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P0015 Code – What Does It Mean & How To Fix It

This is one of the most frequent OBD2 trouble codes. Read the full article below to know what it means, how to fix it, and what other codes may show related to it.

Definition

P0015 is an OBD-II Code that refers to Camshaft Position “B” - Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1)

Meaning

A P0015 code is caused by an ECM (Engine Control Module) receiving a signal from the exhaust camshaft timing for bank 1 that the timing is over-retarded. Which in turn will then trigger this code to be stored in the ECM's memory.

Causes

Common causes for this code include:

  • Due to damage or clogged oil pathways, the camshaft phaser is frozen in the retarded position.
  • The variable camshaft timing (VCT) oil control valve (OCV) is stuck open.
  • The ECM has an open circuit, and the OCV is open.
  • The phaser's VCT piston and oil flow issues are due to incorrect oil viscosity.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a P0015 code are:

  • The vehicle is now in a low-power situation as a result of the retarded timing setting.
  • The engine will not crank/ or experience a hard start.
  • Illuminated Check Engine Light (MIL) that blinks or is on solid.
  • Increased fuel consumption, poor throttle response and engine misfire.

Diagnosis

To diagnose a P0015 DTC code, a technician would:

1. Make sure the connections and wiring between the OCV and your printer are in good working order.

2. Check the engine oil for clean, appropriate viscosity oil.

3. Look up and document engine codes, then analyze the freeze frame data to determine when the code was set.

4. To see if the code returns, reset the Check Engine Light and road test it again.

5. To check if the camshaft timing changes after switching on and off the OCV, use the scan tool to control the camshaft timing.

Common mistakes

The following are common mistakes when diagnosing the trouble code P0015:

1. Failing to check for appropriate engine oil viscosity.

2. Failing to complete the full diagnosis, instead jumping straight to swapping parts when other codes are present.

3. Not properly interpreting the freeze frame data in relation to when the code was set.

4. Not verifying that the ignition timing is advanced in order to eliminate this as a possible cause of the P0015 DTC code’s presence and symptoms (the engine must be at normal operating temperature).

How serious is this?

A P0015 code does not mean that the vehicle will break down or stop running. However, it does affect your engine’s power and fuel economy. If you drive the car with the camshafts retarded for a long time, additional internal engine issues may develop beginning with stalling and rough running.

What repairs can fix the code?

The following are solutions that may fix this problem:

  • Replace the OCV for bank 1 exhaust camshaft
  • Replacing timing chain and guides
  • Replace camshaft phasers on both camshaft banks
  • Repair the wiring/harnessing to the camshaft OCV
  • Reset the fault codes and conducting a road test

Related codes

A P0015 is related to and may be accompanied by the following codes:

How much does it cost to fix the P0015 code?

The repair cost of a P0015 code can vary widely depending on what needs to be fixed. If it is just an OCV that needs replacing the typical cost is between $190-$350 for parts, and that cost can go up around $1250 if the camshafts need replacement as well.

While there are many components that can trigger this code, this P0015 code only refers to bank 1 timing being over-retarded. Replacing the failed or malfunctioning part should fix it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the P0015 code refers to the camshaft position being over-retarded on bank one. This can be caused by any of the components that are involved in its function, but most commonly the variable camshaft timing oil control valve is stuck open. Replacing faulty parts should fix this issue.

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