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How to fix P0012 code: “Camshaft Position A – Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1).”

How to fix P0012 code

If you're searching for how to fix the P0012 code, you need to use an OBDII scanner to confirm the error. Once they are confirmed, your vehicle's problem is most likely related to the camshaft timing, which might require replacement in some scenarios. 

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When your vehicle's computer throws an error on the dashboard, the problem should not be ignored because it can be linked to major issues. Ignoring warning signs and errors might cost you thousands of dollars to get your vehicle repaired if it's even repairable. 

One of the common error codes that you might deal with is the P0012 code linked to a problem with the camshaft timing. Unless you understand the camshaft timing process, it is very hard to grasp the meaning of the P0012 code fully.

This article provides you with all that you need to know to understand the P0012 code and the different causes and symptoms to be aware of. Once you detect any of these symptoms, you will catch the problem earlier to prevent major complications soon. 

What is the P0012 code definition?

P0012 code means that “Camshaft Position A – Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1).” If you have advanced mechanical skill sets, the definition might not make much sense to you. Therefore, let's go through some basic information about the camshaft timing and retard camshaft timing means and how important this code is for two vehicles' overall performance. 

What is the camshaft timing, and what does it do?

In any combustion system, the camshaft rotates to allow both the intake and exhaust valves to open during specific timing specified by the engine. Any issue with this timing can affect the engine's overall performance. 

The camshaft timing is responsible for rotating the camshaft, which results in timing the opening of both the intake and exhaust valves. 

This camshaft timing is supposed to be placed relative to the central line of the cylinder. The position of the camshaft timing is specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual. When the camshaft rotates clockwise, it indicates that the camshaft is advancing. On the other hand, when the camshaft rotates counterclockwise, it indicates that the camshaft is retarding.

Both conditions rotations must happen at certain timing to control when both the intake and exhaust valves open and close. Changing the camshaft position might influence lower rounds per minute or higher rounds per minute.

P0012 code explanation 

Now you have a basic understanding of what the camshaft timing is and what it means for this timing to switch its position.

The P0012 code indicates an issue with the camshaft timing when it's tilted to the left, indicating that it's retarded. 

Your vehicle's engine control module is responsible for monitoring any abnormal behavior of all engine components. When the camshaft timing becomes retarded, the engine control module will throw an error and send it to the vehicle’s internal computer. Once the computer detects this error, it will throw a warning light on your vehicle's dashboard. 

According to experts, the P0012 code might be linked to either advancing or retarding phases as your camshaft is rotating.  

What are the primary causes for the P0012 code?

The P0012 code might be triggered whenever you're dealing with one of the following situations: 

  • Issues with the oil control valve in your vehicle’s camshaft timing. This valve might get stuck opened.
  • Problems with the camshaft phaser, which might get stuck in the retarded position
  • Complications in the oil flow within the phasor or the piston

How do I know if it’s the P0012 code? Symptoms of the P0012 code

Since the P0012 code might be linked to critical components in your engine, it is crucial for you as a driver to familiarize yourself with some of the common symptoms of the P0012 code.

Let's take a closer look below at some of the common symptoms:

  • The most common symptom but you might see when the P0012 code is triggered the check engine light illuminating 
  • Since the camshaft timing will be retarded, your engine will have a hard time getting started  
  • According to some experts, drivers might face engine stalling or hesitation, which might vary from vehicle to vehicle 
  • If your car has a P0012 code, it will not pass the emission test 
  • Depending on the camshaft timing position, problems might differ, and you might deal with situations where the camshaft will not advance at all 

P0012 code diagnostics

Whether you plan to visit the nearest repair shop or to inspect for P0012 code by yourself, you can follow certain steps to confirm.

  • Visual inspection 

The first thing you need to do is to look at the new vehicle’s engine. Inspect the connection and make sure that there are no loose connections. For instance, inspect the control solenoid valve, the camshaft sensor, the crankshaft sensor, and any other wiring to determine whether there are any clear loose connections or not.

  • Measure the engine's oil 

Once you look at the wiring and connections, the next step is to check the engine oil level. It is also important to ensure that the engine's oil is not dirty and has the right and proper viscosity specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual.

