P0013 Code – Meaning, Symptoms, Causes, and Fixes

Engine codes, also referred to as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), serve as a communication method used by the vehicle’s main computer to alert the driver about issues within the engine. Among these codes, the P0013 code is one of the most famous codes.

P0013 Code

In modern engines, variable valve timing (VVT) is used to optimize the timing of the opening and closing of the engine’s intake and exhaust valves. This dynamic mechanism serves to optimize fuel economy, enhance performance, or achieve a harmonious blend of both advantages.

The engine control module (ECM) of your car constantly monitors the performance of the VVT. Whenever it detects an issue with the exhaust VVT or oil control valve, it triggers the P0013 code. This article explains the P0013 code meaning, causes, symptoms, and fixes.

P0013 Code Definition

The P0013 code stands for “Exhaust “B” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit/Open (Bank 1),” or “B Camshaft Position – Open or Short in Oil Control Valve (OCV) (Bank 1).”

What Does P0013 Code Mean?

The P0013 code indicates that the engine control module (ECM) of the vehicle monitors an open circuit or short circuit within the bank 1 exhaust camshaft Oil Control Valve.

p0013 exhaust camshaft position actuator circuit open

Variable valve timing (VVT) is a dynamic timing adjustment mechanism that enables the camshaft of your vehicle’s engine to automatically adjust its position while operating, optimizing its setting as needed. This mechanism improves fuel management and the overall performance of your engine.

In contrast to traditional engines where valve timing remains fixed, engines equipped with a VVT system possess the ability to modify the camshaft’s position. This adjustment subsequently alters valve timing, leading to increased performance, heightened fuel economy, or a synergistic combination of both benefits.

The VVT system of your vehicle mainly contains components such as variable valve timing solenoids and camshaft actuators (phasers). The VVT solenoid is also known as the oil control valve, which is used to regulate the flow of oil to the actuator, thereby facilitating the advancement or retardation of the camshaft’s timing.

The ECM of your car regulates the working of the VVT solenoid. In the event of detecting an anomaly with the solenoid or its associated circuitry, the ECM prompts triggers the P0013 code.

Causes of the P0013 Code

The P0013 code can be triggered due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Bad ECM
  • Low oil levels
  • Dirty oil
  • Clogged oil filters
  • Bad VVT solenoid
  • Bad actuator solenoid
  • Stuck or shortened actuator solenoid
  • Clogged camshaft phasers
  • Damaged wiring connected to the Bank 1 exhaust camshaft oil control valve

Symptoms of P0013 Code

Read More: Bad Oil Control Valve Symptoms and Causes

How to Diagnose the P0013 Code

Follow the following steps to diagnose the P0013 code:

  1. Check for Other Codes: Use an OBD-II scanner to find the P0013 and other trouble codes stored in the ECM memory. Use the data to find the main issues. It is compulsory to fix other related codes before addressing the P0013.
  2. Check Oil Level: Properly check the oil quality and level. If the engine oil looks dirty, you need to change it as soon as possible. If oil is insufficient, add more.   
  3. Inspect Wiring and Connectors: Properly check the connectors, wires, and other electrical parts connected to the VVT system and the camshaft position actuator solenoid.
  4. Check Oil Pressure: Test the oil pressure flowing through the camshaft phaser. Calculate the oil pressure at different engine rpms by using the best suitable tool.
  5. Check Camshaft Position Sensor: Inspect the camshaft position sensor for damage. You may also use a multimeter to check the camshaft position sensor resistance.
  6. Test the Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid: Check the performance of the camshaft position actuator solenoid by using a multimeter. You should consult your car’s service manual for proper testing procedures.
  7. Inspect Timing Belt: It’s time to visually examine the timing belt for damage or wear and tear.
  8. Inspect ECM: Perform a visual inspection of the engine control module (ECM) for damage. If it is physically fit, check its software.
  9. Inspect Camshaft Phasers: A camshaft phaser plays a vital role to adjust the camshaft timing. Therefore, it’s important to check the camshaft-phasers while diagnosing the P0013 code.
  10. Clear Codes: When you have done all the repairs, use the OBD-II scanner to clear the codes and take the vehicle for a test drive.

