The P0460 code sets when the vehicle’s computer finds a potential issue with the fuel level sensor circuit. What does this mean and what causes this error? Read on to answer these questions and more.
What Does the P0460 Code Mean?
Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0460 stands for “Fuel Level Sensor “A” Circuit .” The powertrain control module (PCM) stores this code when it detects that the input signal from the fuel level sensor (FLS) does not fall within the expected signal range. The PCM may also set this code if it determines that the input signal from the fuel level sensor is irrational.
Note: The definition of code P0460 may be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.
A fuel level sensor is a device typically mounted at the top of the fuel tank or fuel pump module and is used to monitor the fuel level inside a vehicle’s gas tank. The sensor is made of three main components: the float, the resistor, and the actuating rod.
The oval-shaped float rests on the surface of the fuel and moves as the level of fuel inside the fuel tank changes. A thin strip of metal called the actuating rod connects the float to the resistor. As the float changes positions (depending on the fuel level), the actuating rod causes a wiper-like component in the resistor to move over a resistive material. This movement causes the current flowing to the gauge to change, thereby changing the fuel reading as well.
In some vehicles, input data from the fuel level sensor is routed to a combination meter that in turn sends the data to the PCM through a data network. The PCM uses the input data from the fuel level sensor to determine how much fuel is inside the fuel tank and to monitor fuel usage and fuel economy.
Vehicles that are prone to code P0460 include various models of Ford (especially Ford Focus), Mazda, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Nissan.
What Are the Possible Causes of the P0460 Code?
There are several possible causes that can trigger diagnostic trouble codes, such as P0460, some of which are listed below:
- Faulty fuel pump (the sensor is often integrated into the pump)
- FLS sensor failure
- Mechanical issues with FLS sensing arm
- Wiring issues such as open or short to voltage/ground in the signal circuit to the FLS sensor
- Malfunctioning powertrain control module (rare)
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0460 Code?
Typically, when a trouble code is stored, you may notice a few indications that something is wrong. However, many trouble codes may not have any noticeable signs, save for an active malfunction indicator lamp. As for the P0460 code, listed below are some of its most common symptoms:
- Malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) or check engine light on
- Unreliable fuel gauge reading
- Diminished perceived fuel economy
How to Diagnose the P0460 Code
Misdiagnosis is a very real possibility when trying to troubleshoot a trouble code, such as P0460. One’s goal when diagnosing a trouble code is to effectively and accurately pinpoint the root cause of the problem from a list of possible causes.
It’s important to have reliable sources of repair information, especially if you’re trying to diagnose and/or understand the P0460 code. Vehicle-specific repair manuals and databases are the best sources of information, as they contain detailed repair information and step-by-step troubleshooting procedures. They also have helpful illustrations and diagrams so you can better understand the issue at hand.
How to Fix the P0460 Code
Fixing the P0460 code is challenging not only because there are a lot of possible causes to rule out, but also because vehicles are built differently depending on the manufacturer. In fact, terminology, components, as well as repair and diagnostic procedures vary greatly.
For example, there are two possible definitions of code P0460 on a 2018 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch. One is defined as “P0460:11- Fuel Level Sensor “A” Circuit: Circuit Short to Ground,” while the other is defined as “P0460:13- Fuel Level Sensor “A Circuit: Circuit Open.” Meanwhile, P0460 on a 2012 Mazda 3 S is defined as “P0460: Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Malfunction.” The setting conditions and possible solutions for the P0460 on Ford vehicles and Mazda vehicles also differ greatly.
This is why it’s very important to consult a repair manual, especially if you’re doing the repairs and diagnosis of P0460 yourself. However, if you’re not confident about your troubleshooting skills or if you don’t know how to do trouble code repairs, you can have a certified professional do the job for you.
Other Notes About P0460
P0460 can be caused by mechanical or electrical issues, and the severity of this code may depend on what type of problem caused it in the first place. On one hand, if the underlying issue is mechanical in nature, this code should be addressed immediately and treated as severe.
On the other hand, if the root cause is an electrical problem, this code may not be as serious because the PCM is able to make up for the fault. However, this does not mean that repairs shouldn’t be done right away. In both cases, the trouble code should still be addressed with a certain level of urgency.
Related codes to the P0460 code include the following:
- P0461- Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- P0462- Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Low Input
- P0463- Fuel Level Sensor Circuit High Input
- P0464- Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Intermittent
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