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P0222 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

The P0222 diagnostic trouble code (DTC) indicates a problem with the throttle/pedal position switch/sensor B circuit. The code is set when the voltage sent from the throttle position sensor/switch (TPS) to the powertrain control module (PCM) is too low. 

The TPS and pedal position sensor/switch, located on the throttle body and accelerator pedal respectively, work together. They change the throttle opening according to voltage changes caused by the driver pressing on or releasing the accelerator pedal. 

The system works in two-way communication with the PCM. The PCM sends signals to adjust the TPS through the pedal position sensor. As the accelerator is pressed, the TPS rotates from its resting position and sends a voltage signal to indicate the width of the throttle opening to the PCM.

Proper voltage signals from the TPS are essential for the PCM to make accurate adjustments. The PCM uses the signals to change the ignition timing, VVT timing, air to fuel ratio and other emissions system factors. These work in concert to ensure optimal engine performance for varying acceleration and loads.

Meaning

Manufacturers set the acceptable TPS voltage range for their vehicles. The lower voltage limit for TPS mechanisms in many vehicles is between 0.17 - 0.20 volts. The P0222 DTC means that the PCM detected a voltage signal below the specified allowable range. The code usually occurs when the difference is over 10 percent of the anticipated value.

Causes

  • Faulty TPS or pedal position sensor/switch.
  • Shorts or corrosion in TPS wiring to sensors or PCM.
  • Detached, loose or damaged connections within the circuit.
  • Contaminated throttle body.
  • TPS mounted incorrectly.
  • Defective PCM.

Symptoms

The P0222 error code can be accompanied by several symptoms with varying levels of severity. It is normal for a vehicle to not show any symptoms while registering the code. However, in most cases, the vehicle will experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Illuminated Check Engine light.
  • Poor, hesitant acceleration or stalling.
  • Engine is hard to start or will not start.
  • Loss of power.
  • Unresponsive accelerator pedal.
  • Rough or weak idle.
  • Black smoke flowing from the tail pipe during ignition.

Symptoms are not intermittent and will continue to cause issues until the code is diagnosed and fixed.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a P0222 DTC starts with a complete inspection of the throttle body and associated components. The mechanic examines the throttle body’s operation and the TPS mount. Wires and connections are also inspected for damage, shorts or improper attachments.

If the throttle components and circuits are secure and intact, the TPS is tested for the proper voltage according to the manufacturer’s procedure and reference voltage. If the voltage matches the manufacturer’s specifications, the TPS is operating correctly. Unless the sensor is adjustable, a deviation from the normal voltage means the TPS needs repair or replacement.

If the TPS, throttle body, connections and wires are in good condition, then the PCM needs to be tested for faults.

Common mistakes

The most common mistake associated with a P0222 DTC is immediately replacing the TPS. A faulty TPS unit is just one of numerous problems that can cause the code to register. It could be completely unrelated to the TPS, such as a carbon-filled throttle body or malfunctioning pedal position sensor.

A vehicle with a Check Engine light on and registering a P0222 needs a complete diagnosis to locate the source of the voltage error.

How serious is this?

Driveability can be severely hindered with a P0222 code. The lack of acceleration and potential for stalling and loss of power can result in unwanted roadside stops. Fluctuating acceleration is both a comfort and safety concern, one that should be remedied at the soonest possible opportunity.

What repairs can fix the code?

Many instances of P0222 code result from faults in circuitry. Disconnect and reconnect the wires and repair or replace circuit components connected to the TPS.

Ensure the TPS is securely mounted and properly aligned on the throttle body. The throttle body itself should be cleaned, repaired or replaced as needed. Carbon build-up can often obstruct the opening and closing of the valve, which would result in a P0222 code.

If the circuit is in otherwise fine condition, the TPS sensor will most likely need replacing. If there is no fault with the TPS and all other system components are clean, attached and undamaged, the PCM may be at fault.

Related codes

Codes P0220, P0221, P0223 and P0224 are all related to the TPS circuit. The P0220 DTC indicates a general malfunction. Codes P0221 - P0224 define specific problems in performance and voltage input (low, high or intermittent).

Conclusion

Symptoms of a P0220 code will not be intermittent, occurring consistently until the problem is resolved. Symptoms can vary in severity but any Check Engine occurrence needs to be investigated as soon as possible. Driveability and performance problems can be exacerbated if not handled promptly. Having a certified mechanic inspect, repair and road test the vehicle after performing an OBD-II scan is the most effective way to ensure a long-term resolution.

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