Code P0013 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

  • Not following the carmaker’s diagnostic guidance.
  • Failing to check the alignment of the timing chain or belt before replacing the VVT system or other main parts
  • Skipping a thorough check to find the real problems before changing parts.
  • Swapping out sensors and parts without properly checking the vehicle first.
  • Forgetting to check and clear the code after fixing it before doing more work.
  • Not rescanning the system and clearing the codes after addressing necessary issues

How serious is the P0013 trouble code?

The DTC P0013 is a serious code. Neglecting to address a P0013 code promptly can result in significant and irreversible harm to your engine. This code indicates improper functioning of your vehicle’s timing, potentially causing misfires and a cascade of other performance-related problems.

Although you might be able to continue driving with a P0013 code for a brief period, it’s advisable to rectify the issue at the earliest opportunity. If repairs are unavoidable, minimizing your driving is recommended.

Delaying repairs only exacerbates the problem, escalating the risk of severe engine damage. The longer the delay, the greater the likelihood of critical issues arising within your engine.

Is it safe to drive with the P0013 code?

Vehicles displaying P0013 trouble codes are generally drivable, but it’s crucial to address the problem promptly to avert permanent, severe, and lasting damage to the engine. Continuing to drive with a short circuit can even endanger the ECM itself.

What repairs can fix the P0013 Code?

You need to repair or replace one of the below-given parts to P0013 code:

  • Clears the codes and drives the vehicle for a short distance
  • Change the engine oil if needed 
  • If the engine oil level is low, add more oil
  • Repair the damaged electrical wires and connections
  • Replace the faulty camshaft position sensor
  • Replace the faulty oil control valve
  • Replace the damaged timing belt
  • Clean or replace the clogged oil filters
  • Replace the faulty camshaft phasers

How to prevent P0013 Code from triggering?

To prevent the P0013 code, you need to ensure the following things:

  • Ensure regular oil change
  • Ensure proper maintenance of your engine
  • Always check the oil level before driving
  • Always use good quality oil recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer
  • When oil starts to leak, fix it promptly
  • Avoid ignoring early signs of P0013 code
  • Ensure the proper cleaning of the VVT system
  • Avoid aggressive driving, which may damage the camshaft and VVT system

How much does it cost to fix P0013 Code?

The fixing or repair cost of P0013 trouble code according to the relevant part repair cost is given below:

Oil filter replacement$40 to $80
Oil control valve replacement$140 to $480
Oil pump replacement$180 to $1,600
Timing belt replacement$900 to $5000
Intake valve timing solenoid replacement$280 to $580

FAQ Section

What is the code P0013 on a Toyota Avalon?

The P0013 trouble code indicates a potential problem with the camshaft sensor or actuator solenoid in Bank 1 variable valve timing (VVT) system. Further assessment is necessary to determine whether the issue lies with the solenoid or the sensor, necessitating potential replacement.  

Can I drive with P0013 Code?

Yes, it’s possible to drive temporarily with a P0013 trouble code, but driving for a long distance is not recommended. It is highly advisable to address and rectify the issue at your earliest convenience. Neglecting this concern could result in significant and irreversible damage to your engine. It’s important to note that driving with a short circuit may also have detrimental effects on the ECM.

Can low oil cause Code P0013?

Yes, low oil pressure or low oil level is one of the frequent causes of the P0013 code. It’s recommended to start by inspecting the oil gauge using the oil dipstick as soon as you observe symptoms associated with P0013.

What is the function of the oil control valve?

The oil control valve is a part of the engine that is used to regulate the oil flow to the camshaft.

What symptoms might I experience with a P0013 code?

The P0013 code may produce different symptoms, such as check engine light, decreased fuel efficiency, engine stalling, rough idle, and poor engine performance.

What should I do if I get a P0013 code?

When your vehicle triggers the trouble code P0013, it is recommended to stop your car at the nearest repair shop and ask the mechanic to fix the underlying issue.

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