What Does the Engine Code P0013 Mean?

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A P0013 engine code means that your variable valve timing (VVT) solenoid or the solenoid control circuit has worn out or been damaged. You need to have your vehicle inspected by a professional right away to prevent further engine damage or a breakdown while driving.
Engine codes—also known as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs)—are a way for your car’s computer to let you and your mechanic know there’s a problem with the engine. To read DTCs, you’ll need an OBD-II code reader, but any reputable mechanic should have one on hand.
You’ll need to know the meaning behind the engine code to properly locate the source of the problem and find a solution. Fortunately, the car insurance broker app Jerry can help you do just that. With this article, you’ll find out what your P0013 engine code means, what causes it, and how much the repairs are likely to cost you.
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What does the engine code P0013 mean?

Definition: Exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid control circuit (Bank 1)
The engine code P0013 means that there’s an issue with the solenoid that controls the oil flow to the exhaust actuator. These solenoids are vital components in variable valve timing (VVT) engines that help improve engine performance and fuel economy.

How much will it cost to fix?

If it’s only the exhaust solenoid that needs replacing, expect to pay $20 to $60 for the part, depending on the make and model of your car.
It should take a skilled mechanic no more than an hour to diagnose the problem. Since labor rates vary by location and vehicle make and model, expect a cost of $75 to $150 per hour.
In total, expect a bill of $95 to $210 or more, depending on the exact nature of the problem and the time it takes to replace the part in question.

What can cause the P0013 engine code?

P0013 engine codes are caused by exhaust camshaft actuator solenoids not moving oil properly to exhaust the engine at the needed rate. Often, the cause of this is dirty engine oil blocking the VVT solenoid screen.
The exhaust camshaft actuator solenoid controls the flow of oil to the actuator. The actuator, in turn, speeds or slows the camshaft, allowing exhaust to exit the engine at different rates. In most engines, this process functions at a fixed rate—but engines with a VVT system can alter this rate to increase performance and fuel economy.
Other possible causes of a P0013 engine code are:
  • The exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid harness is open or shorted
  • The exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid circuit has a poor electrical connection
  • Your car has a faulty engine control module (ECM)

Common symptoms of the P0013 engine code

One of the earliest signs of a P0013 engine code is the check engine light turning on. Other signs to be on the lookout for include:
  • Performance issues
  • Poor mileage
  • A rattling noise coming from your engine
If the exhaust solenoid is severely worn or damaged, your car may also begin to stall or have difficulty starting the engine.

How serious is the P0013 engine code? 

Since P0013 engine codes relate to a basic function of your car’s engine, you need to fix the issue as soon as possible.
At best, an unresolved P0013 engine code will lead to your car becoming unreliable to drive. At worst, it means damage to your engine and an expensive mechanic bill. It’s always best to fix an engine problem before it becomes several problems.

Can I fix the P0013 engine code myself?

Unless you have extensive knowledge of engines and feel confident about your mechanic’s skills, it’s best to take your vehicle to a professional. While the problem could be as simple as cleaning off the VVT solenoid screen and changing the oil, there might be other problems that you’re missing.

Inspecting the exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid

If you have the needed know-how and want to check your engine for a quick fix you can do at home, follow these steps:
  • Inspect the wiring harness and connectors of the solenoid
  • Check for damaged components
  • Look for broken, bent, pushed out, or corroded connector’s pins
If you don’t find any issues with the components or if the engine code is still present after you’ve replaced the parts, you need a mechanic.

Finding insurance for your vehicle

Fixing a P0013 engine code can be difficult, but insuring your car doesn’t have to be.
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