Air & Fuel Mixture ControlOBD2 Codes

P0016 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

What Does Code P0016 Mean?

  • P0016 definition: The correlation of the camshaft and crankshaft positions on bank 1 is incorrect based on the intake camshaft position sensor.
  • Issue Severity: SEVERE – Stop driving immediately 
  • Repair Urgency: Fix this code immediately (same day if possible) to avoid internal engine damage.
  • Diagnosis: This trouble code can cause the vehicle to be hard to start and run rough. In some cases, the vehicle may not be driveable. It should be addressed as soon as possible.

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In order for the engine to run smoothly and efficiently, it has to know exactly what positions the camshaft and crankshaft are in their rotation. It does this by monitoring them using the Camshaft Position Sensor(s) and Crankshaft Position Sensor. If the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects that the bank 1 intake camshaft and crankshaft are not in the correct position, it will trigger code P0016.

P0016 Causes

There are many potential causes of code P0016.

  • Stretched timing chain
  • Jumped timing
  • Slipped reluctor ring on the crankshaft
  • Slipped reluctor ring on bank 1 exhaust camshaft
  • Faulty timing chain tensioner
  • Low/dirty oil

P0016 Symptoms

  • Check Engine Light
  • Rough running engine
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Decreased engine performance
  • Timing chain noise
  • Hard/extended start
  • No start
  • No noticeable adverse conditions in some cases

How Do I Fix Code P0016?

With a cam or crank position sensor fault, the first step is to get it diagnosed to figure out what is causing the problem. 

If your vehicle has this fault and you’re not comfortable diagnosing this issue at home, we recommend finding a RepairPal certified shop nearby to pinpoint the problem and give an accurate estimate for repairs. 

These shops can not only help you figure out what’s going wrong before you waste time and money on the wrong parts, but they also offer a minimum 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty and stand behind all their estimates with guaranteed fair pricing.

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How Much Does It Cost to Fix Code P0016?

P0016 can be caused by anything from a stretched timing belt or chain to a bad sensor to dirty oil. It’s impossible to give an accurate estimate without properly diagnosing the issue first. 

If you take your car to a shop for diagnosis, most shops will start with an hour of “diag time” (the time spent in labor diagnosing your specific issue). Depending on the shop’s labor rate, this typically costs somewhere between $75-$150. Many, if not most, shops will apply this diagnosis fee to any required repairs if you have them perform the repairs for you. From there, a shop will be able to give you an accurate estimate for repairs to fix your P0016 code.

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Possible Repair Costs for P0016

For error code P0016, 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.

  • Engine oil and filter change $20-$60
  • Camshaft position sensor: $176 to $227
  • Crankshaft position sensor: $168 to $224
  • Reluctor ring $200-$600
  • Timing belt: $309 to $390
  • Timing chain: $1,624 to $1,879

DIY Steps to Diagnose Code P0016

Engine code P0016 could be caused by a number of things, including a stretched timing belt or chain, a bad sensor, or even dirty oil. If you’d like to try to fix code P0016 at home without throwing money at parts, you’ll want to follow the steps below for proper diagnosis. Keep in mind this is an advanced-level diagnosis and repair and not recommended for beginners. Diagnosis requires more specialized equipment beyond what the FIXD Sensor can provide and it can be a time and labor-intensive process for inexperienced DIYers.

DIY difficulty level: Advanced

This repair requires mechanical knowledge and is not recommended for beginners.

Tools/parts needed (our top picks from Amazon):

  • FIXD
  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Vehicle-Specific Service Manual
  • Oscilloscope

STEP 1: USE FIXD TO ENSURE NO OTHER ENGINE CODES ARE PRESENT.

Use FIXD to scan your vehicle to verify P0016 is the only code present.

STEP 2: CHECK ENGINE OIL LEVEL.

Check the oil level and if incorrect, correct to the proper level. If it’s dirty, replace the engine oil and filter. Clear the code, and see if it comes back.

STEP 3: CHECK FOR TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS.

Check for any Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) for your make and model vehicle. For example, certain General Motors vehicles (GMC, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac) have a known issue with stretched timing chains, which can cause this fault. If a TSB applies to your vehicle, perform this service first.

STEP 4: COMPARE SENSOR DATA USING AN OSCILLOSCOPE.

This code requires an oscilloscope for proper diagnosis. Not all shops are equipped with this but many are. Using the O-scope (oscilloscope), connect to the signal wire for the crankshaft position sensor and bank 1 and bank 2 (if equipped) camshaft position sensors and compare the three (or two) to each other. If they are offset from their proper locations, a stretched timing chain, jumped timing, or a slipped reluctor ring is the issue. Replace the necessary parts to resolve the concern.

Common P0016 diagnosis mistakes

Not checking for TSBs before starting diagnosis.

Still Need Help Fixing Code P0016?

If you’ve followed the steps above and are still experiencing check engine code P0016, please contact the FIXD Mechanic Hotline if you’re a FIXD Premium subscriber or find a RepairPal certified shop near you to get the right repairs at a fair price.

Justin-Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

Justin Hughes
Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

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    14 Comments

    1. Need to try and locate where sensor wiring is

      1. Hello I have a jeep Compas a check for a code and it says my camshaft position sensor need to be replace I replaced it and the check engine light is still on what do you think it could be

    2. On the 2007 E350 Mercedes the camshaft position sensor bank 1 sensor A where is it located

      1. Not to sure but I have a Clk350 is a very similar engine is located on the front of the engine on the right hand side as you seated on the car as 2 sensors exactly the same

      2. Hi Edward,

        Have you solved the P0016 problem ? What was the cause and solution ?
        I have the P0017 code; is the same only for sensor B.

        Many thanks for your answer,

        Michael.

    3. 2008 Ford Expedition xl, camshaft position sensor bank 1, where is located? Code p0016

    4. you will have a waveforms p0016 correlation good and bad

      1. The information was quite helpful. Many thanks and best wishes.

    5. Can this be expensive to fix ?

      1. How Expensive is This to Fix

    6. can anyone tell me what size socket to use on the crankshaft sensor for a 2010 chevy cobalt? can barely get to the sensor let alone see the bolt to gauge its size.

    7. I have a trusted mechanic that recommended leaving this alone on my 2008 Avalanche. His reasoning: The repair would likely run $1100. He said it might fix the issue but he had no way of knowing now if there was internal engine damage due to the problem. Replacing the engine could be done for about $3000. If there is already damage, the $1100 repair was for nothing and I still need a new engine. He said it could run for a week and clunk out or go for a long time. I chose to run it til it blows up. A year later, still runs fine. Only problem (besides the annoying engine light) is my autostart doesn’t work when there is an engine fault. I am not a mechanic and don’t necessarily recommend my strategy but that is what I did.

      1. I agree with you, I just got p0016 code but have no performance issues. I’ll keep driving till it starts having problems then replace the timing chain myself. If you get a code reader that can delete the codes you can do each time you shut the car of then the remote start will work. PIA but works in the really cold weather.

    8. Where is the cam shift position sensor on a 2013 smart car for two

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