Air & Fuel Mixture ControlOBD2 Codes

P0020 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

What Does Code P0020 Mean?

  • P0020 definition: Intake Camshaft Actuator Circuit Open/Short (Bank 2)
  • Issue Severity: MODERATE – Extended driving with this code may cause internal engine damage.
  • Repair Urgency: Get this code fixed as soon as possible to avoid damage to the engine and emissions system.
  • Diagnosis: This trouble code will not prevent your vehicle from running. However, if left unsolved, this code could cause your vehicle to experience decreased power and fuel economy. It could also cause your vehicle to fail emissions testing.

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The variable valve timing (VVT) 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 Engine Control Module (ECM) through the use of an oil control valve(s) (OCV) also called variable valve timing control solenoid valves. Code P0020 is triggered when the ECM attempts to adjust the Bank 2 intake camshaft timing by utilizing one of these valves and it detects an electrical issue in either the circuit going to the valve or the windings of the solenoid in the valve itself.

P0020 Causes

There are many potential causes of code P0020.

  • Faulty VVT control solenoid valve (most common)
  • Oil sludge in the engine
  • Crankshaft position sensor malfunction
  • Camshaft position sensor malfunction
  • Frayed or damaged wiring 
  • Engine operating outside of proper timing parameters

P0020 Symptoms

  • Check engine light
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Decreased engine performance at high RPMs
  • Rough running engine
  • Rattling/Knocking from engine
  • Poor engine idle

How Do I Fix Code P0020?

With a timing 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.

> Find a RepairPal Certified Shop Near You

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Code P0020?

P0020 can be caused by anything from a bad VVT control solenoid to faulty wiring to oil sludge inside the engine. 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 P0020 code.

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Possible Repair Costs for P0020

For error code P0020, 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.

  • VVT Control Solenoid $500-$600
  • Wiring repair/replacement $100-$1000
  • Camshaft position sensor $120-$300
  • Crankshaft position sensor $190-$250
  • Timing chain or belt replacement $200-$1000

DIY Steps to Diagnose Code P0020

Engine code P0020 could be caused by a number of things, including a bad VVT control solenoid, faulty wiring, or oil sludge inside the engine. If you’d like to try to fix code P0020 at home without throwing money at parts, you’ll want to follow the steps below for proper diagnosis. Keep in mind that this is an intermediate-level diagnosis and repair and is 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: Intermediate

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

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

  • FIXD
  • Digital multimeter

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

Use FIXD to check if there are any other codes along with P0020.

STEP 2: CHECK FOR OIL SLUDGE.

Check to see if there is any engine sludge present. If there is, you must clean it, clear the code, and rescan to see if it is still present.

STEP 3: INSPECT VVT CONTROL SOLENOID VALVE.

Do a visual inspection of the bank 2 variable valve timing (VVT) control solenoid valve. Make sure to repair any frayed or faulty wiring or connectors. Once you have done this, clear the code and rescan to see if it is still present.

STEP 4: CHECK VVT CONTROL SOLENOID VALVE RESISTANCE.

Perform a resistance check of the bank 2 intake camshaft VVT Control solenoid and compare it to the vehicle service manual. If it is out of spec, replace the bank 2 intake VVT Control Solenoid.

If the code is still present after these steps, you may need to bring your vehicle to a mechanic for further guidance.

Common P0020 diagnosis mistakes

A common diagnosis mistake associated with code P0020 is replacing the timing actuator without first attempting to clean the actuator to see if that was the actual issue or check the electrical circuit.

Still Need Help Fixing Code P0020?

If you’ve followed the steps above and are still experiencing check engine code P0020, 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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