Air & Fuel Mixture ControlOBD2 Codes

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

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

        1. Drove from washington to oklahoma. Never had a problem with my 07 f150 triton. This winter is the first time my anti freeze froze in my radiator. Little did I know until I started over heating. Upon using my diagnostic code reader. I coded 3 sensors. P0016, p0012 and p0345
          I am having trouble understanding the corilation from a radiator antifreeze problem to these codes. Can anyone please help me via Lamens terms ?

      2. 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

        1. What does wt stand for

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

    2. 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.

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

  3. 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

    1. Was you able to fix your problem?

  4. 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?

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

    1. Check your camshaft actuator

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

    1. probably not enough postage, try more stamps. mailman may be on holiday or retired. try new mailman. if this doesn’t fix it, reset your computer, throw it out the window and take the day off

  7. 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?

  8. they charged me $1000 for this Code. P0012

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

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

    1. 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.

      1. Its v v t . Veritable valve timing. Not wt

  11. 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?

    1. I Put An Entire New Engine In! (New) & Still Getting The P0012 I’m So F’n Done With BMW!! Been Trying To Fix This Code Since Jan of The Year 2020!! WTF!?…. So Far Spent Over $4K I’m Starting To See Why People Talk Crap About BMW Reliability Like For Real!!
      I Put Genuine Bran New Sensors (all 5 of them!), Put Super Genuine $100 BMW Oil & Filter, I Used Seafoam On Both My Cats, Same Code All Year Long! Can’t Even Pass Smog All Year Because Of This!!.

    2. J’ais le voyant moteur allumé sur mon tableau de bord, j’ais fait le diagnostic( code brut: p0012. Camshaft position, intake/left/gront,bank 1 timing over-retarted.
      Que dois je faire ?

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