In this guide, you will learn what the camshaft position actuator does, how to troubleshoot P0010, and where the sensor is located on an engine.
- Check engine light stays on
- Decreased fuel efficiency
- Poor throttle response
- Poor engine performance
- Engine runs rough
- Knocking from engine
- Poor engine idle
Variable Valve Timing (VVT) system is used to get more power and increase fuel efficiency as engine RPMs vary.
Car manufacturers use different names for the VVT system and actuators. Camshaft Position Actuator is often referred to as the VVT actuator.
While Volkswagen and other german manufacturers call it the camshaft position actuator, Japanese manufacturers call it the variable valve timing (VVT) actuator. Domestic cars such as Ford may call it the VVT system “Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT)” and VVT actuators “phasers.” Korean manufacturers, such as Hyundai, refer to the VVT solenoids as “oil control valves (OCVs).”
What Does P0010 Code Mean?
OBD2 P0010 code gets stored in the Engine Control Module (ECM or ECU) when there is a problem with the camshaft position actuator electrical circuit.
The function of the actuator is to regulate the oil pressure, thus varying the cam timing. The engine control module uses this actuator for advancing or retarding timing. The ECM constantly monitors the camshaft actuator circuit.
If the wires to the camshaft actuator are damaged, the sensor fails or is disconnected, it will signal an open or short circuit that triggers the check engine light to come on.
P0010 code can also be set if the ECM detects a low voltage from the sensor. While in most cases, P0010 codes are set by a faulty VVT actuator or damaged wire harness, in some cases, it can be triggered due to low oil pressure, which can be an indication of engine sludge. Code P0010 can also be triggered when the ECU adjusts bank one intake camshaft timing. If the ECM detects an electrical issue in the solenoid's windings or the wires going to the sensor (open circuit), it will set the P0010 DTC.
A vehicle will not pass the emission (smog) test if the check engine light is on and code P0010 is present.
The most common symptoms of code P0010 are the check engine coming on and the decrease in engine performance.
- Check engine light stays.
- Poor fuel economy
- The engine may shake or run rough.
- Engine noise
- Poor engine performance
- Valvetrain noise
Possible problems that cause P0010 are:
- Bad camshaft actuator / VVT control solenoid / oil control valve
- Corroded or loose connector to the camshaft actuator
- Damaged wiring harness
- Timing issue
- Open circuit or short in the VVT/VCT circuit.
- Faulty ECU - Not common
- Sludge in the engine
Where is the Camshaft Position (VVT) Actuator Bank 1 Sensor A located?
Camshaft position actuator bank 1 A is located at the top of the engine and is usually held in place with one or two Torx T-25 bolts.
V6, V8, V10, V12 engines are divided into two banks. The side that has cylinder no. 1 is called Bank 1. The other side is referred to as Bank 2.
“A” cam is the intake camshaft in a Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine or the intake camshaft for the number one cylinder in a V engine.
In addition to the P0010 code, you may also get codes P0011, P0012, or P0021; if more than one fault codes are present, make sure to check and inspect other components such as timing chain guides, timing chain sprockets, worn timing components, cam sensors, malfunctioning crank, electrical faults, wiring harness, and ECM problems.
Related OBD2 fault codes:
- P0010 - Intake Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit Open (Bank 1)
- P0011 - Intake Camshaft Position Timing Over-Advanced (Bank 1)
- P0012 - Intake Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1)
- P0013 - Exhaust Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit / Open (Bank 1)
- P0014 - Exhaust Camshaft Position Timing Over-Advanced (Bank 1)
- P0015 - Exhaust Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1)
Since P0010 is a generic code, this guide applies to Chevy, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, BMW, Honda, and Toyota. The main difference is that the camshaft actuator may be installed in a slightly different location. The camshaft actuator is installed on the engine head near the top.
A P0010 code can sometimes be tricky to diagnose because it is not always the camshaft actuator problem. Still, it can also be VVT (variable valve timing) problem, worn variable camshaft timing (VCT) components, and even problems with the engine control unit (ECU).