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Modern vehicles are equipped with on-board diagnostics (OBD) to make it easier for technicians to diagnose potential issues. While these codes are helpful to professionals, troubleshooting them may be a little complicated for the average DIYer. 

If you’re struggling to figure out why your car has a logged P0326 error code, this informative guide is for you. 

What Does the P0326 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0326 stands for “Knock Sensor 1 Circuit Range/Performance Bank 1.” It is set once the powertrain control module (PCM) determines that the signal from the knock sensor has fallen outside of the specified range. It may also be logged if the PCM fails to detect a signal from the knock sensor. 

knock sensor installed on an engine block
A knock sensor is a one-wire or two-wire sensor mounted on a cylinder block. It detects engine knocking.

Knocking refers to the unwanted vibration and noise that could damage an engine. This is typically the result of fuel with too low of an octane rating, overly advanced ignition timing, or extreme engine operating temperatures. The PCM may also perceive an internal engine problem, such as a failed rod bearing, as engine knocking. 

A knock sensor is a one-wire or two-wire sensor mounted on a cylinder block, and it detects engine knocking. “Knock sensor 1” in this code refers to the first sensor (if there are two), while “bank 1” refers to the side of the engine with cylinder #1. 

The knock sensor detects vibration when revolutions per minute (RPM) rises or drops and generates voltages based on this vibration. The PCM controls the ignition timing based on the frequency of the sensor’s signal. If engine knocking occurs, the ignition timing slows down to prevent it.

Most PCMs can learn to distinguish spark knock trends in the engine during normal operation. However, it is important to note that they can’t differentiate knocking caused by engine problems from knocking caused by pre-ignition. 

If the PCM perceives the knock to be severe enough that a retarded spark timing can’t eliminate it, it will set code P0326. It will also log the code if it determines the knocks to be louder and higher than the set threshold. 

Note: The definition of code P0326 may be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.

Vehicles that are prone to code P0326 include various models of Hyundai (especially Hyundai Veloster), Kia, Chevrolet, and Mini.

What are the Possible Causes of the P0326 Code?

P0326 is a generic code, so it can have several causes. Here are the most common:

  • Defective knock sensor
  • Wiring issue
  • Internal engine problem
  • Faulty PCM

What are the Common Symptoms of the P0326 Code?

You may notice the following symptoms if your car has a logged P0326:

  • Illuminated check engine light
  • Odd noise coming from the engine 

How to Diagnose the P0326 Code

Diagnosing code P0326 can be hard because it shares similar triggers and symptoms with other DTCs. However, despite being a generic code, it does not have a universal fix. Vehicles are built differently depending on the manufacturer, so diagnostic procedures may vary.

For example, the diagnosis for a code P0326 on a Hyundai may differ from the same logged code on a Toyota. Err on the side of caution by referring only to repair and diagnostic information specific to your vehicle. Leave the diagnosis to a technician if you’re not confident in your automotive knowledge.

closeup of car v engine
Hearing weird noises from the engine? That could be an indication of code P0326.

How to Fix the P0326 Code

Code P0326 may be set in vehicles of varying makes and models. However, there is no universal solution for this code. All cars are built differently and may require varying solutions.
Always refer to the factory repair information specific to your vehicle before starting on any repairs. You can also opt to bring your car to an auto repair shop if you’re still unsure of which appropriate repair steps to follow.

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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