P0018 Code: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, and How to Fix It

The camshaft is an important component in the engine of a vehicle or a machine. Its primary function is to control the opening and closing of the engine’s intake and exhaust valves. The vehicle uses a camshaft sensor to monitor the performance and working of the camshaft. The powertrain control module (PCM) of the vehicle uses the data of the camshaft sensor. When it detects that the crankshaft and camshafts on bank 2 don’t correlate, it triggers the P0018 code. This article deeply describes the P0018 code Toyota meaning, causes, symptoms, and how to fix it.

P0018 Code Definition

The P0018 code stands for “Crankshaft Position- Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 2, Sensor A).”

The “Bank 2” indicates the engine side that contains the number two cylinder. “Sensor A” indicates the intake camshaft sensor.

What Does the P0018 Code Mean?

The P0018 code indicates that the camshaft position sensor A for bank 2 does not correlate to the signal from the crankshaft position sensor.

P0018 Code

The CMP (camshaft position sensor) and CKP (crankshaft position sensor) work together to ensure smooth engine operation by monitoring the speed and position of the crankshaft and camshaft(s), respectively.

These sensors detect signals from individual reluctor or tone rings, with the CKP’s ring typically mounted on the crankshaft or harmonic balancer and the CMP’s ring located on the camshaft or camshaft sprocket.

The PCM then utilizes the CMP information to compare the reading with CKP and assess whether the engine is timed correctly.

Causes of the P0018 Code

  • Misaligned or damaged timing chain or belt
  • Faulty camshaft variable timing solenoid
  • Low engine oil level
  • Incorrect engine timing
  • Faulty variable valve timing actuator
  • Failed timing chain tensioner or guides
  • Damaged or missing reluctor ring
  • Failed PCM (powertrain control module)
  • Low engine oil pressure

Symptoms of P0018 Code

  • Check Engine Light: The most common symptom of the P0018 code is the illumination of the Check Engine Light on the dashboard.
  • Hard Starting Conditions: You may experience difficulty starting the engine, especially in cold weather.
  • Engine Misfires: The engine may experience misfires, which can result in rough idling, stalling, and decreased acceleration.
  • Engine Performance Issues: You may notice a decrease in engine performance, such as reduced power or acceleration.
  • Engine Stalling: The engine may stall while driving, especially at low speeds or when idling.
  • Irregular Engine Noises: You may hear unusual engine noises, such as rattling or knocking sounds, which could indicate a problem with the timing chain or belt.
  • Poor Fuel Economy: The engine may not be running as efficiently as it should, resulting in lower fuel economy.

Read Also: P0420 Code Causes and Symptoms

How to diagnose P0018 Code

Diagnosing the P0018 code can be a complex process, as it can be caused by a number of different issues related to the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors. Here are the steps that a qualified mechanic may take to diagnose the problem:

  1. Connect a diagnostic scanner: The first step is to connect a diagnostic scanner to the vehicle’s onboard computer to read and clear the trouble codes.
  2. Inspect the wiring: Next, the mechanic will visually inspect the wiring harness and connectors for any signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections.
  3. Check the timing chain tensioner and guide: The timing chain tensioner and the guide must be inspected to ensure they are functioning properly.
  4. Check the sensor readings: The mechanic will use a scan tool to check the readings from the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors to see if they are operating within the correct range.
  5. Inspect the timing chain or belt: The timing chain or belt may be inspected for signs of wear or damage.
  6. Inspect the reluctor rings: The reluctor rings on the camshaft and crankshaft must be inspected for any damage or misalignment.
  7. Check the oil pressure: Low oil pressure can cause the camshaft and crankshaft to lose synchronization, so the mechanic will check the oil pressure to ensure it is within the manufacturer’s specifications.
  8. Inspect the PCM: If all other components check out, the mechanic may inspect the PCM to ensure it is functioning correctly.

P0018 Code Diagnostic Mistakes

  • Failing to check the oil pressure: Low oil pressure can cause the camshaft and crankshaft to lose synchronization, which can trigger the P0018 code. If the mechanic fails to check the oil pressure, they may overlook this as a possible cause.
  • Overlooking electrical issues: The P0018 code can also be caused by electrical issues such as a short circuit or open circuit in the wiring harness or a poor connection at the sensor. If the mechanic does not thoroughly inspect the wiring harness and connectors, they may miss this as a possible cause.
  • Not inspecting the timing chain or belt: A worn or damaged timing chain or belt can cause the P0018 code. If the mechanic does not inspect the timing chain or belt, they may miss this as a possible cause.
  • Failing to replace both the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors: If only one of the sensors is replaced, the P0018 code may still occur. Both sensors should be replaced at the same time to ensure proper operation.
  • Not using the correct diagnostic tools: The P0018 code can be caused by a number of different issues, and diagnosing it requires the use of specialized diagnostic tools such as a scan tool, oscilloscope, and multimeter. If the mechanic does not use the correct diagnostic tools, they may miss or misdiagnose the problem.

What repairs can fix the P0018 Code?

  • Replacing the bad camshaft phaser
  • Replacing the bad timing chain tensioner
  • Replacing the bad timing chain or belt
  • Replacing the bad camshaft position sensor
  • Replacing the bad crankshaft position sensor
  • Repairing or replacing the wiring harness

FAQ Section

How serious is the P0018 code?

The seriousness of the P0018 code depends on the underlying cause and how long it is left unaddressed. In general, the P0018 code can be considered moderately serious, as it can cause a range of engine performance issues and potentially lead to more severe problems if left unchecked.

If the P0018 code is caused by a faulty camshaft or crankshaft position sensor, it can result in misfires, reduced engine performance, and poor fuel economy. This can potentially lead to more severe engine damage if left unaddressed.

If the P0018 code is caused by a worn or damaged timing chain or belt, this can cause the engine to lose synchronization and potentially lead to catastrophic engine failure if the chain or belt breaks.

Is it safe to drive with a bad camshaft sensor?

It is not recommended to drive with a bad camshaft sensor as it can cause a range of engine performance issues, including poor fuel economy, rough idling, and misfires. A faulty camshaft sensor can also affect engine timing, which can cause damage to the engine if left unaddressed.

In addition, driving with a bad camshaft sensor can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate, which can make it difficult to identify other potential issues with the vehicle if they arise.

What is the function of the camshaft sensor?

The camshaft position sensor is an electronic component that tracks the position and speed of the camshaft in an engine. It relays this information to the powertrain control module (PCM) to enable efficient engine performance.

Can I drive with P0018 Code?

It is not recommended to drive with a P0018 code. P0018 is a generic OBD-II diagnostic trouble code that indicates a problem with the camshaft position sensor, which can affect the engine’s performance and potentially cause serious damage.

If you have a P0018 code, it is important to have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the safe operation of your vehicle.

What are the symptoms of P0018 Code Kia Sorento?

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Check engine light illumination
  • Hard Starting conditions
  • Engine misfires
  • Irregular engine noises
  • Engine performance issues
  • Engine stalling

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