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P0213 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

P0213 is an OBD-II Code refers to Cold Start Injector 1 Malfunction detected by the ECM/PCM by an abnormal voltage condition.

Meaning

A P0213 code is the result of the ECM (Engine Control Module) receiving a signal indicating a problem with the cold start injector on bank 1. The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) is a computer that controls many of your engine's major components, including ignition and fuel injection.

If this code shows up against a stock or near-stock vehicle, most likely it has an issue with either the wiring or the injectors/injector drivers (usually create issues in VVT Engines).

Causes

Common causes for this code include:

  • Water in the fuel system 
  • Faulty cold start injector #1 
  • Open or shorted wiring to/from cold start injector #1 
  • Faulty cold start injector #1 driver circuit within the PCM (Powertrain Control Module)

Symptoms

Symptoms of P0213 can include any or all of the following:

  • Engine will not start 
  • Engine cranks but will not start, accompanied by a lack of power and increased idle speed upon turn-on (800 RPMs or more) 
  • Chattering noise when depressing clutch pedal in manual transmission-equipped vehicles
  • A loss of power may be apparent in vehicles with VVT (Variable Valve Timing) engines 
  • MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) illumination

Diagnosis

To diagnose a P0213 DTC code, an automotive technician would:

1. Check for DTC's with the most likely culprit being P0113 (Cold Start Injector #1)

2. Check the wiring and connectors to/from cold start injector #1 

3. Check the freeze frame data for each code to learn what vehicle speed, RPM, coolant temperature, and other variables were present when the codes first appeared.

4. Test drive vehicle to see if symptoms appear 

5. If no issues are found, check fuel pressure at rail using a hand-held scanner by grounding out WPT while cranking the engine over during key ON/RUN state or crank angle sensor reference triggers MIL light on the scan tool

6. Isolate water in the fuel system by checking pressure under different weather conditions 

Common mistakes

The following are common mistakes when diagnosing the trouble code P0213:

  • Replacing a faulty cold start injector driver circuit within the PCM because it is suspect when, in fact, when the wiring or connector to/from cold start injector #1 is faulty
  • Replacing a bad ECM due to a miss-diagnosis of this trouble code as being caused by an actual physical engine problem instead of one with engine sensors and switching devices

How serious is this?

A car with a P0635 trouble code may run but without power or with a misfire. However, a car exhibiting symptoms will have the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) illuminated and may stall while being driven. In this case, it's especially important to not drive any further than necessary to reach a safe location in order to prevent the possibility of an accident from occurring due to lack of power or stalling out.

In cases where no symptoms exist, there is very little danger associated with a P0635 trouble code other than having to take time away from driving in order to get your vehicle looked at by an automotive technician.

What repairs can fix the code?

The following are solutions that may fix this problem:

  • Replacing a cold start injector #1
  • Replacing the wiring and connectors to/from cold start injector #1
  • Replacing the cold start injector driver circuit within the PCM (Powertrain Control Module)

Related codes

A P0213 is related to and may be accompanied by the following codes: 

  • P0016 - Camshaft Position Sensor A - Incorrect Timing
  • P0113 - Cold Start Injector #1 Circuit Malfunction
  • P0118 - Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) Sensor Circuit Range/Performance Problem 
  • P0635 - Engine Control Module Requested MIL Illumination 
  • P2138- Idle Air Control (IAC) Valve Position Switch Malfunction 
  • P2155- Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'A' Circuit Low Input

How much does it cost to fix the P0213 code?

The repair cost of a P0213 code depends on the types of repairs that are needed to fix this problem. If replacing a bad cold start injector #1 and/or the wiring and connectors to/from cold start injector #1, then expect to pay anywhere from $150-$350 for parts and about 1 hour of automotive technician time (assuming no other DTC's exist as well). If the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) is also involved, then expect to spend anywhere from $200 -$500 for parts and about 1- 2 hours of automotive technician time; this however will vary depending on your local labor rates. Replacing the freeze frame data with real-time data may provide additional clues but will not change how much you pay for repairs or how long it takes to repair the code.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the P0213 is a trouble code that means that the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has requested that the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) be turned on due to one or more problems with an engine air/fuel delivery sensor or circuit. 

Without knowing what vehicle speed, RPM, coolant temperature, and other variables were present when the codes first appeared, it is impossible to know exactly which one(s) are causing this code to set. 

Using a good scan tool with freeze frame data in conjunction with a test drive can help pinpoint which sensors and/or circuits need further diagnosis in order to make a more accurate determination as to whether a repair is even needed in some cases. 

In addition, checking for proper fuel pressure at rail in order to isolate water from the fuel system as a possible cause should be performed if the vehicle is no longer under warranty. If this check yields a normal value, then any issues seen should be addressed by a qualified engine or transmission technician. 

In all cases, following proper troubleshooting steps and using quality replacement parts will go a long way towards preventing future P0213 trouble codes from turning on at another time.

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