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P0012 OBD-II A Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded Bank 1 Trouble Code




The P0012 code is an OBD-II trouble code that stands for “A Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1)” and is triggered when the vehicle’s computer detects that the camshaft position timing on cylinder number one is off.

This code may appear for multiple reasons, and you need to properly diagnose what triggers the P0012 trouble code in your case.

In this article, I will be talking about the P0012 trouble code, its symptoms, causes, and how to fix it.

What Does The P0012 Code Mean?

P0012 OBD-II A Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded Bank 1 Trouble Code

The P0012 trouble code means that the camshaft position of intake A is over-retarded at bank 1 (cylinder 1). This indicates a difference between the desired and actual position angles of the camshaft.

In other words, the P0012 code is set off when the powertrain control module (PCM) notices that the intake (A) camshaft has stayed in the retarded position or that the intake (A) camshaft timing on bank 1 is different from what is wanted. There are many things that can cause a P0012 code, and it needs to be figured out as soon as possible.

The PCM sends an alert to the driver whenever the camshaft retards or advances. The timing problem can occur during either phase of the camshaft motion.

The intake camshaft is indicated by the letter “A” in a straight overhead camshaft engine or an inline engine. If the engine is configured as a V, it also refers to the intake camshaft on Bank 1.

“Bank 1” refers to the engine side with the number one cylinder, according to the code. This applies to boxer or V-configuration engines.

(See also: P0029 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Valve Control Solenoid Circuit Range/Performance (Bank 2)

Which Models Are Affected By The P0012 Code

MakeAffected By P0012 Code

What Are The Possible Causes of the P0012 Code?

The P0012 trouble code is caused when the camshaft position timing on cylinder one is off. The vehicle’s computer detects this anomaly, stores the P0012 code, and triggers the check engine light to alert the driver.

The possible causes of the P0012 trouble code are:

  • A faulty or bad variable timing solenoid on a camshaft.
  • Faulty or damaged valve timing actuators.
  • The engine’s oil levels are too low.
  • Polluted or dirty engine oil.
  • The timing chain is worn out.
  • Faulty oil control valve.
  • Malfunctioning electric wiring.
  • Camshaft’s timing is bad.

For starters, you could be using incorrect engine oil, have low engine oil, or be using extremely old engine oil. This is the best-case scenario, but changing the oil does not guarantee that your problem will be resolved.

Sometimes the oil, or lack thereof, will slow down the components and cause slight retardation, while other times it will damage components, causing the camshaft to slow down.

(See also: P0135 OBD-II O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Bank 1 Sensor 1 Trouble Code)

What Are The Common Symptoms of The P0012 Code?

If you’re looking into a P0012 trouble code, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with more than just a check engine light. Other common symptoms include:

  • Emissions test failure.
  • You may experience engine misfiring issues.
  • Engine stalling or rough driving.
  • A decrease in fuel economy.
  • A decrease in engine performance
  • The engine is knocking.

When your engine’s timing is off, even if it’s only by a fraction of a second, engine performance almost always suffers.

You may notice that your car no longer accelerates as quickly as it used to or that it struggles to reach higher speeds entirely.

Not only that, but you’ll probably be visiting the gas station more frequently. When the timing is off, you don’t get the performance you want, so you have to press down on the pedal a little harder to get what you want.

While this may make your car go faster, it also consumes more fuel. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more money you’ll end up spending—even if no further damage occurs.

(See also: P0140 OBD-II O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected Bank 1 Sensor 2 Trouble Code)

Is It Safe To Drive With a P0012 Code?

No, it is not safe to drive with the P0012 trouble code. To avoid internal engine damage, it is best to stop driving immediately and resolve the P0012 trouble code. Bank 1 of the engine will not be performing optimally, so Bank 2 may be put under additional strain.

Furthermore, the issue may reduce your engine’s fuel economy. The engine may exhibit hesitation, a lack of power, or simply stumble. You will also fail the smog test because the check engine light will be illuminated.

