What does the P0010 OBD-II code mean?

The P0010 diagnostic trouble code is associated with vehicles equipped with VVT or Variable Valve Timing. Most VVT systems are triggered by the oil control valve (OCV), also called a solenoid valve. The P0010 code is generated when the ECM (engine control module) attempts to adjust the bank 1 intake camshaft timing, usually during higher speeds, by utilising one of these valves and detecting a low voltage circuit in the OCV. 

The OCV is connected directly to the ECM, which, on most vehicles, is found in the engine compartment, under the seats, under the passenger floorboard, or behind the kick panels.

It is common to see additional diagnostic trouble codes with the P0010 code, including P0011, P0012, P0020, P0021, P0022, and possibly more.

How serious is the P0010 code?

A P0010 code is moderately severe. Whilst it will not prevent your vehicle from running, you will experience a decrease in power, an increase in fuel consumption and ultimately, your car will fail a future emissions test.

What are the common symptoms of a P0010 trouble code?

Your vehicle will operate pretty normally, with the following being the most common symptoms of a P0010 code:

  • ‘Check Engine’ light illuminated
  • Poor engine idle
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Decreased engine performance at high RPMs
  • Rattling or knocking from the engine
  • General rough running engine

What are the causes of a P0010 OBD-II code?

  • Faulty VVT control solenoid valve (common)
  • Low engine oil level
  • Oil sludge in the engine (caused by lack of oil changes)
  • Crankshaft or camshaft sensor malfunctions
  • Damaged wiring
  • Engine timing issues 
  • Worn timing components (gears, guides, chains)
  • ECM internal damage or software out of date

How to diagnose a P0010 OBD-II code?

The easiest way to diagnose an OBD-II fault code is to use an OBD-II scanner or book a diagnostic check with a trusted mechanic or garage. They will:

  • Check if there are any technical service bulletins available for your vehicle’s make and model. There may be a known issue for your car that can help resolve the problem.
  • Scan your system for other OBD-II codes.
  • Clear the fault codes and take the car for a test drive while reading the live data on an OBD-II scanner, including the freeze frame data relating to the ECM to help pinpoint the exact issue.
  • Visually inspect bank 1 variable valve timing (VVT) control solenoid valve and check for any damaged or faulty wiring and connectors.
  • Check for any engine sludge that may be present.
  • Undertake a resistance check of the bank 1 intake camshaft VVT control solenoid and compare this to the vehicle service manual to ensure the value is within specification.

How to fix a P0010 OBD-II code?

Initially, the code may be solved easily with a simple computer learned procedure or cleaning the actuator solenoid and an oil system flush. However, if this does not clear the OBD-II trouble code, then:

  • If the bank 1 VVT control solenoid valve is at fault, repair any faulty wiring or connectors.
  • If engine sludge is present, then remove and clean this.
  • If the bank 1 intake camshaft VVT control solenoid resistance is out (as per the vehicle service manual), replace the bank 1 intake VVT control solenoid.

Tips to avoid a P0010 trouble code in future?

This particular OBD-II code can be triggered through a mechanical or electrical problem, but more often than not, it’s activated through a poorly maintained engine. Whilst there isn’t a lot you can do to avoid a mechanical issue, keeping your engine clean and running smoothly will help avoid the fault. Sludge build-up is a common cause, so remembering to change your oil regularly will help prevent this problem from occurring.

About Fixter

Fixter is revolutionising the car maintenance industry, one repair at a time. Fixter was founded to make car maintenance as easy as booking a taxi. Digital, transparent and stress-free, with world-class customer service. Since launching in Manchester in 2017, Fixter has expanded to more than 100 towns and cities across the UK and provided thousands of car owners with honest, convenient and affordable car repair services.