How to Fix P0016 Code

In order for the engine to run smoothly and efficiently, it has to know the exact rotations of the camshaft and crankshaft. Your engine monitors these rotations by using the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) and camshaft position sensor (CMP).

If your Engine Control Module (ECM) detects that the bank 1 intake camshaft and crankshaft are not functioning optimally, it will certainly trigger the P0016 code.

What Does Engine Code P0016 Mean?

When a P0016 OBD-II generic code is triggered, it alerts the driver that the camshaft position sensor (CMP) for bank 1, which detects camshaft rotation, is not corresponding to the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) signal.

The CMP relays the information to the vehicle’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The PCM uses that data to control the fuel injectors for ignition timing to keep cylinders firing efficiently.

The CKP relays crankshaft position and engine RPM to the PCM, and the data is used by the PCM to control ignition timing and fuel injection.

Unfortunately, when the signal from either the CMP or CKP sensors is incorrect or defective, the PCM simply can’t efficiently manage engine timing leading to start-up problems and idling issues.

In most vehicle applications, the camshaft position sensor is located near the cylinder head so that the CMP is opposite the timing rotor attached to the engine camshaft.

While the CKP sensor can be installed on the fuel pump, the flexplate/flywheel, or the crankshaft pulley (which is the harmonic balancer).

What Causes P0016 Code?

Although there are a variety of factors that can trigger a P0016 code, you might want to keep an eye on these common causes:

  • Stretched or damaged timing chain or timing belt
  • Damaged camshaft or crankshaft reluctor wheel
  • Bad crankshaft sensor
  • Bad camshaft sensor
  • Damaged wiring or loose connections
  • Damaged timing chain/belt.
  • Defective variable valve timing (VVT) actuator 
  • Faulty variable valve timing (VVT) solenoid (oil control valve)
  • A problem with the PCM, such as software in need of an update
  • Low oil level

P0016 Code Symptoms

As with other OBD-II trouble codes involving your engine, the check engine light will switch on to warn you about the problem. Other signs of a code P0016 include:

  • The engine cranks up but doesn’t start.
  • Engine experiences rough start-ups, even though it runs afterward.
  • The engine runs poorly despite starting up.
  • Rattling sounds from the engine.

What are the Effects of the P0016 Code?

  • Your engine might begin to stall or hesitate, coupled with a hard start.
  • The timing chain may have problems with tensioners or guides and can lead to major engine damage if the valves hit the pistons.
  • Driving your vehicle for a long time with faulty camshafts can cause internal engine problems, and can eventually damage your entire engine system.

How Can You Diagnosis the P0016 Code?

Step 1

To check for error codes, you must first properly connect your OBD-II scanner.

You can check your scanner’s manual on how to do that. It’s a pretty simple process.

Now once you’ve connected your scanner, carry out a full scan on your engine. If there’s a problem with the camshaft position sensor, you should get the P0016 code displayed on the screen.

Step 2

Read the freeze-frame data, paying special attention to the pattern codes of the camshaft and crankshaft being displayed. Take note of the conditions that occur simultaneously with the CPM/CPK codes.

Next, clear the codes and test drive your vehicle. If the P00016 code pops up again, keep following the troubleshooting steps.

Can’t find a pattern to the CPM/CKM readings? Check the redactor ring for slipping by checking the alignment. Make sure it’s not loose or damaged, and repair or replace the ring as needed.

Step 3

Time to inspect the wiring around the CPM and CKM sensors. Replace the frayed or damaged wire and clean or replace the connectors.

After you verify the wiring kit is in good shape, check out the timing belt/chain and all associated components for wear and tear. Pay attention to your timing chain’s alignment and check for skipped/missing teeth, then repair as needed.

Make a visual inspection of the CPM and CKM for damage. Clean any obstructions with a mass air flow sensor cleaner. Also, it never hurts to check if they are installed correctly.

Step 4

Next, test the camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor wiring. Unplug the sensor you’re testing, and then turn your ignition in accessory mode.

Touch the ground with the black lead (like a negative battery terminal) and touch the positive lead to the disconnected sensor leads one at a time. One of the wires should read 1.5 volts if everything is working properly.

Any other voltage reading means the sensor is not receiving the necessary voltage. A bad voltage reading means the wiring harness needs to be repaired.

Step 5

After you do a DC ground check, leave the wires disconnected and switch the multimeter to AC voltage. Connect meter leads to the pins on the CPM and ask an assistant to crank the engine while you watch the read-out. The voltage should pulse on the meter display, but if it doesn’t, the sensor is faulty. Repeat this process for the CKM.

Step 6

Finally, compare the viscosity of your motor oil with the recommended specifications. If you’re not using the correct oil, carry-out oil and filter change. Ensure you use the recommended oil.

How Much Does It Cost To Resolve The P0016 Code?

Depending on the root of the problem, fixing a P0016 code costs might differ significantly. For example, if the problem is coming from a bad timing chain, repair costs can range from $600 to $1200.

On the other hand, if the issue has to do with the reluctor ring, expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $600. Finally, if the only issue you’re dealing with can be resolved with a simple oil change, all you must pay is somewhere between $20 and $60.

Final Thoughts

It’s important for you as a driver to keep an eye on any error code associated with the check engine light. Some codes might be simple, and others can be linked to major internal issues.

The P0016 code is one of those error codes you must take care of immediately because your vehicle might not be drivable.

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