P0016 Code Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, and Fixes

The camshaft position sensor and crankshaft position sensor play a vital role in engine performance. The data of these sensors is utilized by the engine control module (ECM) to regulate the ignition timing and fuel ignition rate.

Code P0016

When the camshaft position sensor located at Bank 1 doesn’t cooperate with the crankshaft position sensor, the ECM triggers the P0016 code. Read this article to understand the P0016 code meaning, causes, symptoms, and how to fix it.

P0016 Code Definition

P0016 code stands for “Camshaft Position A – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1).” 

The term “A” refers to the intake camshaft situated on the intake side of the cylinder head, while “Bank 1” pertains to the engine bank containing the first cylinder.

What Does P0016 Code Mean?

The P0016 code indicates that your engine control module (ECM) detects that the Bank 1 intake camshaft and crankshaft are not correlating.

P0016 bank 1 sensor

The coordinated operation of the camshaft and camshaft sensor ensures proper fuel delivery to the engine. Likewise, the crankshaft sensor prompts the ignition system to generate a precise spark at the correct time. The timing belt or chain is used to synchronize these systems.

For optimal engine performance, it’s crucial to monitor the exact positions of the crankshaft and camshaft during their operation. Therefore, the crankshaft position sensor and camshaft position sensor are installed in your engine for this purpose.

The crankshaft sensor measures the crankshaft position, and the camshaft sensor measures the camshaft position. The ECM uses their data to manage ignition timing and fuel injection rate.

 As the ECM identifies a misalignment between the Bank 1 intake crankshaft and camshaft positions, it activates the P0016 trouble code.

Symptoms of P0016 Code

  • Check engine light
  • Your vehicle won’t start at all
  • Rough engine performance
  • Rough idle
  • Engine stalling
  • Poor fuel efficiency
  • Hard to start the engine 
  • Poor acceleration
  • Excessive noise from the timing chain

Causes of P0016 Code

The diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0016 may be triggered due to one or more of the following causes:

  • Damaged timing belt
  • Faulty camshaft position sensor located at Bank 1
  • An issue with the VVT system
  • Faulty crankshaft position sensor located at Bank 1
  • An issue with the camshaft phaser
  • Insufficient engine oil
  • An issue with the electrical system connected to the camshaft position sensor and crankshaft position sensor
  • Dirty engine oil
  • Damaged timing chain tensioner
  • ECM needs to update

How to diagnose the P0016 Code?

To diagnose the P0016 code, you need to find the main issues causing wrong crankshaft and camshaft positions. Follow the below-given steps for this process:

  • Scan the P0016 code using a scan tool. Also, record all other codes stored in the ECM memory. Addressing any related codes can help provide a more accurate diagnosis.
  • Visually inspect the crankshaft and camshaft sensor for signs of damage, corrosion or wear.
  • Check the oil level. If the oil is insufficient, add more oil.
  • Check the quality and condition of the oil. If it is dirty, change it as soon as possible.
  • Check the timing components such as sprockets, timing belt, and other parts. Also, ensure their proper alignment.
  • Inspect the VVT solenoid for damage.
  • Check your owner’s manual to verify the precise alignment of timing marks on the crankshaft and camshaft gears.
  • Check the resistance and voltage values of the crankshaft position sensor and camshaft position sensor by using a multimeter.
  • Inspect timing chain tension according to the owner’s manual
  • Check the performance of the engine cylinder by conducting a compression test. The compression loss may also trigger the P0016 code.
  • Ensure the proper alignment of the camshaft and crankshaft sensors with their respective reluctor wheels.
  • Check the wiring connected with the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors.
  • After fixing the issue, perform a test drive.

Common P0016 Code Diagnosis Mistakes

You or your mechanic may make one or more of the below-given mistakes while diagnosing the P0016 code:

  • Failing to confirm the presence of the issue and error codes prior to initiating any repair attempts.
  • Overlooking a visual inspection for potential wiring or connection issues related to the camshaft and crankshaft sensors.
  • Not inspecting timing components such as the sprockets, timing belt, and related parts for alignment or wear.
  • Omitting any specific steps from the pinpoint test procedure, which can safeguard against incorrectly diagnosing functional components.
  • Disregarding the replacement of components as indicated by the pinpoint test or neglecting a thorough visual assessment to confirm their malfunction.
  • Not following proper diagnosing procedure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

How serious is the P0016 Code?

The P0016 code is a serious trouble code. It is not recommended to drive with this code. Driving with the P0016 code may trigger the following issues:

  • Engine performance may exhibit stalling, shaking, and a challenging start.
  • Issues with timing belt guides or may tensioners potentially result in significant engine damage if valves make contact with pistons.
  • Prolonged driving with a misaligned camshaft could potentially trigger further internal engine complications, depending on the specific faulty component.

What repairs can fix the P0016 Code?

  • Reset the fault codes and perform a test drive
  • Add more engine oil if needed
  • Replace the faulty Bank 1 camshaft position sensor
  • Replace the faulty Bank 1 crankshaft position sensor 
  • Replace the faulty oil control valve
  • Repair the wires connected to the camshaft sensor or crankshaft sensor
  • Update the ECM software
  • Change the engine oil if it looks dirty
  • Replace the damaged timing belt

How To Avoid a P0016 Trouble Code?

Follow the below-given control measures to stop the P0016 code from triggering:

  • Ensure proper maintenance of your system.
  • When the engine temperature becomes more than 32°C, promptly find a safe location to park your vehicle. Excessive heat can harm delicate elements like timing components and sensors.
  • Always use good quality oil.
  • Guard against severe vibrations that can compromise sensitive parts. For instance, steer clear of high-speed travel on rough roads.
  • Ensure the oil level remains adequate for proper engine maintenance.
  • Routinely examine wiring for malfunctions and signs of corrosion, particularly during engine oil changes.
  • Keep your oil clean by adhering to regular oil change intervals and consistently using the recommended high-viscosity oil as specified by the manufacturer.

P0016 Code Fixing Cost

You need to replace one or more of the below-given parts to fix the P0016 code:

Oil filter replacement$40 to $80
Oil control valve replacement$140 to $480
Camshaft position sensor replacement$180 to $1,600
Timing belt replacement$160 to $380
Wiring repair$40 to $560

FAQ Section

What is the function of the camshaft position sensor?

The camshaft position sensor monitors the position of the camshaft during its rotation. It enables the engine control module (ECM) to determine the precise angle of the camshaft. This information helps the ECM to regulate the injection rate, ignition timing and some other features.

What is the function of the crankshaft position sensor?

The crankshaft position sensor measures the position of the crankshaft. It sends this data to the vehicle’s main computer, which utilizes it to control different engine functions.

Can I drive with a P0016 code?

Yes, technically, you can drive with the P0016 code, but it is not recommended to drive for a long time. This trouble code signals a critical issue with your camshaft and crankshaft positions. Precise alignment between the crankshaft and camshaft holds immense significance for the optimal functioning of your car. Neglecting this trouble code can lead to challenging starting processes, rough idling, and in some instances, render the vehicle undrivable.

Can low oil levels cause a P0016?

Yes, insufficient engine oil can contribute to the occurrence of a P0016 trouble code. Engines equipped with a timing belt rely on consistent oil delivery to ensure effective lubrication of the chain mechanism. When the oil becomes insufficient, it may disturb the timing mechanism and trigger the engine code P0016.

Can my car run without a crankshaft position sensor?

No, your car can’t run without a crankshaft position sensor. It sends important information about the position and speed of the crankshaft to the engine control module (ECM). The ECM utilizes this data to precisely adjust the timing of ignition and fuel injection.

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