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P0317 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

When the P0317 code is detected, the powertrain control module has discovered a variation in the crankshaft position. The vehicle's computer thinks that the reason is because of a bad or uneven road surface.

Meaning

Diagnostic trouble code P0317 is a standard code that indicates an issue with the crankshaft sensor. The powertrain control module believes there to be a problem with how closely the signal from the crankshaft corresponds to the engine RPMs. This can often occur if the throttle position sensor or camshaft sensor are faulty, causing them to give incorrect signals.

The computer in the car thinks that the reason is because of the bad road conditions. When the crankshaft position changes unpredictably owing to the conditions, it will frequently save the code. It may take multiple failure cycles before the code sends out an indication on the Check Engine Light.

Causes

Like many other OBDII trouble codes, the P0317 code is caused by a faulty crankshaft position sensor and or maybe one of the following reasons: 

  • Worn or broken teeth on a timing chain
  • Loose crankshaft pulley bolt
  • Interference between the Crankshaft Position Sensor and other sensors
  • Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor 
  • Defective or disconnected road sensors

Symptoms

The P0317 code will produce a Check Engine Light on the instrument panel/dash and will likely affect:

  • Rough idling
  • A lack of power at high RPMs
  • Stalling
  • Erratic power at various speeds
  • Check Engine Light illumination
  • Excessive black smoke from the tailpipe
  • Crankshaft inconsistency

Diagnosis

P0317 is properly diagnosed with a scan tool capable of sensor readings (not just one from an auto parts store). A qualified technician can read the data from the scan tool to determine when the problem occurred, or if it is still occurring. They may clear the code/light and test drive the vehicle while monitoring data to see if it returns.

Based upon the conditions of the testing, possibly clearing the code and performing a road test, further diagnosis may be required. That may include:

  • Replacing the crankshaft position sensor
  • Replacing the engine timing chain or gears
  • Repositioning the camshaft timing chain or gears
  • Removing foreign objects from around the crankshaft position sensor
  • Inspecting all of the remaining drivetrain components

No codes will be present if a problem is intermittent, which can make pinpointing it more difficult. In that case, a visual inspection may be necessary to determine exactly what is causing interference with signals between sensors. If there are any signs of damage to these components, they should be replaced as soon as possible.

Common mistakes

P0317 is a specific code. It is not generic like most other trouble codes, and differentiating it between similar codes can be difficult. Some of the most common mistakes associated with P0317 include:

  • Repairing an intermittent issue with a 'band-aid fix'
  • Replacing parts without checking the vehicle's history for problems
  • Replacing all of the drivetrain components when chasing a sensor issue
  • Using a scan tool that does not have live data
  • Forcing modules to communicate when they are not ready to do so

How serious is this?

Regardless of the type of vehicle you own, some codes simply need to be fixed as soon as possible. The P0317 code is one of those, and it should always be elevated to a qualified technician for diagnosis and repair.

  • The car's computer thinks the problem is because of bad road conditions.
  • The car's throttle position sensor and camshaft sensors both give incorrect signals which makes it difficult for the computer to decide how best to change the engine RPMs.
  • This can cause stalling or rough idling, possibly causing a lack of power
  • Check engine light comes on, power drops off during acceleration or RPMs drop while accelerating but then return to normal again.

Avoiding the P0317 code may not be easy for some people whose vehicles operate in harsh conditions. If your vehicle is constantly on a rough road, there's a good chance you'll experience issues with the crankshaft position sensor more often than someone who has an easier time navigating smooth roads.

What repairs can fix the code?

The most common potential repairs to address the P0317 code are as follows:

  1. Replacing the crankshaft position sensor
  2. Re-positioning the camshaft timing chain/gears
  3. Removing foreign objects from around the crankshaft position sensor
  4. Inspecting all of the remaining drivetrain components
  5. In some cases, a road test is necessary to determine the most accurate course of action. In others, it isn't possible so a visual inspection will have to be performed instead.

While the P0317 code can be difficult to repair and avoid at times, it does not signify an imminent failure

Replacing a bad road sensor can also be a potential cause for this code. Knowing where your vehicle is typically driven and what conditions will contribute to issues with these components should help you identify problems before they affect engine performance or prevent you from being able to start your car. 

Your qualified technician should recommend repairs based on the findings during diagnosis, but until then, don't expect your car's Check Engine Light to illuminate without reason - have it checked out.

Related codes

The P0317 code could be accompanied by other trouble codes, including:

If you have a P0317 and one of these other codes, the fault is likely with the camshaft or crankshaft sensors. If you have another code, it could be due to a faulty road sensor.

How much does it cost to fix the P0317 code?

Estimated diagnostic cost = $100

Estimated part(s) + labor cost = $300-600

The crankshaft position sensors and camshaft sensors both have a high price tag. A new one may be used, but a remanufactured option may prove to be more cost-efficient depending on how long the old sensor has been in use. Replacing both of these components together is usually not necessary. If you have recently had them replaced or serviced for some other problem, there's no need to worry - this isn't necessarily a recurring issue unless it continues to happen. A new road sensor can also be pricey, but it is usually installed as an upgrade during service done at the dealership. The cost will increase with the addition of labor expenses.

This is not a common code - it may indicate one or more underlying problems in your vehicle's engine, drivetrain, or catalytic converter. 

Conclusion

The P0317 code can be difficult to detect and fix, especially if you're unfamiliar with the ins and outs of your engine. Understanding what this code means and how it can affect your vehicle's performance will help you pinpoint problems before they've escalated to a more advanced stage. If you see your Check Engine Light come on, don't delay - contact your service center for diagnostic services.

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