  • Scan the error using an OBDII scanner 

Next, you need to have an OBDII scanner to communicate with your vehicle's owner's computer. This scanner should be connected to the computer and then collect any error messages from the computer. Depending on the type of the scanner, you could either see a code number saying P0012 code or in some advanced scanners, and you might even see an explanation and proposed solutions to your problem. 

  • Inspect the oil control solenoid 

Another thing you can do is to inspect the oil control solenoid valve. Try commanding it on and off and see whether the camshaft timing responds or not 

  • Manufacturer pinpoint tests 

If you could not see with loan indications that it's a P0012 to have a professional, these tests will help confirm the exact amount of the problem and provide suggested repairs and solutions. Keep in mind that the manufacturer pinpoint tests are different from vehicle to vehicle, and it's a good and accurate approach to determine the root of the problem. These tests are not universal because every engine operates differently, although you might find something like this in certain manufacturers' vehicles from the same brand. 

How do I fix the P0012 code?

If you confirm that your vehicle suffers from stuff for you is to fix the problem. Luckily, there are two common DIY's you can try before reaching out to your mechanic and paying thousands of dollars inspecting other problems:

  • Oil change

Any oil change usually involves removing the old used oil, which might be dirty and contains lots of contaminants that affect the engine's performance. To do so, you need to locate the oil drain plug and remove it. Make sure to place a pan under it to collect the old oil, so it doesn't spill on the floor. 

Once you remove it, you can go ahead and remove the oil filter as well before pouring the new oil. Once the new oil is poured, check the engine oil level to ensure that it's at the optimum mark as specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual.

Remember that you can't dispose of the oil engine oil in the environment because it can kill living creatures in soil or water. Thus, consider reviewing where exactly to recycle or reuse the old oil. 

  • Inspected the camshaft oil control valve 

Camshaft oil control valves do not exist in everything. Therefore, your first step is to make sure that your car has this component by referring to your vehicle's owner’s manual.

Carefully take out the oil control valve of your camshaft. Using a valve cleaner, clean around the camshaft oil control valve. Once you're done cleaning, connected to a multimeter to see if it's working properly. You should refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to ensure that the camshaft operation is within a certain specified range, depending on your vehicle's type. 

If you realize that the camshaft oil control valve does not work within the specified range, you should replace it immediately.

Once the problem is resolved, you need to use certain tools to clear out the code from your vehicle's internal computer because the code does not usually clear itself once the problem is resolved. Thus, connect the code clearer tool and ask it to clear out any previous errors that not active. 

It is important to click on the rescan button to make sure that there are no other errors or the P0012 code is not still there. If you still see the error, this indicates that your problem was not resolved, and you have to consult a professional mechanic to take a closer look at your vehicle. 

If none of the mentioned two DIY's worked for you, your next step is to visit the nearest repair shop and have the mechanic performed a thorough inspection to determine the route of the problem. 

How much does it cost to resolve the P0012 code?

Depending on the root of the problem, repairing a P0012 code might cost you somewhere between $150 to $300. Remember that this cost range usually covers both parts and labor. However, if the problem is linked to a major issue with the engine, you might be at a later stage where repairs can be extremely high, especially when replacing the entire engine. 

Can I drive my car with a P0012 code?

While dealing with a P0012 code will not stop your vehicle completely, it is never recommended to continue driving this car. Imagine when the bank one camshaft timing does not work properly, it will put a lot of load and pressure on the bank two camshaft timing which might result in damaging it prematurely journey paragraph also, as we indicated before a P0012 code might result in engine hesitation or running rough which might be a significant issue especially if you're driving on Hwy speeds.

Therefore, to save your life and other people’s lives on the road, you should immediately take care of the P0012 code whenever you see any symptoms. 


Your vehicle's internal computer usually throws errors on the dashboard whenever something is wrong with the internal components. The P0012 code indicates an issue with the camshaft timing.

The problem might be linked to various issues, and in this article, we showed you two simple methods to fix the P0012 code. The first method is by doing a quick engine oil change, and the second one is by fixing the camshaft oil control valve.

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