P0016: Crankshaft Position – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1 Sensor A)

Your check engine light turns on, throwing the P0016 code? Well, that’s an alert, signaling troubles in your car engine timing. But, what next? 

Let’s take a brief look at the information below.

  • P0016 Definition: Crankshaft Position – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1 Sensor A).
  • Code Type: Generic – P0016 indicates the same problem whether you’re having a Chevy, Dodge, or Ford, etc.       
  • Can I drive with the P0016 code? No, keeping driving can cause more damage to the engine.
  • Easy to fix? DIY to advanced levels.
  • Cost: $30 – $150 (common)

Due to its severity, most people get confused and frightened when they see the P0016 code. Stay calm, I will tackle this error code in-depth, including its causes, diagnosis, symptoms, and quick solutions in this article.

Let’s dive in for more details!

What Does The P0016 Code Mean?

P0016 code stands for Crankshaft Position – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1 Sensor A). This indicates that the engine timing is having problems resulting from the misalignment in the crankshaft and camshaft positions.

  • Bank 1: Means that the problem is on the engine side containing cylinder 1.
  • Sensor A: Indicates that the issue is affecting the intake camshaft side.

Crankshaft Vs. Camshaft

The crankshaft and camshaft are connected with a timing chain located at the end of the engine. 

  • Camshaft: control the valves, which allow the air-fuel mixture to enter the combustion chamber and release the burnt exhaust gas. 
  • Crankshaft: Harness the engine’s torque to rotate the camshaft.

These two shafts must have perfect timing for optimum control of the combustion. If the correlation is off, it leads to power loss, engine overheating, misfire, etc. 

Engine Timing

To prevent the correlation from going off, the engine timing must be controlled with the help of various parts:

  • Timing belt/chain.
  • VVT sprocket.
  • Timing belt tensioner.
  • Oil control valves.
  • Camshafts and crankshafts solenoid.
  • Camshafts and crankshafts.

In case any of the above parts goes wrong, it leads to the P0016 code popping up.

Other related trouble codes of P0016 include P0017, P0008, P0014, P0009, and P0019.

P0016 causes, symptoms and fixes

P0016 Causes Identification: Quick View

There are various causes of the P0016 DTC. Usually, a faulty camshaft/crankshaft position sensor is the main one.

In most cases, you may see the P0016 only, but sometimes, it may occur in combination with other related codes. Check the table below to understand those specific combinations and their specific causes.

Codes CombinationCausesSolutions
P0016 onlyFaulty or damaged timing chain /belt

Faulty camshaft/crankshaft position sensor

Damaged wiring/ connectors to crank /cam sensor

Faulty oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Damaged timing belt /chain tensioner

Slipped or broken cam/crank sensor tone ring

Dirty/ Low engine oil

Bad CMP actuator/intake VVT sprocket (phaser)

Bad PCM (rare)
Fix/Replace timing chain /belt

Replace camshaft/crankshaft position sensor

Replace wiring/ connectors to crank /cam sensor

Replace oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Replace timing belt /chain tensioner

Change the cam/crank sensor tone ring

Change/Add engine oil/ Clean oil filter/oil cap

Fix CMP actuator/exhaust VVT sprocket

Replace PCM
P0016 + P0017 + P0018 + P0019
Faulty timing chain/belt

Faulty oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Faulty camshaft/crankshaft position sensor

Fix/Replace timing chain/belt

Replace oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Replace camshaft/crankshaft position sensor

Replace PCM
P0016 + P0344Faulty camshaft position sensor

Damaged timing belt /chain tensioner

Faulty oil control valve (VVT solenoid)
Replace camshaft position sensor

Replace timing belt /chain tensioner

Replace oil control valve (VVT solenoid)
P0016 + P000BDirty/Low/Wrong engine oil

Faulty timing chain/belt

Faulty oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Faulty camshaft/crankshaft position sensor
Change/Add engine oil/Replace oil filter

Fix/Replace timing chain/belt

Replace oil control valve (VVT solenoid)

Replace camshaft/crankshaft position sensor
P0016 + P0340Faulty camshaft position sensor

Damaged wiring/ connectors to cam sensor

Slipped or broken cam sensor tone ring
Replace camshaft position sensor

Replace wiring/ connectors to cam sensor

Change the cam sensor tone ring
P0016 + P0299Faulty timing chain/beltFix/Replace timing chain/belt
P0016 + P0399Faulty crankshaft position sensor

Faulty timing chain/belt

Damaged timing belt /chain tensioner
Replace crankshaft position sensor

Fix/Replace timing chain/belt

Replace timing belt /chain tensioner

P0016: Causes, Symptoms, And How To Fix

Although the causes of P0016 may show varying symptoms, here are the most common ones that you should look out for.

