P0648 code definition
When there is a fault in the immobilizer lamp control circuit, a P0648 trouble code is stored in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and the Check Engine Light illuminates. The problem could happen if the PCM or another supporting control module detects a fault. Supporting control modules include the alternative fuel control module, anti-lock brake control module, anti-theft control module, body control module, climate control module, cruise control module, fuel injection control module, instrument panel control module, proximity alert module, traction control module, and turbo control module, among others.
What the P0648 code means
A P0648 trouble code means that the PCM or other control module has detected an abnormal reading in the immobilizer lamp control circuit. Vehicle owners should keep in mind that illumination of the Check Engine light might require multiple drive cycles, sometimes even up to eight.
What causes the P0648 code?
A defective immobilizer lamp bulb or circuit is usually the culprit behind a stored P0648 trouble code. Some other causes for the storage of this code include corroded, shorted, or damaged wiring, connectors, and components within the Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus harness; a defective CAN Bus; or a loose ground strap or broken wire on one of the control modules.
What are the symptoms of the P0648 code?
Symptoms typical of a P0648 trouble code include illumination or flashing of the immobilizer lamp in addition to an illuminated Check Engine Light. If the Check Engine Light is not illuminated, the code is still stored, but shown as pending.
How does a mechanic diagnose the P0648 code?
Diagnosing a P0648 trouble code requires the use of a digital volt/ohmmeter and an advanced scanner by the mechanic, in addition to the mechanic following these steps:
Visually checking all wiring, components, and connectors for damage
Downloading all stored trouble codes and freeze frame data from the PCM for help in diagnosing the source of the problem
After replacing any wiring, connectors, or components, clearing the code and test driving the vehicle
If the code returns, inspecting the pins of the CAN Bus with a specialized scanner to determine where the fault is originating from. Before testing the CAN Bus pins, the mechanic needs to install a memory saving device to keep the PCM and other control modules from losing their memory.
The mechanic can also disconnect all of the control modules and perform a circuit continuity test using the volt ohmmeter, though this process is time consuming and cost prohibitive.
If the mechanic wishes to proceed, they should test continuity between each control module and the battery ground. If so, the mechanic should use an auxiliary ground cable to diagnose any ground discrepancies.
Using a CAN Bus wiring diagram, use the volt/ohmmeter to test the connection between each control module connector.
Clearing the P0648 trouble code and test driving the vehicle to see if it is stored once again.
Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0648 code
The most common mistake made by mechanics when diagnosing a P0648 trouble code is to treat any codes stored in reaction to the communication failure between the immobilizer lamp circuit and the PCM or other control module. In effect, this treats the symptoms but not the problem, with the trouble code returning.
How serious is the P0648 code?
A P0648 trouble code can affect a variety of control modules, causing issues with communication between the control modules and the PCM. The vehicle can still operate with a P0648 trouble code stored as it is just an indicator of a communication problem between control modules. Mechanics should focus on fixing the faulty control modules, wiring, or connectors to see if that alleviates the problem first.
What repairs can fix the P0648 code?
To repair a P0648 trouble code, a mechanic should perform the following repairs:
Replace any faulty wiring, components, or connectors. When replacing items in the CAN Bus harness, a mechanic might be better served to replace the whole harness.
Replace any faulty control modules, including the PCM if faulty. This includes reprogramming the replacement module.
The mechanic should also make sure that all ground cables, straps, and wires are properly connected when completing repairs.
Need help with a P0648 code?
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