What Does the Engine Code P0601 Mean?

If your car is showing the P0601 engine code, there’s likely a problem with the internal control memory of your powertrain control module.
Written by Talullah Blanco
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If the P0601 engine code is displayed on your car’s dashboard, your powertrain control module likely failed the memory checksum test. This code indicates a memory problem with the brain of your car and should be fixed soon. 
Diagnostic trouble codes detect and indicate the likely problem with your vehicle. If a diagnostic trouble code is displayed on your dashboard, it’s important for you to understand what the engine code means so you can determine the source of the problem, assess the urgency, and find a solution. 
With over 5,000 diagnostic trouble codes, it’s impossible to memorize the meaning of each one. Luckily, the
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has compiled everything you need to know about the P0601 engine code—from what it means to how to deal with it and how much it costs to fix.
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What does the engine code P0601 mean?

Definition: Control module read-only memory
Engine code P0601 indicates a problem with the memory of your car’s powertrain control module, which is the brain of your car. It manages the engine, transmission, and other systems based on the information it receives from sensors throughout your vehicle. 

How much will it cost to fix?

If you need to replace or reprogram your car’s PCM, the total price could be between $800 and $1,500, depending on the labor cost, model of your car, and engine type. 

What can cause the P0601 engine code?

If the P0601 is displayed on your dashboard, it is likely the PCM is not functioning properly and failed its memory checksum test. 
The PCM memory checksum test is performed regularly to ensure the reliability of your car’s brain. The internal control memory of your PCM stores all of the operational calculations and operating system software. If this part of your PCM has issues, then it won’t work properly.
Other potential causes of the P0601 engine code are:
  • Faulty powertrain control module
  • Powertrain control module harness is open or shorted
  • Poor circuit electrical connection
  • Low battery voltage

Common symptoms of the P0601 engine code

Likely, you won’t see any symptoms of the P0601 engine code, apart from the
illuminated check engine light
If your PCM failed the memory checksum test, then you may have trouble starting your car or your vehicle won’t start at all.

How serious is the P0601 engine code? 

Because the P0601 engine code indicates a problem with your car’s brain, you’ll want to deal with the issue sooner rather than later. If you don’t repair or replace your PCM, your car will continue experiencing driveability issues and will eventually break down

Can I fix the P0601 engine code myself?

If your car is showing the P0601 engine code, bring it to a professional for diagnostic inspection and repairs. 
Fixing your P0601 engine code will likely require you to repair or replace the PCM in your car.  The PCM repair process varies depending on the
make and model
of your car. Replacing your PCM will require programming, which you can’t do without the necessary equipment. 
Fixing the P0601 engine code is not a straightforward task and should not be repaired at home.

Replacing the powertrain control module

If you need to replace your powertrain control module, your mechanic will likely do it in the following steps:
  • Remove the studs on both the driver’s and passenger’s sides of the car
  • Remove the nut and the racket on the passenger’s side 
  • Disconnect the three wiring connectors and remove the PCM
  • Install and program the new PCM to your car’s factory settings

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