How to fix a P0021 Code

Gain knowledge of what the P0021 OBD code is all about. What does this type of case mean, the causes, and symptoms, and how you can handle this issue yourself?

There are a lot of moving parts in your vehicle’s engine, it’s not surprising that issues can spring up with time. Whenever your engine check light gets lit, and your scanner reads the P0021 code, you have to know the right approach to take.

In this guide, we are going to review the definition and causes that result in the P0021 code. You will also get to know the symptoms you are likely to experience and reveal tips on how to solve them.

What is the meaning of the P0021 code?

P0021 is known as a generic trouble code that displays when your ECM (Engine Control Module) notices that the bank II intake camshaft is now more advanced than what is indicated by the parameters.

With an advanced condition, the timing of the camshaft has moved more than its estimated point.

This code means the same for most vehicles, except Nissan. If you notice this code on a Nissan vehicle, then it means it has to do with the performance of the Camshaft Variable Timing Control, Bank 2. Although just as with other vehicles, the causes are still similar.

Symptoms of P0021 Code

The commonest symptom of the P0021 code is the Check Engine Light that illuminates anytime you are having an issue with the engine. It also has to do with performance issues, here are the symptoms associated with the P0021 trouble code.

  • Stalling engine
  • Rough idle
  • Check engine light
  • Excess engine emissions
  • Poor fuel economy

The symptoms which you might be observing depend majorly on the actual position of the camshaft timing as opposed to where it ought to be.

What are the causes of the P0021 code?

There isn’t just one cause of the P0021 error code, several factors are responsible for this trouble code. This increases the relevance of performing a full scan on your vehicle before you can actually pinpoint the exact one.

Here are some of the possible factors that you need to know.

  • Inaccurate camshaft timing
  • Contaminated engine oil
  • Bad timing valve control solenoid
  • Faulty camshaft oil control valve
  • Poor camshaft position sensor
  • Wiring problem

How dangerous is the P0021 Code?

You might not observe any issue at the initial stage when this trouble code begins to show.

Nevertheless, if you have a major problem with the timing belt or chain, then we are looking at a big problem on our hands; the engine will be at a high risk of being completely damaged.

If your engine keeps stalling each time you want to start your car, you could be involved in an accident. On the lowest scale of things, you will be consuming more fuel than usual and more carbon emissions.

What are the Repairs that Can Fix the P0021 Code?

The right approach to begin the fixing process depends on what you were able to discover during the diagnosis.

We will show a few effective methods that would save your engine and keep your vehicle on the road.

  • Change the timing valve control solenoid
  • Carryout the engine filter and oil change
  • Repair the wiring problems or harness
  • Replace your camshaft oil control valve
  • Change the camshaft position sensor
  • Replace or repair the tensioner, timing belt or chain

Common Mistakes with P0021 Diagnosis

You have so many mechanical components to scrutinize for this diagnosis, there are some professionals who will begin by inspecting the oil. Contaminated or bad oil can be the root cause of this problem.

If you have performed an oil change, it will save you a lot of money if you do this yourself. You should always inspect that area first when you are dealing with the P0021.

How You Can Diagnose the P0021 Code

You do not have to be a mechanic to be able to do this, so relax. It is a straightforward process, which almost all drivers should be able to perform.

With these steps, you will troubleshoot this problem just like a professional. When you heed these steps, figuring out the exact cause becomes easy.

Step 1

After the complete scan is done, ensure you take note of all the error codes you might see on the scanner. Using the freeze frame data is another good way to streamline the problems.

Step 2

Thoroughly check the state of your engine oil. If your oil is at a low gauge, then you need to pour in the right oil to the level of specification, If you have dirty oil, the only way out is to perform an oil change on your system.

Step 3

You have to check the camshaft oil control valve on Bank 2. You can do this by taking out your valve and sending power to the solenoid using fused jumper wires.

Note that you have to supply a ground connection. Do not do this for too long, if it is functioning, it will give a sign. If no sign is given, then the oil control valve needs to be replaced.

Step 4

Inspect your camshaft timing, if the timing is off, then you must conduct a diagnostic procedure on the timing chain and belt.

Step 5

Check your electric wiring, and harness if possible. If your wires are damaged, you also have to get them changed with the right ones.

For further information on this, you can go to your vehicle’s repair manual which would also help you out. If you can’t find anything not mentioned here, you have to contact a professional mechanic.

P0021 Code Repair Cost

When you are done with the diagnosis, you are aware of what needs fixing.

Now you wonder how much it will cost you to get the job done. We will provide you with some fixes and repair costs, including the labor fee to help you plan with the right budget.

Doing repairs yourself is always cheaper.

  • New camshaft oil control valve: $120 – $350
  • Fixing wiring issues: $50 – $550
  • Change camshaft position sensor: $50 – $220
  • Engine oil and filter change: $50 – $160
  • Repair camshaft chain or belt: $1000 – $5000

Final Thoughts

Once you are able to detect and handle an issue early enough, it has more advantages than you think.

Know that once your engine oil is changed, and you still have some issues with the performance of your engine then it is possible that there is permanent engine damage.

You have to go for a closer inspection by a professional mechanic.

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