What Is Engine Code P0442?

  • P0442 Technical Definition: P0442 Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (Small Leak)
  • P0442 Meaning: A possible fuel vapor leak
  • Most common cause: A faulty of badly fitted gas cap
  • Risks for the engine/driver: LOW You should get it checked out ASAP as fuel vapors can be dangerous in inhaled
  • Emissions severity: HIGH. The car probably won’t pass emissions testing
  • Estimated repair time: 1 Day
  • Estimated repair cost: $100+

The engine code P0442 is stored in memory when the ECU detects a leak in the Evaporative Emission System (EVAP).

The EVAP is an integral part of the emissions control system, its role is preventing fuel fumes from reaching the atmosphere. These gases are the normal result of fuel evaporating inside the tank. The EVAP system consists of a sealed container (fuel tank) that works in conjunction with one or more charcoal canisters that purge the gases back to the engine when the ECU consider it appropriate.

Besides controlling the EVAP purge and vent solenoids the Electronic Control Unit has a dedicated fuel tank pressure sensor (FTP sensor) and in some vehicles a leak detection pump.

The FTP sensor is constantly informing the ECU about the fuel vapor pressure in the tank but also is a key component during the occasional leak tests performed by the Electronic Control Unit. 

The OBD2 code P0442 is set when the ECU detects a small leak in the EVAP system during these tests.

2 Common Symptoms When Code P0442 is Present

  1. Check Engine Light lit.
  2. Gasoline smell coming from the vehicle

Possible Causes For Error Code P0442

The most common causes of data trouble code P0442 are:

  • Aftermarket gas cap that doesn’t meet OEM specifications.
  • Improperly closed gasoline cap.
  • Faulty gas cap.
  • Burnt, damaged, broken or deteriorated EVAP hose.
  • Defective leak detection pump
  • Defective fuel tank seal.
  • Defective EVAP canister.

How To Diagnose The Engine Code P0442

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

> Gas Cap inspection: perform a meticulous visual inspection of the gasoline cap. Check its seal condition. Change as needed. Double check the part number and pressure specifications. Modern gas caps have similar specifications than radiator caps, using the incorrect part can bring the same issue.

> EVAP hoses: perform a meticulous visual inspection of all Evaporative Emission system hoses. These hoses come from the fuel tank all the way through the EVAP canisters and then from the canister they go to the intake manifold. Check for loose clamps, deteriorated hoses, etc. Don’t overlook this step. Many times the code P0442 is caused by a large leak in one of these hoses.

Fix any wiring problem before continuing.

3. Scan Tool Tests

> EVAP solenoids functional test: start the engine to enter KOER mode. Depending on the year and maker of your vehicle you may have access to EVAP functional tests. The functional test consists in opening/closing the EVAP purge. If the solenoids are not working then you should check the wiring, connector, relay, and fuse.

> EVAP leak detection pump functional test: start the engine to enter KOER mode. Depending on the year and maker of your vehicle you may have access to EVAP functional tests. This functional test consists of operating the EVAP leak detection pump. If the pump is not working then you should check the wiring, connector, relay, and fuse. Replace as necessary.

How To Repair Error Code P0442

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

  • Replacing the fuel cap.
  • Replacing the fuel tank seal.
  • Replacing or repairing the EVAP hoses.
  • Replacing the EVAP leak detection pump
  • Replacing or repairing the purge solenoids, relay or fuse.