  • Check engine light on
  • Poor car engine performance
  • High fuel consumption
  • Engine hard start
  • Rattling sounds from the engine 

The onset of these signs needs quick action. So, keep reading to learn more about the causes and what to do if you encounter one.

Cause #1: Faulty Timing Chain/Belt

The timing belt/chain helps in synchronizing the crankshaft and the camshaft timing. 

For some reason, the timing chain/belt may skip a few teeth, putting the cam and crank out of sync. 

Faulty timing chain/belt symptoms:

  • Loss of power when the car is cruising (Timing chain/belt skipped one tooth).
  • Knocking sounds from the engine (Timing chain/belt skipped two teeth). 
  • Can’t start, no pressure when doing a compression test (Timing chain/belt skipped three teeth). 
  • P0016 may appear alone or come along with P0299, P0399, P000B, P0017, P0018, or P0019.

If this is your case, replacing the faulty timing chain/belt will solve the problem. Having that job done is not complex because no special mechanic experience is needed. 

Replacing a timing belt is not quite a complicated job. With the thorough instruction from Mr. Scotty Kilmer, you can totally do it by yourself to save some money.

Cause #2: Faulty Camshaft/Crankshaft Position Sensor

The camshaft/crankshaft position sensors are responsible for monitoring the cam and crank position.

When one of these sensors get faulty, it conveys inaccurate data, leading to mismatched ignition timing and fuel delivery. The PCM sets up the P0016 code to signal this problem.

Faulty camshaft/crankshaft position sensor symptoms: 

  • Engine vibrations and misfire
  • Gear shifting problems
  • Engine stalling
  • Rough idling

To solve this problem, you need to replace the camshaft/crankshaft position sensor. Bear in mind that you should choose the OEM parts for the best result.

Let’s find out how Danny from O’Reilly Auto Parts replaced a Camshaft Position Sensor!
If you want to replace a Crankshaft Position Sensor on your own, watch this video right away! Chris will show you how to do it step by step.

Cause #3: Damaged Wiring/Connectors To Crank/Cam Sensor

The wiring/connector linking to the crank/cam sensor can be burnt, unplugged, or shorted. As a result, the functions of the sensor and other engine timing parts are compromised, triggering P0016. Note that the DTC may appear as P0016 only or as P0016+P0344. 

Damaged wiring/connectors to crank/cam sensor symptoms:

  • Ignition problems
  • Poor idling
  • Failure in tachometer
  • Engine misfiring

If the wires are unplugged, locate and plug them in to fix the issue. However, you should replace the wiring/connectors to the crank/cam sensor if they are shorted, burnt or their insulation is damaged.

Cause #4: Faulty Oil Control Valve (VVT Solenoid)

Oil control valve’s function is to alter the camshaft rotation, giving the engine better performance at different RPMs. This component is only available if your engine has the variable valve technology (VVT.)

If a faulty oil control valve is the culprit, either the car has poor gas mileage at low RPM or lack of power at WOT. 

Besides, the P0016 may show alone or in combination with P000B, P0017, P0018, P0019, or P0344.

Replacing the oil control valve (VVT solenoid) should fix the problem. This process is not difficult and you can do that right in your garage. 

Cause #5: Damaged Timing Belt/Chain Tensioner

Over time, the timing belt/chain material wears out and gets overstretched, causing it to fail. 

For that reason, a timing chain/belt tensioner is used to keep the timing belt/chain more tightened. 

engine timing components
A tensioner is supposed to tighten timing chain/belt. The P0016 code displayed on the OBD scanner may result from a faulty tensioner.

