Engine Code p0011 Meaning, Causes, Fixes (3 Steps)

Did you just get a p0011 error code on your car?

Don't worry, you've come to the right place!

In this PopularMechanic article you will learn:

  • What Does The p0011 Code Mean?
  • What Caused The p0011 code?
  • How To Diagnose An p0011 Code?

And much more!

Engine Code p0011 Meaning, Causes, Fixes

Have you currently been tasked with sorting out the cause of your vehicle’s newly acquired check engine light and persistent p0011 trouble code? 

If so, you might find yourself at a loss for where to begin.

While the presence of a p0011 code can seem intimidating to most DIY technicians, it is important to avoid jumping to conclusions relating to the source of your vehicle’s issue.

Instead, let discoveries made during your diagnostic efforts guide your way.

With a cool head, a little bit of confidence, and an afternoon of time spent making necessary repairs, you can leave your troubles in the rearview mirror.

What Does The p0011 Code Mean?

Fault code p0011 means “A” camshaft position timing- over advanced (bank 1). This code pertains only to vehicles with variable valve timing. 

Within these systems, an actuator rotates the engine camshaft to advance or retard camshaft timing.

This effectively manipulates when an engine's valves open and close in relation to when each cylinder reaches the top dead center.

The cam phasing associated with variable valve timing facilitates this process, and assists in maximizing performance, while minimizing emissions.

In most engines, a solenoid is used to direct oil flow during the cam phasing process.

An issue with this solenoid can result in incorrect variable camshaft timing. In the case of fault code p0011, the cam is advanced of where it should be in relation to system demands.

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On-Board Diagnostic systems (OBD and OBD-2) were made standard because of California's strict emission control rules implemented in 1966.

What Caused The p0011 code (Possible Symptoms)?

Several factors can contribute to a p0011 code being set and stored by the ECM (engine control module). By far, the most common is a low oil level or the use of oil with an incorrect viscosity.

Since oil pressure is used to manipulate cam timing and facilitate the cam phasing process, oil-related issues tend to be the root cause of most all p0011 faults.

In fact, this is so common, that standard protocol for such an issue is to change a vehicle’s engine oil, clear the set code, and drive the vehicle to ensure that it does not return

However, in some cases, the screens built into the system’s oil control solenoid can become clogged, or electrical solenoid failure can occur that prevents the solenoid from functioning as it should.

In most cases, to fix timing problems, both of these types of failures require the removal of the oil control solenoid for further inspection or replacement.

Additional driveability concerns can also exist when a p0011 fault code has been set. Some of the most common include hard starting, lack of performance, stalling, poor idling, and excessive fuel consumption.

Check this link for more information on error code p0011.

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How To Diagnose An p0011 Code?

  1. Check For Additional Codes
  2. Change Oil and Oil Filter
  3. Reset Code and Test Drive
  4. Check For Wiring Defects
  5. Use Factory Pinpoint Testing

Step 1: Check For Additional Codes

Before beginning your diagnosis, it is important to check for the presence of additional fault codes. If other codes are found, carefully study how they could potentially play into the problems that you are experiencing.

Determine if they are primary faults or secondary faults that have occurred due to the circumstances surrounding your vehicle’s p0011 error code.

Step 2: Change Oil and  Oil Filter

The easiest way to begin the diagnostic process of your vehicle’s p0011 fault code is to change your car’s engine oil and oil filter.

Make sure that the proper oil is used when filling the system to avoid oil viscosity issues. To determine what oil to use, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Step 3: Reset Code and Test Drive

You will now need to reset your check engine light with the use of a OBD II scan tool, and test drive to see if the fault returns.

It can take several drive cycles to ensure that any issues have been eliminated.

Step 4: Check For Wiring Defects

If fault code p0011 returns, examine any visible wiring to the bank one oil control solenoid.

Note any connector damage or frayed wiring that could interfere with solenoid operation, leaving the camshaft stuck in an advanced position.

Step 5: Use Factory Pinpoint Testing

If the cause of your vehicle’s issue is yet to be uncovered, problems related to the camshaft oil control valve solenoid or camshaft phasers are suspect.

You will need to consult factory service literature to proceed with the model-specific component diagnosis for a malfunction of this nature.

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How Do I Fix An p0011 Code?

  1. Check and Change Oil
  2. Fix Any Wiring Damage
  3. Replace Oil Control Valve

Step 1: Check and Change Oil

The most common fix for a p0011 fault code is to change an engine’s oil and oil filter. Doing so will solve the bulk of p0011 DTC issues, as oil starvation will prevent proper actuation of cam timing.

Step 2: Fix Any Wiring Damage

If any wiring issues are discovered, repairs will be needed. This might include splicing or soldering of damaged wires, or the replacement of connectors that have been broken or do not clasp tightly to their corresponding connector within the circuit.

Step 3: Replace Oil Control Valve

If model-specific testing reveals a defective oil control valve, the replacement will be necessary. Doing so can be somewhat of an extensive repair, often involving the removal of an engine’s valve cover or timing cover. Before taking on such a repair, be sure to have a service manual on hand for reference.

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Handling Cam Timing Faults

As with any fault code, p0011 can have several root causes. By taking your time, and carefully diagnosing the issue at hand, you will be that much closer to having your vehicle back on the road. 

Though the idea of going it on your own when sorting out cam repeated issues might at first seem intimidating, you are rather likely to find a simple issue such as a low oil level, at the root of your issue.

About Your Mechanic

About Josh Boyd

I’ve been an ASE Certified automotive/heavy equipment technician since 2010. I began my career performing basic automotive maintenance at a service center before working as a Toyota technician at my local dealership.

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