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Car diagnostic codes have been standardized to help mechanics and car owners find out what is wrong with a vehicle. To resolve a certain code, you’ll have to first find out what that code means and determine the issue that’s causing it.

If you’re looking for ways to fix a P0013 code, read on for more information on its definition, causes, and symptoms.

What Does the P0013 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0013 stands for “Exhaust “B” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit/Open (Bank 1). It’s a generic OBD-II code that relates to the variable valve timing (VVT)—also known as variable camshaft timing—components.

repairing camshaft
Issues with variable valve timing (VVT) components can trigger code P0013.

In a traditional engine, valve timing is fixed. But in an engine with VVT, the camshaft position can be adjusted, thereby altering valve timing. The result is improved performance, increased fuel economy, or both.

The primary components within the VVT system are the camshaft actuators (also known as phasers) and the VVT solenoids (also known as camshaft position actuator solenoid valves).

The camshaft position actuator solenoid valve controls the oil flow to the actuator, which in turn, advances or retards the camshaft.

Solenoid operation is controlled by the car’s primary computer, also known as the powertrain control module or PCM. The P0013 code gets logged if it perceives a problem with the camshaft actuator solenoid or its circuit.

Several Chevrolet vehicles are prone to P0013 including the Chevy Malibu, Equinox, Captiva, Cobalt, and HHR.

What are the Possible Causes of the P0013 Code?

Manufacturers may have different names for the P0013 code, and the possible causes may differ depending on the make and model of your car.

Here are the most common causes of an exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid valve control circuit problem or code P0013:

  • Bad VVT solenoid (aka oil control valve)
  • Problems with the VVT solenoid control circuit
  • Issues with the PCM, such as a pending software update
fuel gauge on a car dashboard
Poor mileage is one of the common signs of code P0013.

What are the Common Symptoms of the P0013 Code?

A bad camshaft position actuator solenoid valve control circuit often comes with symptoms that you should never ignore or prolong.

With a P0013, here are the signs you should watch out for:

  • Problems starting the engine
  • Poor mileage
  • Engine running rough
  • Engine performance issues
  • Engine hesitates and stalls
  • Rattling noise from the engine

How to Diagnose the P0013 Code

To resolve the P0013 error code, you’ll need to determine its exact cause, which can prove challenging. If you are not confident with your DIY automotive repair skills, it’s best to leave the task to your trusted mechanic. Otherwise, you can track down the code and determine what’s causing it by performing your own diagnosis.

To get an idea of how to pinpoint the cause of your P0013 code, watch this helpful video:

How to Fix the P0013 Code

Because various issues can trigger the P0013 code, it can be quite difficult to resolve it. The solution varies based on its exact cause and the vehicle’s make and model.

For example, the documented solutions to a P0013 code in a Chevy Equinox include replacing the exhaust camshaft actuator solenoid and intake camshaft actuator solenoid or replacing just the former. However, these Chevy fixes for a P0013 aren’t universal and may not work for other makes and models that experience this code.

If you are confident with your automotive know-how, you can address the issue yourself by doing some research—perform an accurate diagnosis, then do some research on potential fixes for your specific vehicle.

You can rely on online auto repair resources and guides, such as an ALLDATA subscription, and check your owner’s manual to identify the best way to resolve the P0013 code.

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Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic.

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