Air & Fuel Mixture ControlOBD2 Codes

P0021 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

Code P0021 Definition

Intake Camshaft Position Timing- Over-Advanced (Bank 2)

What Does Code P0021 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. When trouble code P0021 is set, it means that the intake camshaft in Bank 2 is more advanced than the ECM has told it to be.

What Are The Symptoms Of Code P0021?

  • Check Engine Light
  • The hard start of the engine
  • Rough running engine
  • Stalling
  • Rattling/Knocking from engine
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Failed emissions test

What Is The Cause Of Code P0021?

  • Engine oil is dirty
  • Engine oil is too low
  • Engine oil is incorrect viscosity
  • Camshaft variable valve timing control solenoid failure
  • Camshaft phaser is seized in the advanced position
  • Continuous oil flow to Variable Camshaft Timing chamber

How Serious Is Code P0021? – Severe


This trouble code severely impacts the drivability of your vehicle. The most common problems consist of increased engine stalling, engine rough 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 P0021 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Replacing sensors or components without any indication of a problem with the sensors or components.

Tools Needed to Diagnose:

  • FIXD
  • Basic hand tools
  • Fused jumper wires
  • Car specific service manual

How To Diagnose And Repair Code P0021:

Difficulty of Diagnosis and Repair – (3 out of 5)

  1. Check to see if there are any other codes along with P0021 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 2 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 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 P0021, 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. Alright very good information

  2. Love this site very helpful

    1. Thanks Denny! Glad we can help!

      FIXD Team

  3. I have a Ford expedition 2007 5.4 engine has codes p0021,p0011 plus p0240 truck runs fine but sometimes when i try to accelerate quick truck stalls any ideas?thanks in advance.

    1. Victor I have this same problem what did you do to fix it ?

  4. Getting yearly check up next week on 2004 Cayenne, will ask them to check this issue

    Thank you

  5. I have the code p0021,I have recently changed out both camshaft sensors bank 1 and 2,the crankshaft position sensor. It will start and drive without any problems, but when I shut it off and try and start it again, it will crank but won’t start.ill try again after an hr and it will start right up and drive. This is a 2003 Infiniti g35 sedan

    1. I have a 2003 Infiniti g35 sedan. A code p0021 is showing on my ob2 reader. The problem is it will cold start and drive with no issues,but when I turn it off and try and restart it will only crank and not start. I’ll try again in about an hour and it starts right up and drives fine. I just replaced camshaft sensors bank 1 and 2 and the crankshaft position sensor as well

  6. Recently got an oil change on a 2004 Nissan quest. Didn’t have this issue before hand. It appears they put 5 quarts of oil in, but it says it only takes 4.2. couple this be the cause and if so, would taking some out fix it?

  7. Very helpful ilike your page

    1. Thank you, David! We appreciate that. 🙂

  8. The mechanic said, “since the car is running so well, it must be a flaky sensor that makes the check engine light come on – pay no attention to it!” Sometimes the check engine light goes off by itself and stays off for weeks at a time then comes back on.

  9. I have 2010 nissan maxima, I’ve replaced all 4 camshaft position sensors which I got from nissan parts store ,both variable timing solenoids ,cleared the codes, but the next day I test drove the car and the engine check light came on ,went got a code read and it read code p0021, please can you help me

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