A car can tell you pretty much what's going wrong with it via a warning light and a fault-code reader, long before it grinds to a halt. Here's one of the more common fault codes you're likely to find when you plug into the OBD socket:
This is a fault code that indicates the engine's variable valve timing (VVT) system has an issue. The VVT system helps regulate the operating speed of your car's engine, and it does this by automatically adjusting the camshafts. When P0011 appears, it usually means there’s some kind of mechanical problem with these components, such as a worn camshaft or faulty timing chain.
If this fault code appears, it is important to check it out as soon as possible. If left unchecked, more serious engine damage can occur and cause your car to be unable to drive safely or efficiently.
What are the symptoms of the P0011 code?
The most common symptom of a P0011 code is poor fuel economy. Additionally, you may experience loss of engine power, rough idle, and stalling or misfiring. You may also hear noises coming from the engine as it struggles to start or accelerate.
What causes the P0011 code?
The most common cause of this code is a faulty timing chain or camshaft sensor. It can also be caused by an oil leak in the VVT system, or worn engine components such as spark plugs, valves, and gaskets. If the fault code is caused by worn engine components, they need to be replaced. If the error is due to an oil leak in the VVT system, then this needs to be addressed and repaired. The camshaft sensor may also need to be replaced.
Can you drive with a P0011 code?
The good news is that if you see the fault code P0011, it does not usually mean that your car will become undrivable. However, it’s that you check out this issue as soon as possible. If left unchecked for too long, more serious engine damage can occur and leave you stranded until repairs are made.
How to diagnose a P0011 fault code
It is important to check for any oil leaks in the VVT system, or to check the condition of the spark plugs, valves, and gaskets. In addition, you may need to replace the timing chain, camshaft sensor, or other components.
How to fix the P0011 code
Depending on the cause of the fault, a repair could involve replacing a faulty part or component, refilling any low oil levels in the VVT system, or something else.
However, the good news is that your car's Haynes manual will contain all you need to know about the systems to be dismantled and the compoinents to be replaced. Just take your time, follow the steps and you'll be back on the road before too long.