P0320 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

Code P0320 Definition

Ignition/Distributor Engine Speed input circuit has a malfunction

What Does P0320 Mean?

The Engine Control Module (ECM) needs to know the position of the crankshaft and camshaft(s) in order to determine when to distribute fuel and when to fire the spark plugs. When this code is triggered, the ECM has lost the engine speed signal, this can be a loss of signal from the ignition/distributor engine speed sensor, camshaft position sensor, or crankshaft position sensor. (your vehicle may not be equipped with all of these sensors; check the service manual to determine which sensors your vehicle is equipped with) When this happens, it can cause the engine to stall, not to start, have a lack of power, or misfire. It may also have no noticeable effect on the running of the vehicle.

What Are The Symptoms Of Code P0320?*

  • Check Engine Light
  • Engine cranks but doesn’t start
  • Misfire
  • Lack of power
  • Stalling

*No noticeable adverse conditions in some cases

What Is The Cause Of Code P0320?

  • Ignition/distributor engine speed sensor
  • Camshaft position sensor
  • Crankshaft position sensor
  • Weak battery
  • Dirty or damaged reluctor ring

How Serious Is Code P0320? – Moderate

This trouble code can have no effect on vehicle performance one day and cause the vehicle not to start the other. Repairing quickly is recommended so you’re not stranded anywhere with a vehicle that won’t start.

Code P0320 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Replacing sensors without checking the wiring to sensors or not checking for proper battery voltage.

Tools Needed to Diagnose:

  • FIXD
  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Vehicle Specific Service Manual
  • Multimeter

How To Diagnose And Repair Code P0320?

Difficulty of Diagnosis and Repair (4 out of 5)

  1. Check to see if there are any other codes along with P0320 and clear your Check Engine Light with FIXD
  2. Check the freeze frame data in order to pinpoint the issue.
  3. Check for any Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) referencing code P0320
  4. Visually check the connector and wiring of the ignition/distributor engine speed sensor. (if so equipped)
  5. Visually check the connector and wiring of the camshaft position sensor (if so equipped)
  6. Visually check the connector and wiring of the crankshaft position sensor(if so equipped)
  7. Have the battery checked to see if it is weak or has a bad cell
  8. Remove the camshaft position sensor and check for a loose, damaged, or dirty reluctor ring. (if so equipped)
  9. Remove the crankshaft position sensor and check for a loose, damaged, or dirty reluctor ring. (if so equipped)
  10. At this point, check power and ground to these three sensors, and ensure you have both. If you find one does not have power or ground check the wiring for an open by performing a resistance check on that circuit.
  11. If at this point everything checks good, you will need to take the vehicle to a shop to have an oscilloscope test performed. This will be able to read the signal coming from the sensor to find out which one is not producing a signal.

Estimated Cost of Repair

For error code P0320, 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. 

  • Ignition/distributor engine speed sensor $100-$500
  • Camshaft position sensor $120-$300
  • Crankshaft position sensor $190-$250
  • Battery $118-$216
  • Wiring repair/replacement $100-$1000

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