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P0013 Code: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnostics, And Fixes

The P0013 is a member of the family of trouble codes set if there is a variable valve timing (VVT) problem. The VVT systems rely on the proper oil pressure which is brought by proper oil viscosity and level. The ECM determines the proper camshaft angle and orders a change according to the driving conditions and requirements.

The engine oil pressure adjusts the Camshaft Timing as well as in the facilitation of the variable valve timing. As a result, the vehicle has an aggressive cam profile whenever its engine is under a tamer profile. This also happens when it’s carrying a heavy load when cruising in order to have an improved fuel traveling distance.

This process is monitored by a comprehensive Component Monitor (CCM) which involves voltage changes. When code P0013 is indicated, it shows that the electrical circuit controlling the variable valve/cam timing system is faulty.

P0013 Code Definition

  • P0013 Generic- GMC terrain P0013: ‘B’ Camshaft position- open/short OCV-bank 1
  • P0013 Chevy- Exhaust Camshaft Position (CMP) Actuator Solenoid Control Circuit

What Does P0013 Mean?

P0013 is a generic code that indicates an open or short electric circuit detected in VVT or VCT. It’s available on vehicles with a variable timing system regulating the intake and exhaust valves timing increasing performance and fuel efficiency.

In Chevy, the Camshaft Position actuator helps in changing the camshaft relative to the crankshaft angle. A control module sends signals to the actuator solenoid which controls the engine oil amount flowing to the actuator. When there is a problem in CMP actuator solenoid, code P0013 will be indicated.

What Are The Symptoms Of The P0013 Code?

  • The check engine light turns on.
  • Reduced fuel mileage in case of an open or shorted OCV. This happens when the camshaft is no longer optimized for engine speed affecting the mileage and power.
  • The engine might have a hard time starting.
  • The engine may stop, hesitate or run rough if the OCV circuit is open or shorted.

What Are The Causes Of P0013?

  • Low oil pressureYour vehicle needs a constant oil flow with the right pressure for the VVT system to operate smoothly.
  • Dirty engine oil- Low engine oil affects the pressure that affects the VVT system operation
  • A bad or clogged oil control valve or phaser
  • Open or shorted Actuator Solenoid
  • Poor electrical connection in the actuator solenoid
  • Faulty Actuator Solenoid
  • Faulty ECM.

How Serious Is P0013 Code?

P0013 is moderately severe where it doesn’t need immediate attention. However, if left unattended, the engine fuel consumption can get worse or result in carbon fouling in the valve components. There is also a possibility of the engine running rough or even stalling which might end up destroying the ECM.

How To Diagnose And Fix The Code P0013

Tools you’ll need

 We use an OBD2 scanner to diagnose the P0013 code.
We use an OBD2 scanner to diagnose the P0013 code.
  • OBD2 scanner
  • A digital volt/ohmmeter
  • Car specific service manual
  • Hand tools to access the actuator solenoid and timing components


Step 1: Begin by carefully removing the engine compartment to access the actuator solenoid.  Then check if there is an open or short wiring issue coming from/to the oil control valve and fix it.

Tip: Always clear and retest the system for the code after each repair. This will help you determine whether or not the problem is fixed.

Step 2: check the viscosity and the level of the engine oil. Make sure you are using the right oil for the engine and it’s in the best condition. If the viscosity is not right or the oil is dirty or old, you need to conduct an oil change. Also, check the oil level. If low, fill to the right amount.

As usual, clear the codes and take a test drive to see if the code comes back.

Step3: check the OCV valve. The OCV can get stuck or open which is normally led by an internal short. To diagnose this, you need to use a digital multimeter to measure the camshaft oil control terminal resistance. Normally the results should go somewhere between 6.9-7.9 ohms (you can find the specific car reading in the car manual). If the readings don’t match, the OCV is faulty and you need to replace it.

Step 4: If everything is normal, but you are still getting the code this can mean that the PCM is defective. The PCM failure is very rare and the replacement will need reprogramming. You might even need camshaft and crankshaft sensor replacement while replacing the PCM. Consult the service manual on how to go about it.

Step 5: If the code takes time to return, your vehicle might be suffering from an intermittent condition. In extreme cases, intermittent fault can prove to be a bit challenging to diagnose. However, to fix it disconnect the connector from the affected sensor and check the reference voltage and a ground (key-on/engine-off). If you can’t detect the voltage or ground, disconnect the connector and test circuits for continuity and resistance.

Note: Always follow the recommended manufacturer’s pinpoint test to narrow down the problem. Each engine is tested differently and more damage may be done if the tests are not performed following the procedure.

Common Mistakes While Diagnosing Code P0013

Common mistakes include:

  • Not conducting a visual checkup to see some common problems and repair them.
  • Replacing sensors or other components before tests are carried out shown they are faulty.
  • Not clearing and retesting the code after a repair before further activities.
  • Not following the Manufacturer’s test procedures step-by-step.
How to fix P0013 code

Tips To Avoid P0013 In The Future

To avoid the P0013 trouble code, you need to perform a regular checkup and change your vehicle’s oil often. You should only use clean oil with the right viscosity as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, check the oil level and makes sure it’s at the right level. This will ensure constant flow at the right pressure to operate the system.

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