P0010 ford focus 3
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P0010 ford focus 3

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P0010 Code – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms (& How To Fix)

p0010 code

Once you start having trouble with your car engine, you naturally want to avoid dealing with it for fear of what’s to come. However, with a code scanner, it’s simple to get the DTC and fix it, especially if you find the P0010 code.

In this guide, I cover the meaning of the P0010 trouble code and show you what might have caused it. I also look at the symptoms you might notice it producing and give you a few fixes to resolve the situation.

Code P0010 Definition

P0010 – “A” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit (Bank 1)

What Does the P0010 Code Mean?

P0010 is a generic powertrain code stating that the computer or powertrain control module (PCM) noticed an issue with one of the VVT solenoids. The fault is found on Bank 1, which is the side of cylinder 1 and “A” which is the intake camshaft.

If your engine is a Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), the fault is usually found with the intake camshaft. Otherwise, if you have a “V” engine, it’s found at the intake camshaft for the first cylinder.

P0010 Trouble Code Symptoms

The first sign that something is wrong occurs when the Check Engine Light comes on. However, there are also performance issues that are common with this trouble code.

Here are just a few of the conditions that might exist.

  • Check Engine Light
  • Rough engine performance
  • Trouble accelerating
  • Rattling engine noise

Causes of the P0010 Code

There’s no clear-cut explanation for what causes the P0010 trouble code. It can be several different problems, which is why diagnosis is needed.

However, these are a few of the most common causes.

  • Contaminated oil
  • Failed VVT solenoid (oil control valve)
  • Damaged wiring or bad connection
  • Malfunctioning PCM

How Serious is the P0010 Code?

Medium – It can be tempting to continue driving the vehicle, especially if there aren’t too many noticeable signs occurring. However, there are some real concerns you must consider.

The engine performance will suffer, which causes you to use more fuel and contribute to higher emissions in the atmosphere. Before something major happens as a result of the fault, you want to have the system looked at.

What Repairs Can Fix the P0010 Code?

The only way to figure out the correct repair is to run through our diagnostic steps listed below. Once you’ve been through these steps, you will know precisely what needs to be fixed.

However, here are some of the most common fixes that resolve the P0010 trouble code.

  • Engine oil and filter change
  • Replace VVT solenoid (oil control valve)
  • Repair wiring or bad connection
  • Update or replace PCM

Common P0010 Diagnosis Mistakes

Without the right amount of experience, you may start throwing parts at the problem to fix it. If you do this, you might miss something small, like the simple oil change, which could fix it.

In the end, you could spend far too much money and remain in the same boat. That’s why you must walk through the diagnostic steps before trying to fix the problem.

How to Diagnose the P0010 Trouble Code

If you want to get to the heart of the P0010 code, you need to follow the steps outlined in your service manual. I’ve outlined a few generic steps that will put you on the right track.

Follow these tips to get more details on the cause of the code.

  1. Record the trouble codes shown in your scanner. If there are too many present, you can clear them and run the car until the light comes on again. A rescan will reveal the most recent trouble codes.
  2. Start with a visual inspection of the oil. If it’s old and contaminated, you should always start with an oil and filter change. Even if it’s not the issue causing the code, you will avoid other trouble in the future.
  3. Perform an inspection of the VVT control solenoid on bank 1. If you see any frayed wiring or a defective connector, you want to repair the problem.
  4. Check the resistance of the intake camshaft VVT control solenoid as per the procedure in your service manual. If it’s not falling in line with the specifications, replace the solenoid.

If you can’t get to the bottom of the issue, you could be dealing with a PCM problem. These issues are better left to the professional mechanics, so we recommend having it checked out.

Estimated P0010 Repair Cost

If you followed our troubleshooting steps and found the problem, you know what you need to do next. To help you budget accordingly, I’ve put together a few of the estimated repair costs, including parts and labor.

  • Engine oil and filter change – $45-$125
  • Replace VVT solenoid (oil control valve) – $300-$650
  • Repair wiring or bad connection – $50-$550
  • Update or replace PCM – $300-$2,500

Mechanics Tips about the P0010 Code

For the engine to run properly, the timing must be set correctly. The timing between the camshaft and crankshaft must be perfect if the engine is to run as it was intended. This timing affects the performance of the motor, so if the timing is off and this code is set, there will be issues with the performance. The engine will try to correct itself by making adjustments, which can further affect the performance.

Most often, the code can be found in Subaru, Chevy and BMWs, but it’s possible in other makes too. If you see the code with a high-mileage car, assume it has something to do with the engine oil or sludge buildup. On the other hand, if the vehicle has lower mileage, there could be an electrical issue, either with the wiring or the PCM.

Ford Focus P0010: Causes + Likely Fix

P0010 OBD2 Code Fix

Drivetrain Resource

P0010 is a relatively common trouble code. It affects vehicles with variable valve timing (VVT). The list of VVT vehicles is growing, and the Ford Focus can have VVT and is prone to developing this code.

P0010 is often by low or sludgy oil. Check your Focus’s oil as soon as possible.

P0010 is a generic OBDII code. This means that it has the same definition regardless of the make or model of the vehicle. It has the same definition for the Ford Focus as any other car or truck.

If your Focus has the P0010 trouble code, it will typically not pass the State emissions test.

Ford Focus P0010 Quick Info

Ford Focus P0010

Definition P0010 “A” Camshaft Position Actuator – Circuit – Bank 1
Symptoms Stalling, Rought Idle, MIL Light
Common Causes Wiring Issues, Bad Camshaft Actuator, Oiling Issues
Breakdown Risk Not Usually, We Don’t Recommend Driving With It
Repair Cost (Parts Only) $40-$100 (Camshaft Actuator)

Ford Focus P0010 Defined: “A” Camshaft Position Actuator – Circuit – Bank 1

Ford Focus P0010 Definition

The Ford Focus utilizes camshaft actuators to change the valve lift depending on the speed of the motor. This allows for a more efficient cam profile (better power and fuel economy).

