Car System

Variable Valve Timing Solenoid (VVT) Symptoms

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 18, 2020
Variable Valve Timing Solenoid Symptoms

We often take for granted all of the behind the scenes and under the hood technology that our cars use today. There have been many advancements in automotive technology, and they keep our cars running.

One of those advancements is the addition of variable valve timing. This feature is very helpful when it comes to engine function. There are times, however, when there can be issues with the variable valve timing. It is very important for drivers to notice when there might be a problem so they can take action quickly.

Variable Valve Timing Solenoid Symptoms
Variable Valve Timing Solenoid Symptoms

How does variable valve timing work?

Variable valve timing works by electronically applying signals from the ignition via a variable valve timing solenoid. The VVT solenoid controls the flow of the oil to the variable valve timing system. This system helps the engine function when there is a significant weight load that the engine is struggling with.

Your engine might be struggling if it carrying additional weight, struggling to go up hills or when acceleration is being affected by the throttle.

When the VVT solenoid senses the struggle with the weight, it works by sending oil to lubricate the variable valve timing chain and gear assembly. Without this oil for lubrication, the Variable Valve Timing system chains and gear can experience wearing out prematurely or it could break all together.

In addition, if the Variable Valve Timing solenoid is not working, it could eventually cause your vehicle to have a complete engine failure.

What are some warning signs of Variable Valve Timing solenoid problems?

Your car get Variable Valve Timing solenoid
Your car get Variable Valve Timing solenoid

One of the first clues that your vehicle may be having trouble with the VVT solenoid, is that your check engine light may come on. If it does, you need to find out what the problem is right away. The sooner you can deal with a probable problem, the less likely it will be that you will experience engine failure.

The easiest to find the code is using the best car code reader to read the error code, may be this will get P0010 OBD2 Code, in fact, there are literally dozens of individual codes forVariable Valve Timing solenoid problems for every car manufacturer.

Although car manufacturers all use different codes for the computer systems, most often the check engine light will come on when there is an issue with the solenoid. It is crucial that you have your car code checked by a mechanic immediately.

Your car might also be developing a VVT solenoid problem if your vehicle has dirty oil or engine sludge. Your solenoid will work best when the engine oil is clean. This ensures that the oil is the proper lubricity and viscosity to work with the engine.

Having your oil regularly changed will help prevent a buildup of debris and dirty oil. Additionally, when your oil is changed, or if you change it yourself, be sure the oil filter is changed too. It is crucial that you have your vehicle’s oil changed according to the manufacturer’s directions and that you use a good quality oil.

You might also be having trouble with your VVT solenoid if you notice that your engine starts to idle roughly. This is an important clue to an issue with the solenoid. Since the VVT solenoid does not start working until your engine is pulling a heavy load, going uphill, etc.… it should not be kicking in while your vehicle is idling. If it does, then the solenoid is misfiring and you need to figure out why.

And a more subtle sign that your solenoid is struggling is when there is a decrease in your fuel economy. The function of the variable valve timing system is to operate the valves in an efficient and timely manner. If this is not happening, you will notice a marked decrease in your vehicle’s fuel economy. This is another sign that your car needs to be checked quickly.

Is it possible to repair or replace the Variable Valve Timing Solenoid?

The first thing you can do at home, is check your car for oil sludge. This is a condition that happens when your oil is not changed regularly and it breaks down. Engine oil sludge is a contributing factor in solenoid problems. Using best synthetic oil 5w20 also a solution.

If you do have a faulty solenoid, it is possible to replace it. If you are extremely handy with shop tools and have access to them, you can try it yourself.

Since the solenoid is such a crucial part of your vehicle, it is probably a good idea to have your mechanic tackle this repair. If your solenoid fails, then you could experience complete engine failure.

How much does it cost to have the VVT solenoid replaced in my car?

You can expect the new parts to cost between $250-$325. The labor will probably cost between $100-$150. Depending on where you live, the prices may be slightly higher or lower.

Final Thoughts

The addition of Variable Valve Timing was a huge advancement in automotive history. It allows for a smoother ride and helps the engine compensate for when the load might be heavier, or the incline steeper.  VVT also helps our vehicles to use better fuel economy.

Problems with the VVT solenoid can cause huge mechanical and financial problems with your car. If the issue is not fixed, it can ultimately lead to complete engine failure. If you notice certain signs, you should get your car checked out as soon as possible.

If you notice engine oil sludge, your check engine light comes on, your fuel economy drastically decreases or if you suddenly experience rough idling, these are all signs of a solenoid problem.

To help avoid a solenoid problem and the catastrophic issues that go along with it, there are a few things you can do. The first thing you can do is make sure that your vehicle receives routine oil changes that also involve changing the oil filter. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule of maintenance.

If at any time you notice the check engine light come on, be sure to take your car to a mechanic to have your code checked. This will make sure that you know what the issue is so it can be fixed.


Routine vehicle maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your car running smoothly and being able to take care of issues, such as a VVT solenoid problem, before they become catastrophic.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram