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P0200 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

DTC Code P0200: Injector Circuit Malfunction

Meaning

DTC Code P0200 is a generic OBD-II trouble code that is stored when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) detects a malfunction in the fuel injector circuit. The fuel injector circuit, as the name implies, injects fuel and controls the amount of fuel injected and when it is injected. This process is controlled by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) also referred to as Engine Control Module (ECM).

As stated above, the PCM controls individual injection especially when there is sequential fuel injection. On the other hand, the power distribution center (PDC) serves the function of supplying battery voltage to each injector. Meanwhile, the PCM uses an internal switch known as “driver” to transfer the ground circuit to the injectors and monitor each driver circuit for possible faults.

When the PCM commands a fuel injector as “off”, it seeks to detect a high voltage on the ground circuit of the driver. On the other hand, when the PCM commands a fuel injector as “on”, it seeks to detect a low voltage on the driver circuit. However, in the instances of abnormal occurrences when the PCM fails to detect the expected conditions, the vehicle is prompted to store the DTC code P0200.

In simple terms, this trouble code is recorded when the sensor’s performance is out of range either for the voltage or for the injector circuit’s resistance. Meanwhile, the PCM tries to prevent further damages to the vehicle's engine by activating the engine’s failsafe mode. The failsafe mode remains activated until the fault is fixed or when the engine control module detects normal reading again.

Causes

This generic trouble code can be caused by a number of malfunctions in the vehicle. However, the faults listed below are the ones that are mostly associated with this specific OBD-II trouble code. As such, when you notice that your vehicle has registered a DTC code P0200, you should look out for one or more of the faults listed below:  

  • Open or shorted fuel injector
  • Faulty or defective fuel injector
  • Open or shorted wiring harness of the fuel injector
  • Clogged fuel injector as a result of dirt accumulation
  • Fuel injector is corroded
  • Low internal resistance of the fuel injector
  • Poor electrical connection
  • Driver circuit shorted to voltage
  • Defective Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Please note that this may give rise to codes other than P0200

Symptoms

Unlike other OBD-II codes that have little or no effect on the vehicle’s performance, DTC code P0200 has adverse effects on the vehicle’s performance and the lifespan of the engine. However, the symptoms that this code exhibits in different vehicles vary depending on the level of severity of the error. Nevertheless, the symptoms listed below are the common ones you will encounter in a vehicle with this trouble code regardless of how severe the trouble code is:

  • Illumination of the Check Engine Light (CEL)
  • Misfiring
  • Stalling of the engine
  • Delayed pickup time or failure of the engine to start
  • Acceleration is poor
  • Cylinder misfire codes are recorded

Diagnosis

This OBD-II code, as the name implies, is usually caused by a defect in the fuel injector. However, there are steps to follow in order to successfully diagnose your vehicle with this code. These steps have been designed in a specific sequence so as to prevent the omission of any phase. Therefore, we recommend you follow these steps in the given sequence:

  • Start the diagnosis by checking for any codes present, taking note of the freeze frame data that is associated with each code 
  • Then you need to clear the codes and take the vehicle for a road test. While performing the road test, it is important that the vehicle be put under similar conditions to which the codes were set
  • After that, perform a visual inspection on the wiring harness as well as the fuel injectors. Check specifically for signs of damages, broken components, and/or lose connections
  • Fix any noticeable damages and tighten the loose connections as appropriate
  • Having done that, proceed with the diagnosis by testing the operation of the fuel injectors using the scan tool to detect signs of irregularities
  • Then proceed to check the voltage for each fuel injector
  • After that, you need to install a noid light for testing fuel injectors operation as needed
  • Finally, perform a manufacturer-specific Engine Control Module test or ECM test

Common mistakes

It has been established that this trouble code is caused by the malfunctioning of a fuel injector. Nevertheless, the specified sequence should be followed when diagnosing a car with this code. Mistakes usually occur in dealing with this code when the technician fails to follow the diagnostic process in the right sequence or entirely skips one or more steps. This usually results in a waste of time and money, whereas the faults may end up not being fixed at the end of the diagnostic process.

How serious is P0200?

DTC Code P0200 has been named one of the notorious diagnostic trouble codes. This code has the tendency of resulting in poor drivability, engine shutting off while driving, and delay in engine startup time, among others. With these adverse effects, it is, therefore, a point of necessity to diagnose the vehicle of the code as soon as possible. 

As important as it is to diagnose your car with this code, it is equally important that the diagnosis be done by a certified automobile mechanic. Furthermore, in cases where the vehicle’s engine shuts off while driving and refuses to restart, it is advisable that you do not drive the vehicle any further.

What repairs can fix the code?

In addition to the diagnostic processes given above, a more intense repair may be necessitated to effectively clear this trouble code. Therefore, you should consider the following repair practices when dealing with this notorious OBD-II code:

  • Consider replacing the fuel injector of the vehicle
  • If the code is caused by wiring issues such as broken, frayed, or shorted wires; repair or replace the wirings as applicable
  • You should also consider repairing or replacing the connections in the system
  • Lastly, there may be the need for you to replace the PCM, however, this is a very rare case when dealing with P0200

Related codes

DTC code P0200 is related to other codes that equally deal with the malfunctioning of the fuel injector circuit, such as:

  • P0201: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 1
  • P0202: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 2
  • P0203: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 3
  • P0204: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 4
  • P0205: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 5
  • P0206: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 6
  • P0207: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 7
  • P0208: Injector Circuit Malfunction – Cylinder 8

Conclusion

Aside from the stated symptoms and the side effects of DTC code P0200, this trouble code, if left unrepaired for long, may result in damage to the vehicle’s engine. Although the ECM usually activates the failsafe mode to prevent this, it is not, however, worth the risk. 

As a result of that, rapt attention should be given to the car whenever you detect this trouble code in your vehicle. As a final note, a certified and professional automobile mechanic should be contacted when there is a need for a repair in your vehicle, most especially when the fault is beyond the simple DIYs.

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