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P0223 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

Pulling a P0223 code on a vehicle indicates that the throttle/pedal position switch/sensor B circuit is reading at a higher than the manufacturer specified voltage or amperage.

Meaning

When a technician or mechanic sees a P0223 on their diagnostic tool, they know right away there is an issue with the powertrain of the vehicle in question. 

P0223 is a generic powertrain code, so the ECM in any vehicle that has an OBD2 system can save this code in the diagnostic system. Generic codes are good for determining the source of an issue with a vehicle, but the troubleshooting and repair steps are unique to each vehicle.

Causes

Fortunately, there are only a few reasons a vehicle will code P0223. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Open/broken circuits between the TPS, PPS, and the PCM 
  • Defective TPS or PPS 
  • Corroded electrical connectors 
  • Faulty drive-by-wire actuator motor

Symptoms

Most of the time you will know if there is an issue with your vehicle’s powertrain, as it directly affects how the vehicle handles and drives. However, there are several symptoms to note that relate directly to a P0223:

  • Loss of power while driving or towing
  • Poor acceleration while at speed or from a full stop
  • Engine turnover may be sporadic, or the engine may refuse to start at all
  • Noticeable loss of response to the accelerator pedal
  • The check engine light comes on

Diagnosis

Whether your are a car DIY enthusiast or a professional technician, you still need to go through a troubleshooting process to diagnose and correct a P0223. Let’s take a look at the basic troubleshooting steps:

First, you need to visually inspect the throttle body and everything connected to it to ensure that everything is operating properly. Get a good look at the throttle position sensor, and make certain it is in proper alignment to the throttle body. Finally, make sure the throttle body itself is functional and responding to pressure in the accelerator.

Next, you need to conduct a due diligence inspection of all electrical connectors and wiring connected to the throttle and accelerator. Everything should be plugged in and secured properly. If you don’t find any loose, corroded or worn wiring or connectors, you are ready for the next step. Break out your digital multimeter and test the throttle position sensor voltage to see if it is within the manufacturer specified range. You can find these specifications in the service manual for your vehicle, and if you don’t have a copy you can easily buy or download one from the internet. Some sites even list correct manufacturer specs for free, but it is best to go straight to an authorized source for the sake of accuracy.

At this point, the throttle position sensor is going to pass or fail the voltage test. If it fails, the sensor needs to be disconnected and replaced. However, if it passes a quick voltage check, the vehicle should have a full Electronic Control Module (ECM) diagnostic. That requires a high end diagnostic tool that most at home DIY mechanics won’t have access to, so it’s time to schedule an appointment at your local auto shop.

Common mistakes

As with any diagnostic process, there are common pitfalls to avoid. First, don’t replace the throttle position sensor without conducting a full test of all throttle body components first.  Sensors can be expensive components to replace, and it’s always the best practice to check out all connected components of a vehicle system first before replacing parts. 

If the sensor isn’t the root cause of the trouble code, you’ve just wasted time and money with an unnecessary replacement. Worse still, you are back to square one in your quest to discover the actual cause of the trouble code.

How serious is this?

Typically, a P0223 can have a significant impact on vehicle performance. It’s a high priority code that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Not only does it affect power and acceleration, but it also decimates your vehicle’s fuel economy. Take it into a shop for a full diagnostic as soon as possible to avoid breakdowns or being stranded without fuel.

What repairs can fix the code?

Fixing the source of a P0223 has only a few solutions. Here are a few of the potential repairs:

  • Replacing the throttle position sensor
  • Replacing the Engine Control Module
  • Plugging in, repairing, or replacing wiring associated with the throttle position sensor.
  • Repairing or replacing the throttle body
  • Realigning the throttle position sensor

Related codes

  • P0220 – Relates to “Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Malfunction”
  • P0221 – Relates to “Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Range/Performance Problem”
  • P0222 – Relates to “Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Low Input”
  • P0224 – Relates to “Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Intermittent”

Conclusion

All things considered, a P0223 isn’t going to disappear on its own. You will definitely notice a significant difference in how your vehicle handles whether you are driving in the suburbs or on a freeway. Additionally, any time you are driving a vehicle that has an accelerator malfunction, you are risking an accident. Even if you diagnose the issue yourself, realignment of a throttle body is a job for experienced automotive techs. If you see a P0223, take your car to a shop as soon as possible.