What Does the Engine Code C0036 Mean?

A C0036 engine code indicates that there is a problem with your left rear tone wheel. The tone wheel is a part of your ABS and will need to be fixed right away.
Written by Holden Easterbrook
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The engine code C0036 is an indication of debris build-up or damage to your left rear tone wheel. The tone wheel is a vital component of your anti-lock brake system (ABS), so it needs to be inspected by a professional immediately.
Engine codes, or diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), are how your vehicle communicates that there is a problem and where to begin looking for the source. To access and read DTCs, you need an OBD-II code reader. While most drivers don’t have one of these devices laying around their garage, any reputable mechanic will have one handy.
To begin fixing your vehicle, you need to understand the meaning behind the engine code. To help you do that,
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With this guide to help you, you’ll have a better grasp of what a C0036 engine code means, what can trigger it, and how much fixing the problem is likely to cost you.
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What does the engine code C0036 mean?

Definition: Left Rear Tone Wheel
Engine code C0036 is flagged when the tone wheel attached to the half shaft of your left rear wheel is no longer functioning to factory standards. Though small in size, tone wheels help your vehicle’s ABS accurately gauge your speed and level of traction.

How much will it cost to fix?

If the cause of the engine code is a worn or damaged tone wheel, a replacement part will cost $10-$50. Prices may be higher or lower, based on the make and model of your car.
Diagnosing a C0036 engine code and replacing an old tone wheel should take no longer than an hour. Expect to pay $75-$150 per hour for labor, since rates vary by location.
In total, it will cost between $85 and $200 to resolve a C0036 engine code. However, the repair bill may be higher if the tone wheel is not to blame for the DTC.

What can cause the C0036 engine code?

C0036 engine codes are caused by tone wheels not rotating correctly and giving the vehicle’s ABS incorrect speed and traction data as a result. More often than not, this is caused by debris building on or damaging the tone wheel.
The tone wheel is how your vehicle estimates the speed of a wheel’s rotation and whether it has traction or has become locked. Without the tone wheel providing accurate and reliable data, your vehicle’s ABS cannot function to factory and safety standards.
C0036 engine codes can also be caused by:
  • A faulty tone wheel
  • An open or shorted tone wheel harness
  • A poor electrical connection to the tone wheel circuit
MORE: How to dispute your mechanic bill

Common symptoms of the C0036 engine code

More often than not, the first sign of a C0036 engine code will be when the check engine warning light activates. However, due to its importance to the functioning of your ABS, the ABS warning light may be the first to come on.

How serious is the C0036 engine code? 

The data that tone wheels provide to your ABS is critical for it to function correctly. As a result, a C0036 engine code needs to be inspected and fixed right away.
If you have an unreliable tone wheel, then you have an unreliable ABS. For your safety and the safety of other drivers, do not delay taking your vehicle to a professional mechanic.

Can I fix the C0036 engine code myself?

Tackling a C0036 engine code is no small feat, and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone lacking professional experience as a mechanic. Even if you can replace the old tone wheel, you may miss other problems your vehicle is experiencing.

Inspecting the left rear tone wheel

If you have the know-how and want to try remedying the engine code yourself, follow these steps:
  • Inspect the tone wheel’s wiring harness and connectors
  • Check for damaged parts
  • Look for broken, bent, pushed out, or corroded connector’s pins
If the engine code is still present after you’ve attempted these repairs, you need to take your vehicle to a mechanic right away.
MORE: How to do summer car maintenance

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