Engine Troubleshoot

P0010 “A” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)

P0010
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Written by The Motor Guy

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What Does Engine Code P0010 Mean?

  • P0010 Technical Definition: "A" Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)
  • P0010 Meaning: "A" Intake Camshaft Position Sensor is causing problems
  • Most common cause: A bad actuator or low oil pressure
  • Risks for the engine/driver: HIGH Don't drive the car as you may damage engine components
  • Emissions severity: HIGH. The car won’t pass emissions testing
  • Estimated repair time: 1-3 days
  • Estimated repair cost: $200+

The OBD2 engine code P0010 is stored in memory when the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) detects a problem with the camshaft position actuator. The letter “A” points out to the intake cam while bank 1 indicates that the problem is in the bank of cylinders containing cylinder #1.

Vehicles equipped with variable valve timing (VVT) use a special solenoid called a Camshaft Position Actuator. This solenoid is capable of regulating the oil pressure thus controlling the cam timing. The ECU uses this actuator for advancing or retarding cam timing depending on a myriad of factors. The VVT electrical circuitry is been constantly monitored by the ECU, hence any open or short circuit will be immediately noticed.

The P0010 code is set when the ECU detects a low voltage in the VVT circuit corresponding to the bank 1 intake cam.


7 Common Symptoms When Code P0010 is Present

The most common symptoms of data trouble code P0010are:

  1. Check Engine Light (CEL) lit.
  2. Difficulty during engine start, in few cases even a no start condition.
  3. Poor fuel economy.
  4. Decreased engine performance.
  5. Rough idle.
  6. Gas smell from the exhaust pipe.
  7. Engine misfires.

Possible Causes For Error Code P0010

The most common causes of engine code P0010 are:

  • Low engine oil pressure. 
  • Faulty Camshaft Position Actuator
  • Obstructed oil passage.
  • Camshaft Position Actuator wiring (open, shorted, burnt) 
  • Camshaft Position Actuator connector (loosely, corroded, disconnected or bent pins)

How To Diagnose The Engine Code P0010

For the purpose of this article, it’s assumed that you have a basic knowledge of safety precautions while working on your vehicle.

Always refer to the appropriate OEM literature when possible. Original manufacturer diagnostic procedures should always have precedence over a generic workflow.

That said, let’s start the diagnostic process!

1. Preliminary steps

To discard a possible intermittent DTC condition, you’ll need to clear the ECU memory and complete a driving cycle.

  • Read data trouble codes and take note of them.
  • Clear data trouble codes memory.
  • Perform a driving cycle (at least 5-10 minutes).

In case the Check Engine Light stays off then you may have an intermittent problem. If the light lit during your driving cycle then continue with the diagnostic process.

2. Visual Inspection

> Camshaft Position Actuator wiring and connector: perform a meticulous visual inspection of the Camshaft Position Actuator wiring and connectors. Look for burnt, damaged, corroded or deteriorated wires, also unplug the actuator and look for bent terminal pins, loosely connections, corrosion or any other possible indication of a bad connection.

> Oil Pressure check: using the appropriate oil gauge check the engine oil pressure. Complete the oil if necessary, perform a more complete oil pressure test if the problem persists.

Fix any wiring problem before continuing.

3. Electrical Tests

> Camshaft Position Actuator electrical tests: using the appropriate OEM literature, check the ground, sensor signal, and the supply voltage of the Camshaft Position Actuator. Repair the circuits as necessary.

4. Scan Tool Tests

> Camshaft Position Actuator operational test: depending on your car make and year you may be able to perform a VVT functional test. Some of this test are automatic, some are manual. On manual tests, you can control the VVT timing and verify solenoids operation in real time. A word of caution though. VVT tests are rarely conclusive, always perform OEM diagnostic procedures when possible.


How To Repair Error Code P0010

Depending on the diagnostics results you may need to do the following:

  • Complete/change engine oil.
  • Replacing the Camshaft Position Actuator