P0012 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

Code P0012 Definition

“A” Camshaft Position – Timing Over Retarded (Bank 1)

What Does P0012 Mean?

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

P0012 Symptoms

  • Check Engine Light
  • Rough engine performance
  • Lower fuel economy

P0012 Causes

  • Malfunctioning camshaft timing
  • Short in intake timing control/oil control circuit
  • Faulty timing valve control solenoid
  • Faulty variable valve timing (VVT)
  • Faulty oil control valve (OCV)
  • Engine oil too low
  • Dirty engine oil

Code P0012 Severity – Severe

This trouble code harshly impacts the drivability of your vehicle. The most common problems consist of increased engine stalling, engine rough idle, and lowered fuel economy. Continuing to drive the vehicle in this condition can cause increased damage to the camshaft/timing valve(s) which could cause damage to the engine over time.

Code P0012 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Prematurely replacing the camshaft oil control valve when the issue can be mitigated by changing the oil and filter to your vehicle’s manufacturer specifications.

P0012 Diagnosis

  • Tools Needed to Diagnose:
    • FIXD

Difficulty of Diagnosis and Repair

  1. Check to see if there are any other codes along with P0012 and clear your Check Engine Light with FIXD.
  2. Check the freeze frame data in an attempt to pinpoint the issue.
  3. Monitor the timing chain alignment for errors in timing.
  4. Change the oil and filter, adjust to manufacturer specifications.
  5. Visually inspect the wiring around camshaft oil control solenoid for disconnection.
  6. If any flaws detected in wiring or camshaft, consider replacing the faulty camshaft oil control valve (bank 1).
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Comments 1

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.