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P1217 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.


P1217 is an OBD-II Code that refers to Engine Temperature Condition


A P1217 code is a generic diagnostic trouble code which refers to the engine is or was overheating, and should be turned off as soon as possible. This occurs when the engine coolant is excessively hot at a normal engine operation. When this happens, a malfunction is indicated and a P1217 code is set.


Common causes for this code include:

  • The cooling fan circuit has a faulty connection
  • The cooling fan motor is faulty
  • Open or shorted cooling fan harness
  • Radiator hose that is leaking
  • Leaks or clogged radiator
  • Thermostat is Faulty
  • Damaged Radiator cap or missing
  • Water pump leak or damage
  • Faulty ECM (rare)


The symptoms of a P1217 code are:

  • Power Loss
  • Engine shut off to prevent severe damage from High Temperatures
  • Coolant levels go low
  • Engine compartment steam or smoke may be seen
  • Boiling noises coming from the engine compartment
  • Coolant is expelled from radiator or reservoir
  • If the cooling system has been over pressurized, the coolant may combust throughout the system.
  • On some cars, a broken air conditioner (PCM shuts down the A/C to reduce engine load as a result of overheating)


To diagnose a P1217 DTC code, a technician would:

  1. Scan for codes in the ECM and look at the freeze frame data to determine the conditions under which the DTC was set.
  2. Closely inspect for any leaks, removing lines and testing each component with a water hose to see if there are any results.
  3. If no evidence of cooling system leakage is found, then check the cooling fan for continuity or resistance with an ohmmeter.
  4. Check related sensors for proper function.
  5. Check for inlet air leaks that would decrease the efficiency of the radiator.
  6. Check for an adequate coolant charge, low coolant level, and proper antifreeze concentration is met per manufacture’s specifications.
  7. If no other problems are found, replace the ECM if applicable.

Common mistakes

The following are some of the most common mistakes that a technician may make when diagnosing a P1217 code:

  • Not properly identifying the cause of the problem when using Freeze Frame Data
  • Not properly testing the sensor/components with a water hose to see if there are any results. 
  • Not inspecting for leaks, and not properly repairing all leaks
  • Not replacing components when necessary (like fan motor or radiator cap)
  • Overcharging the coolant system without verifying adequate coolant concentration in the system.

How serious is this?

A P1217 code is considered to be a High Priority code because it can lead to Engine temperature shutdown. If this happens, the engine may suffer severe damage if not repaired in a timely manner.

What repairs can fix the code?

The following are solutions that may fix this problem:

  • Replace the temperature sensor in the coolant system
  • Deal with coolant leaks; repair leaking components, radiator hoses, especially the radiator, thermostat, thermostat housing, heater hoses, water pump, head gasket or heater core
  • Replace or repair wiring associated with the coolant temperature sensor that is faulty
  • The repair of a damaged fan clutch or electric cooling fan
  • Repair the wiring linked with a faulty electric cooling fan
  • On the car, perform a high-pressure coolant flush
  • Replace the PCM (rare)

Related codes

A P1217 is related to and may be accompanied by the following codes:

P0480 Cooling Fan Primary Circuit Malfunction

P0490 Cooling Fan Secondary Circuit Low

P1210 Primary Heater Circuit Malfunction 

P1211 Secondary Heater Circuit Malfunction 

U0100 Lost Communication


In conclusion, the P1217 code is a diagnostic trouble code that refers to a High Temperature Condition, which may cause Engine temperature shutdown. The code is a High Priority code that should be repaired in a timely manner to prevent further engine damage or potential engine failure.