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Summary
  • Code P0303 stands for “Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected” which indicates that there have been numerous misfires in engine cylinder 3.
  • P0303 is typically caused by problems with the ignition system, faulty fuel injectors, or damage to the engine.
  • The most common symptoms of a P0303 are a lit check engine light, acceleration issues, and poor vehicle performance.

A misfire occurs when there is an insufficient amount of fuel burning in a cylinder. Since the way the engine runs relies heavily on the proper functioning of its cylinders, a misfire can cause big problems. That’s why the OBD-II code P0303 is considered a serious issue and should be addressed immediately.

Find out what you need to know about this trouble code.

Car engine cylinder head taken out to be repaired
The P0303 code belongs to a series of diagnostic trouble codes starting from P0300 that refer to an engine misfire or incomplete combustion in one of the engine cylinders.

What Does the P0303 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0303 stands for “Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected.” The code indicates that the powertrain control module (PCM), has counted enough misfire events on cylinder 3 to store the misfire code for that cylinder.

Cylinder number 3 would refer to the third cylinder as the cylinders are numbered.

Cylinder number 3 would refer to the third cylinder as the cylinders are numbered.

Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

To learn more about firing order, read our explanation here.

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For an in-depth discussion of how the engine computer knows which cylinder is misfiring, you can read more here.

What are the Possible Causes of the P0303 Code?

A multitude of possible causes can set a misfire resulting in a stored P0303 trouble code. You can learn more about how misfires happen here. Here’s a list of possible causes for the P0303 code:

Ignition system problems, such as:

  • A faulty worn spark plug
  • A failed coil pack or coil-on-plug coil
  • A bad spark plug wire on a vehicle that has plug wires

Fuel delivery issues, such as:

  • A faulty fuel injector
  • Wiring issues with the fuel injector circuit (e.g., loose connections, damaged wires)
  • Problems with the powertrain control module, such as a damaged injector driver

Engine mechanical problems, such as:

worn out spark plug
A broken spark plug can trigger the code P0303.

What are the Common Symptoms of the P0303 Code?

There are several P303 engine misfire symptoms to look out for. Below are some of them:

  • Check Engine light is illuminated or blinking
  • Vehicle jerks or hesitates during acceleration
  • Reduced performance exhibited through rough idling, stalling, reduced fuel economy, and loss of power
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How to Diagnose the P0303 Code

Most OBD-II codes have many possible causes. Because of this, diagnosing the exact cause will be a challenge. For the engine code P0303, there are several online resources that can help you accurately assess the situation.

We recommend that you check out the video below for some helpful information to help you troubleshoot the P0303 code.

How to Fix the P0303 Code

With the wide variety of possible causes for the error code P0303, there isn’t one surefire way to fix it. There are a few different repair options, and how you address the code will depend on the exact cause.

That’s why the key to effectively fixing the P0303 code is to diagnose it properly and pinpoint the exact cause.

Before proceeding with diagnosing or fixing any trouble codes, remember to consult your owner’s manual or service manual for more information on how to go about certain repairs.

Chilton repair manuals are useful but getting an ALLDATA subscription has even more benefits for DIYers like you. A single-vehicle subscription from ALLDATA comes in handy because it provides you with the detailed factory repair information that you need.

Where to Get Replacement Auto Parts for Your Vehicle

Once you’ve determined what triggered the the P0303 code, don’t put off addressing it. If you need to replace a part, be it a faulty fuel injector or a bad spark plug, make sure to a choose high-quality replacement. The best way to ensure that is to shop at CarParts.com.

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All our replacement parts passed the highest quality control standards from industry professionals. That means you can count on them to perform like your stock part and last a long time.

We make purchasing car parts online easier by providing accurate and detailed fitment information, making for a straightforward and hassle-free shopping experience. Use our vehicle selector to narrow down the catalog to the parts that fit your ride. Then, adjust the filters to view the products that match your preferred brand, price, and features.

Expect fast and reliable shipping when you order from CarParts.com. After all, all our parts are on hand and ready to ship from a warehouse near you.

Order the replacement auto parts you need to clear this trouble code today!

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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 Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

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.

File Under : OBD-II Trouble Codes Tagged With :
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