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Trouble Code P0320: Ignition/Distributor Engine Speed Input Circuit

When error code P0320 appears and your malfunction indicator light is on, you need to understand the common symptoms and answer the question, how do I fix trouble code P0320? Here is a basic guide to this generic trouble code.

What Does Error Code P0320 Mean?

This trouble code is alerted when there is an electrical circuit fault in the sensors for your crankshaft and camshaft. The crankshaft position sensor, or CKP, and your camshaft position sensor, or CMP, are both used to carefully monitor the relative position of these two components.

A timing belt or chain ensures your ignition spark and fuel injection are timed properly by keeping a consistent timing between your crankshaft and camshaft. Both the CKP and CMP sensors are used to ensure the timing is accurate. If your powertrain control module receives an incorrect reading or no reading at all from either of these sensors, it triggers trouble code P0320.

Common Symptoms

Because OBD-II scanner error code P0320 problem is considered a fault in the electrical circuit, there may not be many performance issues. You’ll simply see the malfunction indicator light and your OBD-II scanner will read code P0320. However, a fault in either the CKP or CMP could prevent your engine from starting. An electrical fault could still cause your engine to crank without starting or misfire, stumble, hesitate or otherwise have reduced power.

Typical Causes

The exact cause varies depending on the make and model of your vehicle. While many vehicles share similar CKP and CMP sensor designs, the exact wiring, location and sensor may vary.

Most often, the cause is an open in the ground circuit between your powertrain control module and your ignition/engine speed sensor/distributor, CMP sensor or CKP sensor. There may also be an open in the power supply of any of these circuits.

Another common cause is a fault in a sensor. You’ll need to inspect each sensor to ensure that the internal wiring is working correctly. Finally, the least likely cause is a faulty powertrain control module. While rare, this could be the cause of this and other error codes.

Repair Solutions

Because of the wide range of possible causes that are dependant on your make and model of vehicle, start with any technical service bulletins related to your vehicle. These bulletins offer essential troubleshooting advice for common issues related to your exact trouble code and vehicle make/model.

After following those instructions, find your ignition/distributor/engine speed sensor. For many vehicles, this may be the CKP or CMP sensor, but for others it may be a separate coil inside the distributor.

As with all electrical faults, you’ll also need to carefully inspect the entire length of wiring related to this issue. Both the ground fault circuit and the power supply circuit of the relevant sensors could have a frayed, broken or burnt spot. These spots need to be replaced in order to function correctly and remove error code P0320. A similar issue is water damage. A wire harness may have a small leak, which allows moisture to enter the harness. Water is an excellent conductor and easily creates a short in the circuit.


If you can’t find any wire damage, check all connections. Look for corrosion, loose wires or cracked connectors and replace as necessary. Finally, the sensors themselves may have an internal short. Visually inspect the CKP and CMP sensors, as well as any other ignition sensors, and test the voltage to ensure they’re working effectively.  Use a volt ohm meter to test the sensors. Check with your service manual, as each sensor has a different reading. Now you can answer, what does the code P0320 mean? Once you find a fault, check your work by clearing the code and starting your engine to look for any recurring codes.

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