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Summary
  • Trouble code P0197 is set when the oil temperature sensor is unable to send the correct signals to the powertrain control module (PCM).
  • Aside from a faulty oil temperature sensor, the computer can log a P0197 when the engine overheats.
  • There are no other symptoms for this code other than an illuminated check engine light.

The powertrain control module (PCM) uses the signal from the engine oil temperature sensor to calculate various operating parameters. If the PCM receives an incorrect signal from the sensor, on-board diagnostics will log a P0197 trouble code.

What Does the P0197 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0197 stands for “Engine Oil Temperature Sensor Circuit Low.”

Excessively high or low oil temperatures can mean trouble for any engine. If the engine oil is too cold, it won’t be able to flow through the oil passages, leaving engine parts unlubricated. Meanwhile, extremely hot temperatures exceeding 300°F could make the oil run thin and result in poor film strength. This means the oil won’t be strong enough to prevent metal-to-metal friction.

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car oil temperature gauge monitoring oil temperature
Excessively high or low oil temperatures can mean trouble for any engine.

To prevent these from happening, the engine oil temperature sensor needs to send the right information to the PCM. This sensor is used in many General Motors vehicles and usually provides input to the oil life monitoring system. Oil temperature, run time, and revolutions per minute (RPM) are used to calculate engine oil life.

Note: The definition of code P0197 might be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.

What are the Common Causes of the P0197 Code?

What are the Common Symptoms of the P0197 Code?

How to Diagnose the P0197 Code

DTC P0197 is a generic powertrain code that vehicles with an OBD-II system can log. While this might be the case, keep in mind that the steps for diagnosis and repair can vary, depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.

Diagnosing trouble codes usually involves the use of a scan tool and inspecting the affected system for any signs of damage. If you’re not familiar with how the process works, you can always have a certified mechanic do the job for you. Otherwise, you can go ahead and do it yourself.

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To help you out, here’s a short video that shows what the process usually involves.

How to Fix the P0197 Code

Attempting to fix a P0197 code can be frustrating and confusing without the right tools and technical information on automotive repair. If done incorrectly, it can even lead to further complications and expensive repair costs. So if you’re not confident with your DIY skills yet, it’s best to leave the job to the pros to ensure that all steps and protocols are followed correctly.

But if you have some experience in dealing with trouble codes, then you already know that there’s no such thing as a magic fix that will resolve all codes for all makes and models. Aside from having the necessary equipment, successfully fixing your vehicle will also rely on whether or not you have the right repair information.

So before you begin, make sure to check out guides like those from Chilton or an ALLDATA subscription to get vehicle-specific repair information.

Where to Get a New Engine Oil Temperature Sensor for Your Vehicle

Driving with an oil temperature outside of the normal range could mean trouble. And without a functioning engine oil temperature sensor, you won’t know if you’re causing serious damage to your daily driver.

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Stay on top of your repair needs with the help of CarParts.com. We have a great selection of OE-grade engine oil temperature sensors from the most trusted aftermarket brands today. Find the right oil temperature sensor with only a few clicks using our website’s vehicle selector. Simply enter your vehicle’s specifications, and browse a catalog of compatible sensors for your ride.

Order now, and check out securely in a matter of minutes. Thanks to our strategically located warehouses across the US, you can get your product delivered straight to your doorstep in as fast as two business days. Also, you never worry about going over budget when you shop from us. All our products come with a low-price and lifetime replacement guarantee, helping you get the best value for your money.

Don’t miss out on the best deals on the market, and shop for an engine oil temperature sensor today!

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Contact Center Manager and Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

William “Bill” Guzenski has produced hundreds of how-to videos for the automotive community. He’s an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician, and is affiliated with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). He loves attending race events and car shows throughout the country, as well as traveling in his 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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