Camshaft Position Actuator

Camshaft Position Actuators can change the lift of a camshaft up to 25 degrees. They are hydraulic, which means that they use the vehicle’s engine oil to control lift. So, if you have low oil pressure or dirty oil, it can keep them from doing their job properly and trigger P0010.

When these camshaft actuators go bad, the engine will no longer be able to change the valve timing properly, and there may be a noticeable loss of fuel economy and power.


The voltage value coming from the camshaft position actuator at Bank 1 is outside its normal operating parameters.

Bank 1

Bank one is the side of the engine with the first cylinder. If your Focus has an inline engine, you don’t need to concern yourself with this.

If your Focus has a “V” engine with two cylinder heads, you’ll need to look up which side is bank 1. It’s usually the cylinder head closer to the front of the engine.

Ford Focus P0010 Symptoms

P0010 Symptoms Ford Focus

When the camshaft actuators go bad, they can leave the engine timing a wreck. Here are some of the typical symptoms of P0010 in the Ford Focus:

  • Poor Idle Quality– If the camshaft actuator fails while giving the engine aggressive valve timing, it’ll idle roughly.
  • Decreased Gas Mileage– Now the engine can no longer adjust its cam timing on the fly, it will no longer be able to produce optimum combustion, which equals poor economy.
  • Lost Power– The engine will not be able to produce as much power. This is because the cam profile will not allow it to run a performance power curve when you need more power.
  • Service Engine Soon Light- Most of the time, you’ll be able to feel or see one of the above symptoms, but if you can’t, the service engine soon light will still come on and let you know something is wrong.

Possible Focus P0010 Causes

P0010 Causes

Oiling Issues

  1. Low Oil: The most common cause of P0010 is low oil. It needs to be low enough to lower the engine’s oil pressure (which is really low).
  2. Dirty Oil: If the oil and/or oil filter haven’t been changed in a long time, sometimes it can cause the camshaft actuator to clog up with sludge.
  3. Wrong Viscocity or Sludge Buildup (Too Thick or Too Thin): If you recently had an oil change and your Focus now has this code, change the oil again, and verify that the shop used the right oil.

The two main causes of P0010 in the Ford Focus are issues with the wiring to the camshaft actuator or an issue with the actuator itself.

The wiring from the solenoid to the ECM can become damaged or broken. This will throw the P0010 OBDII code. The wiring harness to the intake camshaft position sensor may also develop a poor connection.

If you’re new to chasing down electrical issues, P0010 is a great code to start learning on. The wiring is simple, and the YouTube: How to Find an Open or Short the Fast Easy Way.

Bad Intake Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid

Here’s a phenomenal video on how to test a cam/crank actuator. It’s worth watching if you’re going to fix P0010 in your Focus. Always make sure that you check everything else that you can before actually opening up an engine.

The actuator solenoid itself can go bad over time. You certainly don’t want to start here since, a lot of the time, it’ll be something else that causes the P0010 to appear.

Other Causes

  • Engine Timing– If the camshaft(s) are no longer synced to the crank properly (such as if the timing chain jumped a tooth), it can cause the engine timing to be off enough to throw the P0010 even though it’s not the actuator’s fault. Here’s more on that from this site: Timing Chain Jumped Symptoms and Diagnosis
  • Bad ECM (highly unlikely)- If the Focus’s computer goes bad, it may throw this code along with other issues. Here’s how to tell if you have a bad ECM Autoblog: Symptoms of a Bad ECM.

Final Thoughts

P0010 in the Ford Focus is usually caused by a bad camshaft actuator or wiring issue. But you should check your oil before doing anything else. If it’s excessively dirty, the sludge buildup can cause P0010. Good luck!

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Problem with VCT Solenoid. Code P0010 and P0013

I’ve been lurking here for a while and many threads here have helped me, so I thought it might be time for me to contribute.

I recently had a pretty serious problem with my 2013 MK3 focus and this is how I ended up fixing it.

The CEL came on during my regular commute and I noticed right away that something was wrong. The car had very little high end power, and had to downshift much more than usual. When I checked the codes, it had a P0010, P0013, and P0446. The first two are for the VCT solenoids, the third is for the gas tank vent valve solenoid. It turns out that, in the 2013 model, these three things all share fuse 34 in the under-hood fuse box.

I took it to the stealership and they kept it for 2.5 days and basically told me that they couldn’t find it. They did, however, wash the car for me, lol. The problem was that the fuse could be replaced and the car would run fine, but then it would blow again at some random interval. I bought a micro sized add-a-fuse and ran a separate line to the VCT solenoids and when that blew, I know I had the culprit.

I replaced both VCT solenoids with aftermarket parts from rock-auto for $20 each. I was concerned that the valve cover would leak when I put it back on, because I couldn’t source a replacement valve cover gasket from anywhere but the dealership. I used some black gasket maker and reused the original gasket, and it hasn’t leaked at all. In fact, it leaks less than the factory installation. All the information I needed to do the job was found in the shop manual that I got from this website.

One good thing that the dealer service people did was note that my fuel tank was «sucked in» a little. That at least got me looking, and I’ve since replaced my leaking purge valve and hopefully stopped the fuel tank from imploding. My gas gauge is unreliable, always saying I have much more gas than I know I do (490 MTE on a full tank! Lol), but I’ve adapted to that buy zeroing the trip odometer every fill-up.

Thanks to everyone here for all the help you’ve given to the silent majority like me. It is appreciated. I hope this info helps someone else.

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