If the timing chain/belt tensioner gets damaged, the timing chain/belt becomes loose. This will cause engine timing problems, which the PCM will detect and set up P0016 to send signals of the issue.

Similarly, this cause can trigger a combination of the P0016 code with P0399 or P0344. 

In this case, you need to replace the timing belt/chain tensioner. 

Cause #6: Slipped Or Broken Cam/Crank Sensor Tone Ring

Due to the crank rotation impact, the sensor tone ring may get loosened, damaged, or fail to shear the key aligning them. Sometimes, the DTC can occur as P0016 only or as P0016 + P0340.

If your cam/crank sensor tone ring is the culprit, replacing it is the best option to go for eradiating the code.

Cause #7: Dirty/Low/Wrong Engine Oil

Dirty engine oil is a common cause of faulty oil control valves. This happens when the debris builds up, thus blocking the valves. 

Similarly, low/wrong engine oil can also affect the engine timing. If the oil has a wrong viscosity, the camshaft phaser fails to work right. 

Either way, dirty/low/wrong engine oil affects the engine timing badly, which triggers the P0016 and sometimes P0016+P000B.

engine oil color and level
Have a brief look at this picture to determine the oil condition in you car and take action needed immediately.

If this happens, flush the engine oil and ensure that you use compatible engine oil to avoid the same mistake. 

Cause #8: Bad CMP Actuator/Exhaust VVT Sprocket

Most vehicles use the CMP actuators/exhaust VVT sprocket to change the cam position and advance or retard the valve timing. If it goes bad, it will cause the crankshaft and camshaft to misalign. 

Since the PCM controls the VVT solenoids that apply oil pressure on the actuator, it will detect the change and set up the P0016 code. In this case, a replacement of the CMP actuator/exhaust VVT sprocket is needed to solve the P0016 code error.

Cause #9: Bad PCM (Rare)

Once every possible cause of P0016 DTC is checked out, a bad PCM remains the only culprit. Similarly, this issue can trigger a combination of P0016 with P0017, P0018, and P0019. 

The problem occurs once the PCM fails to control the engine ignition and spark, though it is rare. However, if it happens, the PCM is a complicated part that requires you to have a qualified mechanic to fix it. The mechanic can decide either to reprogram the PCM or replace it, depending on the severity of the problem.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix The Code P0016?

The cost of fixing the P0016 code depends on whether you are doing it yourself or using mechanic services. DIY will cost you a few dollars. For example, replacing a camshaft/crankshaft position sensor costs $25-$100.

The mechanic services are usually charged depending on the working hours, costing about $95 – $200. However, the cost of hiring a mechanic will vary, considering factors such as mechanic rates, car model, your location, etc.

The Estimated Repair Cost Of P0016

SolutionsRepair cost
Replacing the faulty timing chain/beltDIY: $20- $150
Mechanic: $95- $200
Replacing faulty or damaged camshaft/crankshaft position sensorDIY: $20- $100
Mechanic: $95- $200
Replacing damaged wiring/ connectors to crank/cam sensor
DIY: $15- $50
Mechanic: $100- $250
Replacing bad oil control valve (VVT solenoid)
DIY: $20- $150
Mechanic: $210- $250
Replacing damaged timing belt/chain tensioner
DIY: $20- $200
Mechanic: $500- $2,000
Replacing slipped or broken cam/crank sensor tone ring
DIY: $20-$100
Mechanic: $95- $200
Changing dirty/Low engine oilDIY: $20- $70
Mechanic: $40- $120
Replacing faulty CMP actuator/exhaust VVT sprocketDIY: Not recommended
Mechanic: $450 to $1630
Replacing bad PCMDIY: Not recommended
Mechanic: $1,000 to $3,000

Note: The data in this table was collected in June 2022. The actual price depends on many factors, such as your car’s make and year, mechanic’s rate, etc.

You Ask, I Answer

Hopefully, this guide helps you understand why you see the P0016 code displaying on a scanner tool. 

I’m willing to answer any questions you have related to this code. Keep the question coming in the comment box below. 

Also, you can share your experience if you had the P0016 code before, including what you did to fix it.

Safe driving! 

Read more: The 9 Best OBD2 Scanners for 2024: The Only Review You Need