So, before you resume regular driving, it’s best to diagnose and repair the P0012 trouble code. If you ignore the trouble code for a long time, it could cause serious damage to other engine parts, a drop in engine performance, and expensive repairs.

(See also: P0138 OBD-II O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage Bank 1 Sensor 2 Trouble Code)

How To Diagnose The P0012 Code

Here is how to diagnose the P0012 trouble code:

  1. Use an OBD II scan tool, scan the vehicle to see if any codes accompany the fault code P0012, and clear the engine warning light.
  2. Examine the engine oil for viscosity and cleanliness.
  3. You must scan and document data from the freeze frame to determine when the code was set.
  4. Examine the electrical wiring to the crankshaft sensor, MAP sensor, oil control solenoid valve, and camshaft sensor for loose connections, damaged wiring harnesses, or other problems.
  5. Turn the oil control solenoid valve on and off to see if the camshaft timing changes.
  6. If no problems are found but the P0012 code remains, you need to run a manufacturer-specific pinpoint test and make any necessary repairs.
  7. To determine whether the P0012 code is still present, the OBD-II fault codes must be cleared.

Most Common Mistakes When Diagnosing The P0012 Code

To avoid mistakes, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Before attempting any repairs, always confirm the failure.
  • Perform a thorough visual inspection for any issues with the wiring or component connections.
  • To avoid a misdiagnosis, perform the pinpoint test step by step.
  • Do not replace the parts unless directed to do so by pinpoint or visual testing.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair P0012 Code

New camshaft position sensor costs between $28.30 and $56.99.

Labor for replacing the camshaft position sensor costs between $75 and $110.

Adjusting the camshaft position sensor costs between $80 and $110.

MakeP0012 CodeRepair Cost
ToyotaYes$103.3 – $166.99
NissanYes$103.3 – $166.99
ChevroletYes$103.3 – $166.99
BMWYes$103.3 – $166.99
AudiYes$103.3 – $166.99
BuickYes$103.3 – $166.99
MercedesYes$103.3 – $166.99
GMCYes$103.3 – $166.99
SuzukiYes$103.3 – $166.99
TataYes$103.3 – $166.99
LexusYes$103.3 – $166.99
MazdaYes$103.3 – $166.99
MitsubishiYes$103.3 – $166.99
KiaYes$103.3 – $166.99
JeepYes$103.3 – $166.99
FiatYes$103.3 – $166.99
HondaYes$103.3 – $166.99
HyundaiYes$103.3 – $166.99
OpelYes$103.3 – $166.99
FordYes$103.3 – $166.99
FiatYes$103.3 – $166.99
PeugeotYes$103.3 – $166.99

What Repairs Can Fix The P0012 Code?

Repairs that can fix the P0012 trouble code are:

  • Resetting the fault codes and testing the vehicle.
  • Changing the oil and filter to the recommended oil viscosity for the engine’s specifications.
  • Fix or replace the wiring or connections to the camshaft oil control solenoid.
  • Camshaft oil control valve replacement for bank 1 intake camshaft.
  • Examine the timing chain alignment for jumped timing issues and repair them as necessary.

How To Fix The P0012 Code

Here are some steps that you should take to fix the P0012 trouble code:

  • Changing the oil and filter in accordance with the engine’s specifications.
  • Repairing or replacing the camshaft oil control solenoid wiring.
  • Replacing the Bank 1 intake camshaft’s camshaft oil control valve.
  • Changing the camshaft phaser.
  • Switch out the timing chain.
  • Examine the electrical connections in the camshaft sensor and the oil control solenoid valve.
  • Engine assembly replacement.

In Conclusion

The P0012 trouble code appears whenever the computer detects over-retarded intake camshaft timing in Bank 1. The P0012 trouble code can be registered by the engine control module (ECM) for a variety of reasons.

In this article, I covered the causes, symptoms, diagnostic errors, and how to diagnose and fix this code. So you’re ready to face the challenge posed by this trouble code.

Whatever the cause, follow the instructions above to find it and fix it.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

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