The OBD-II code P0316 means the car’s primary computer (often called the powertrain control module or PCM) has detected a misfire in one or more of the engine’s cylinders right after startup.
This code may be accompanied by some drivability issues, so you’ll need to figure out what’s causing it so you can fix it as soon as possible.
What Does the P0316 Code Mean?
Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) stands for “Engine Misfire Detected on Startup (First 1000 Revolutions).” Basically, if one or more of the engine’s cylinders misfires during the engine’s first 1,000 revolutions, the PCM sets code P0316.
The PCM may disable the misfiring cylinder or cylinders in order to prevent further damage to the engine. Code P0316 is often listed in addition to one or more of the P0300 series codes that are associated with the misfiring cylinder/s.
For instance, P0301 is triggered when cylinder #1 misfires repeatedly. Notice that the last two numbers of the trouble code indicate the affected cylinder.
Note: While code P0316 is a generic code specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), its definition may change according to the car manufacturer.
To search our database for other OBD2 codes, click here.
If you want to learn more about how the engine computer identifies which cylinder is misfiring, you can read our technical explanation here.
To know the most likely causes of code P0316, continue reading below.
What are the Possible Causes of the P0316 Code?
Many engine problems can cause one or more engine cylinders to fire incorrectly during the startup period.
The most common reasons for a code P0316 include:
- Problems with the Crankshaft Position (CKP) Sensor
- Engine mechanical condition
- Fuel injector issues
- Fuel level low or empty (or air cavitation from a bad fuel pump)
- Fuel quality (or contaminated fuel)
- Ignition System problems
- A clogged catalytic converter (but if this is the case, there will be other more noticeable concerns than a P0316 code)
- Internal engine malfunction
- Vacuum leak (but it would need to be a very bad leak.)
- Outdated PCM software or a bad PCM (note this is almost never the case)
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0316 Code?
You’ll usually feel when your car’s engine cylinders misfire at idle. Here are common symptoms associated with a P0316 code:
- Check Engine Light with no other symptoms
- Poor engine performance issues (e.g., rough running, lack of acceleration and hard starting)
- Reduced fuel efficiency
How to Diagnose the P0316 Code
Since there are many possible causes that could trigger the P0316 code, diagnosis may be a little difficult—especially if you’re not an automotive expert. In such cases, we recommend seeking the help of a professional who can accurately diagnose the code and provide you with the appropriate resolution.
However, if you decide to do the job yourself, check out the video below to get an idea of how you might perform the diagnosis :
How to Fix the P0316 Code
As mentioned, there are a lot of possible causes for a P0316 code. There is no definitive, one-size-fits-all solution, which is why you may be better off leaving your vehicle in the hands of a mechanic.
If you are determined to repair your car on your own, you can try and fix the problem yourself by researching some of the documented fixes that have worked for other DIY-ers who own the same vehicle. Don’t attempt to do the same fix that worked for someone with a different car—repairs may vary between vehicles, even if they share the same underlying cause.
For example, replacing one or more of parts listed below has been shown to be a common fix for code P0316 on several vehicles, but be careful using the “parts cannon” because it can get VERY expensive. Guessing is always a bad bet – if you don’t know enough to pinpoint the problem, stick with the cheap and easy stuff – for example, start with the spark plugs. At any rate here are some repairs that have been reported:
- Spark Plugs
- Coil on Plugs (COP)
- Ignition Coils
- Coil on Plugs and Spark Plugs
- Fuel Injectors
- Catalytic Converter
Replacing the spark plugs has been confirmed to work on a 2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.6L, V8 and on a 2006 Mercury Mountaineer, Premier 4.6L, V8.
Meanwhile, replacing all ignition coils worked on a 2007 Mercury Mountaineer, Premier 4.6L, V8 and on a 2002 Ford Explorer, XLT 4.6L, V8.
Remember, there could be different fixes for one vehicle and no single fix will work for all vehicles.
Before doing any kind of work on your vehicle, make sure to read your owner’s manual. For more detailed repair instructions, try consulting some online auto repair resources and guides. You can also get an ALLDATA single-vehicle subscription, which should be useful for dealing with this code and other future repairs you may need to do on your vehicle.
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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.