be with your PCM or ECM. If faulty, these will need to be replaced. As this can be expensive, consider having a professional troubleshoot the code first.

Although the service manual and other diagnostic steps should help you to find the problem, you may require advanced tools to pinpoint the problem. Consider bringing your vehicle to a dealer service center. They have the tools necessary for diagnosing issues such as P0011 in your make and model. Other mechanics may not have the right proprietary diagnostic tools.

If the job is too big for you, seek out one of our Preferred Shops to help you do the job.

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