P0012 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

Code P0012 Definition

Intake Camshaft Position Timing- Over-Retarded (Bank 1)

What Does Code P0012 Mean?

The variable valve timing system increases fuel economy and engine performance by regulating when the intake and exhaust valves are opened and closed. The camshaft(s) is(are) adjusted by the ECM through the use of an oil control valve(s) (OCV) also called variable valve timing control solenoid valves. The P0012 code is set when the ECM detects the camshaft timing for the intake camshaft on bank 1 is more retarded than what it has been set to be.

What Are The Symptoms Of Code P0012?

  • Check Engine Light
  • Rough engine performance
  • Other codes such as misfire codes (P0300-P0308)
  • Rattling/Knocking from engine
  • Engine stalling
  • Lowered fuel economy

What Is The Cause Of Code P0012?

  • Engine oil is too low*
  • Dirty engine oil*
  • Sludged up engine
  • Low oil pressure
  • Malfunctioning camshaft timing
  • Short in intake timing control/oil control circuit
  • Faulty intake valve timing control solenoid
  • Faulty oil control valve (OCV)

*most common


How Serious Is Code P0012? – Severe

This trouble code severely impacts the drivability of your vehicle. The most common problems consist of increased engine stalling, rough engine idle, lowered fuel economy, and rattling/knocking noises from the engine. Continuing to drive the vehicle in this condition can cause severe damage to multiple internal engine components.

Code P0012 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Prematurely replacing any component when the issue can be resolved by changing the oil and filter and adjusting the oil level to the correct level per your vehicle’s manufacturers specifications.

Tools Needed To Diagnose Code P0012:

    • FIXD
    • Basic hand tools
    • Engine oil pressure gauge
    • Fused jumper wire

How To Diagnose And Repair Code P0012:

Difficulty of Diagnosis and Repair (2 out of 5)

  1. Check to see if there are any other codes along with P0022 and clear your Check Engine Light with FIXD.
  2. Check the engine oil level and condition. If it’s low, adjust to spec and test drive to see if the concern is resolved. If it’s dirty, change the oil and filter and test drive to see if the concern is resolved.
  3. Remove the oil cap and/or the valve cover and inspect the valve train for sludge. If there is sludge, there is a good chance the engine will need to be replaced due to sludge blocking the oil passages to the Oil Control Valve(s)
  4. If there isn’t any sludge, consider checking the Bank 1 Intake Camshaft Oil Control Valve for proper function. You can do this by removing the Oil Control valve and supplying power and ground to the solenoid quickly using a pair of fused jumper wires. (Do not leave power applied for more than a second or two) If the valve is functioning properly, it should click, and you may even be able to see the valve move based on the design of your specific valve. If it doesn’t click or move, replace the tested oil control valve and test drive to see if the concern is resolved. 
  5. If all the above check good, check the engine oil pressure. Perform this test when the concern is happening and the engine is at operating temperature. If the engine does not have enough oil pressure, there could be a problem with the oil pump, oil pressure regulator, or even the engine itself. If there is good oil pressure, the engine may have jumped timing and will have to be diagnosed by a shop and/or have the engine replaced.
  6. If at this point the concern persists, there could be internal engine issues, and you should have a shop diagnose the concern to avoid replacing the engine unnecessarily. 

Estimated Cost of Repair

For error code P0012, one or more of the below repairs may be needed to solve the underlying issue. For each possible repair, the estimated cost of repair includes the cost of the relevant parts and the cost of labor required to make the repair.

  • Oil Change $20-$60
  • Oil Control Valve/Variable Valve Timing Control Solenoid $300-$400
  • Engine $3000-$4000

Was this post helpful?

Comments 21

P. Owens

November 29, 2018

FIXD notified me the minute this error occurred. Changed oil and filter as a possible remedy even though it wasn’t due at the time (every 3000 miles). Still have error, so am planning to replace both sensors.


January 3, 2019

Let me know of that fixed your problem? We replaced both sensors and phaser still light is coming on. We’re fixing to change timing chains next.


February 5, 2019

Got this code in my MazdaSpeed 3, turns out the turbo was toast.


November 26, 2019

Pulled valve cover pulled VVT selenoid out and the Rubber O ring was missing from previous owner trying to fix it ! Put new one one and fixed p0012 code


May 10, 2020

What does wt stand for


May 20, 2020

It is V V T, not WT. It stands for Variable Valve Timing.


November 12, 2019

The cam phaser is the culprit. Use a timing chain wedge to maintain timing and change that particular phaser or both for that matter. Be sure to use factory phasers and not after market the problem will be solved.


February 5, 2019

Got this code in my MazdaSpeed 3, turns out the turbo was toast.

Michael T Ballachino

March 24, 2019

2006 Ford F 150 replaced timing chain and both sensors just replaced the plugs and the coils engine ran fine for 10 mins and then i got this code will do more diag and get back to you


October 2, 2019

Was you able to fix your problem?

laszlo maraczi

May 1, 2019

My 528I bmw has this reoccurring problem with P10012 that keeps popping up and disappearing after a couple of days of driving, so I changed 1 valve first than the other, than even switched them around with same result showing the same code P10012, the car otherwise runs fine.
What could be wrong?


August 3, 2019

Any update on this. I got the video. The Ford Edge. I’ll be replacing the VVT solenoids in bank 1 this weekend.


September 24, 2019

Check your camshaft actuator


October 9, 2019

Why can’t I email this report to my email?

Deirdre Douglass

January 23, 2020

I received an email that my 2007 BMW X3 showed this code but when I did a scan no problems showed up and car is running fine. What gives?


February 5, 2020

they charged me $1000 for this Code. P0012


February 19, 2020

Telling us what repair was performed would be helpful, the price you paid doesn’t give us any information.

R. Salerno

February 25, 2020

Changed timing control solenoid valves. Car runs smooth no longer hard starts. However can not remove engine light

Eric St. Martin

April 27, 2020

Check oil filter cap.
Make sure the cage and O-ring are still attached to the cap. If this is missing it will cause low oil pressure and trigger vanos codes as well.


May 25, 2020

Its v v t . Veritable valve timing. Not wt


July 5, 2020

I have had the oil changed and the solenoids replaced, the check engine light is still on and I still have the P0012 code. One mechanic says I need a new engine another says maybe not. Can this be fixed or not?

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