How does a P0017 code happen, and what can you do to fix it? When you get a P0017 engine code, it indicates that your crankshaft and camshaft are misaligned. The full code description is “Camshaft Position B – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1),” meaning this misalignment involves cylinder 1 in your engine and the exhaust camshaft side, where sensor B is located.

When you see this error code in your car, it's vital to address it as soon as possible, as it can cause backfiring while driving and a low-power system that prevents you from driving at regular speeds — or driving anywhere at all. The longer you wait to address it, the more likely it is to cause other issues in your vehicle. StockWise Auto is ready to help you understand this code and how you can fix it and get back on the road.

What Causes the P0017 Code?

Both the camshaft and the crankshaft play important roles in igniting your engine and keeping it running properly. Within an engine cylinder, your crankshaft connects to your camshaft through a chain, belt or gears. Each camshaft has several carefully constructed "cam lobes," which open and close the valves to the combustion chamber at the correct time while it rotates.

The crankshaft also connects to pistons, which give it the power to turn itself and the camshaft in time. This entire process must be timed perfectly for your vehicle to run as expected. Eventually, though, parts can wear, and the timing can get off track. When that happens, the sensors on the spinning shafts detect that something is off, leading to the P0017 code or similar ones.

Engine code P0017 can occur for many reasons, such as: 

  • Failed camshaft position sensors: If your sensors cannot transport data as quickly as they need to, they can disrupt the fuel ignition timing.
  • Damaged or corroded electrical connections: A loss of power or power connections can prevent your vehicle from running or accelerating.
  • Timing chain misalignments: The timing chain may have fallen out of position or may not be holding the correct tension to keep up with other operations.
  • Engine oil issues: Your engine oil may have clogged some of the system or may not be properly lubricating certain parts.
  • A malfunctioning variable valve timing system: The camshaft and crankshaft may not be in the right position relative to one another to function correctly.

Symptoms of the P0017 Code

Even before you run a code test, you may suspect a P0017 error if:

  • Your engine idles roughly.
  • Your acceleration is slow or unable to pass a certain threshold.
  • The engine stalls or misfires.

When you notice any of these symptoms, it's best to get off the road as soon as possible and run a diagnostic test to confirm this error. These symptoms could also indicate similar errors — codes P0016 through P0019 can all signal a certain error in crankshaft-camshaft malalignment.

Diagnosis and Repair

Every mechanic has tried and true methods to check for a P0017 engine code, and with the right tools and base knowledge, you may be able to diagnose the issue yourself. With modern technology, the easiest way to check for this error is with a scan tool that reads error codes from the engine. It can give you detailed information about what went wrong, providing a good idea of how to fix it.

If you don't possess such a scanner, you can seek answers manually. When you pop the hood of your vehicle, start by:

  • Inspecting the camshaft position sensors to ensure they're functioning properly
  • Testing your engine oil's quality and pressure
  • Testing your timing chains to see if they're aligned correctly

Noticing something amiss in these areas is a good indication that it's time to get to work and fix the issue causing your error code.

Common Repairs for the P0017 Code

Since there are quite a few ways to trigger the P0017 engine code, there's no one fix to resolve it. However, if you do know the cause, you can bypass much of the troubleshooting and pick the solution that counters your problem. Some of the most common ways mechanics fix this code are through:

  • Performing an oil change
  • Repairing or replacing the timing chains
  • Repairing or replacing damaged components in the variable valve timing system
  • Fixing the sensors or other electrical connections

How to Prevent the P0017 Code

Depending on the issue causing this error, fixing a P0017 code can cost less than $50 or more than $1,000, even if you complete the work yourself. With that in mind, it's best to avoid causing the error at all by taking preventive measures that may keep this issue from throwing a wrench in your day. Take precautions to prevent this from happening again by:

  • Getting regular maintenance and oil changes: Preventive maintenance is the number one way to stop a P0017 code or any other code from unexpectedly appearing. By staying up to date on inspections, oil changes and part replacements, you or your mechanic can see when parts are starting to wear or may be nearing time for replacement.
  • Following OEM guidelines for part replacements: Every part in your vehicle has a certain life span. It's best to know how long each part lasts and when you'll need to replace it. You can replace the parts before they cause a breakdown or error code or at least have the tools on hand to fix them if they do cause issues on the road.
  • Addressing engine issues immediately: Some codes are unavoidable. Whether your check engine light flashes on or your car begins to stall, misfire or otherwise not run properly, getting your vehicle examined as soon as possible is key in keeping repairs minimal. 

Our Final Thoughts

A P0017 engine code can have causes ranging from impure engine oil to timing chain wear and tear, and the solutions are just as varied. That's why it's important to get your vehicle examined (or for you to examine it yourself) as soon as your check engine light comes on. Many of the possible repairs are challenging even for experienced mechanics, so it is always a good idea to get this code examined by a professional before taking on any of the work yourself.

By rectifying this error right away, you can prevent further issues from showing up and quickly get back to coasting on the open road. With your camshaft position sensors freshly aligned with your crankshaft and the rest of this system, your engine performance can reach its peak and give you the best on- and off-road handling.

Shop for Parts With Confidence at StockWise Auto

At StockWise Auto, we keep our selection of vehicle parts and tools full and up to date so that you can fix a P0017 code or any other code that keeps you or your customers from doing what you love — driving. You'll find thousands of OEM parts for nearly any car on the market in our catalog, along with all the auxiliary tools you need to diagnose and treat common codes and conditions.

Shop our collections today, or contact us to learn more about how you can start remedying code P0017 now.