How to Replace a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid

The Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid has been engineered to adjust the valve timing automatically in the engine depending on how the engine is running and the load the engine is under. For example, if you're running down flat road the variable valve solenoid will “retard” timing which will decrease power and increase efficiency (fuel economy), and if you have a car full of company and are driving uphill, the variable valve timing will “advance” timing which will increase power to overcome the load it is taking.

When it comes time to have your variable valve timing solenoid or solenoids replaced, your vehicle may have symptoms such as an illuminated Check Engine Light, loss of power, bad fuel economy, and a rough idle.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing the variable valve timing solenoid

Materials Needed

engine cover

Step 1: Raise and secure hood. If there is an engine cover, it needs to be removed.

Engine covers are a cosmetic feature manufactures install. Some are attached by nuts or bolts and others are installed by snapping into place.

removing the battery terminal

Step 2: Disconnect the battery. The most common size battery terminal nuts are 8mm, 10mm, and 13mm.

Loosen the positive and negative battery terminals, and twist and pull on the terminals to remove. Set the cables aside or tie down with a bungee cord to prevent them from making contact.

variable valve timing solenoid circled

Step 3: Locating the variable valve timing solenoid. The variable valve timing solenoid is located at the front of the engine, typically near the front of the valve cover.

Try looking at the new solenoid to match the shape and help you find it. The connector is the exposed end of the variable valve timing solenoid. In the image above, you can see the connector, the solenoid’s silver body and the mounting bolt.

shows how some lines and hoses can make it a little hard to work around

Step 4: Clear the area. If there is anything in the way such as vacuum lines or wiring harnesses secure them out of the way using a bungee.

Avoid disconnecting or pulling to prevent any damage or confusion.

shows the one mounting bolt on the side of the solenoid

Step 5: Locate the mounting bolts. There are, in most cases, one mounting bolt, but some may have two.

Be sure to pay attention to the mounting flange on the solenoid to verify.

removing the mounting bolt

Step 6: Remove the mounting bolts. Start by removing the mounting bolts and be careful not to drop them in any crevices or openings in the engine compartment.

Step 7: Disconnect solenoid. Remove the connector on the solenoid.

Most connectors are removed by applying pressure to the tab to release the lock on the connector itself. Be very careful not to pull on the wire; only pull on the connector itself.

removing the solenoid

Step 8: Remove the solenoid. The variable valve timing solenoid may be stuck, so start by taking a pair of channel locks and gripping the strongest point of the solenoid.

This would be any metal part of the solenoid you can reach. Twist the solenoid side to side and lift while twisting side to side. It may take a little working at it to get it removed but it should pop right out.

vvt port

Step 9: Inspect the variable valve. After removing the variable valve timing solenoid, take a good look at it to make sure it is in one piece.

There are times where a piece of o-ring or screen may be damaged or missing. Look down the solenoid valve mounting surface and look into the hole to make there aren’t any pieces of o-ring or screen.

Step 10: Remove any debris found. If you see anything abnormal inside the mounting surface hole, remove it carefully with a long curved pick or a long pair of needle nose pliers.

Step 11: Lube the solenoid. Apply the lithium grease to the seals on the solenoid spool.

The spool is the part you are inserting into the port.

Step 12: Insert the solenoid. Take the new solenoid and insert it into the mounting surface hole.

There is slight resistance when installed but that indicates the seals are properly snug. While inserting the new solenoid, it helps to twist slightly back and forth while pushing down to get it flush with the mounting surface.

Step 13: Insert the mounting screws. Get the mounting screws started and tighten them snugly; it doesn't require too much torque.

applying dielectric grease to the connector

Step 14: Install electrical connector. Apply a little dielectric grease to the face of the connector and the seal.

Applying dielectric grease isn't required but it is recommended to prevent corrosion to the connection, and it will help make connector installation easier.

Step 15: Re-route anything moved aside. Anything secured with a bungee should be set back into place.

Step 16: Install the engine cover. Re-install the engine cover that was removed.

Bolt or fasten it back into place.

Step 17: Reconnect the battery. Install the negative terminal onto the battery and tighten it.

Reconnect the positive battery terminal and tighten.

Having this repair done as recommended prolongs the life of your vehicle and rewards you with better fuel mileage. Reading and being educated on what to expect with your vehicle, and what to look for when inspecting, saves you costs in repairs in the future. If replacing your variable valve timing solenoid is something you would rather leave to a professional, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians perform the replacement.


Next Step

Schedule Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(270)

Rating Summary
258
6
2
2
2
258
6
2
2
2

Glenn

19 years of experience
69 reviews
Glenn
19 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.3L - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Fort Washington, Maryland
Great service, on time and took the time to explain everything so I could understand. He advised on important stuff that should be done.
Chevrolet Equinox - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - District Heights, Maryland
Very professional and helpful. Great attitude and very helpful. I'm very happy with the work that was performed!

Nathaniel

10 years of experience
326 reviews
Nathaniel
10 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Norfolk, Virginia
He service my car again and again he was amazing. He said he has been working on car since he was 13 and it shows. Love his work. Eventhough you are paying for the service he is well worth tipping.
Honda Accord - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Norfolk, Virginia
Nathaniel was amazing. He struggled with the part a little but he did not give up. He really really knows what he is doing. I always feel like my cars arenever easy and it showed me that today My car was leaking but not anymore. I sat with him and he worked the whole time. He showed me the part and why it leaking and the difference in new and old. He answered every question I had and explained everything. He made sure the car was right before he left. There is not a car that I would not want Nathaniel to work on. I enjoyed his service

Pedro

22 years of experience
33 reviews
Pedro
22 years of experience
Chevrolet Malibu L4-2.4L - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Canoga Park, California
Pedro is very friendly and professional. He was also thorough with the information and service report. He was transparent with pricing and the work that needed to get done. I will definitely use this app next time I need a repair. Thanks Pedro!

Ruben

17 years of experience
169 reviews
Ruben
17 years of experience
Nissan Altima L4-2.5L - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Columbia, South Carolina
Rubin was very courteous and professional during his visit. He told extra time to try to resolve the problems.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Improve Your Gas Mileage
Every driver wants a fuel efficient car. Check your tire pressure, replace old spark plugs, and change your engine air filter to improve your MPG.
How to Replace the Downshift Solenoid in Your Car
Downshift solenoids in your transmission give you a seamless experience when braking, and are important to make sure brakes always work properly.
The Difference Between a Sports Car Engine and a Regular Engine
While they are similar in modern design, most everyday car engines are optimized for fuel efficiency and sports car engines for speed and performance.

Related questions

Gas mileage down
First off, spark plugs are not going to affect fuel mileage. Also, how are you checking fuel mileage? If you are using the indicator on your dashboard or overhead console, this isn't perfectly accurate. The only accurate way is to...
Reverse doesn't work? Could it be solenoid?
Hi there, thanks for writing in. There is a reverse band that will lock the reverse drum to reverse the rotation of the output shaft. You will need to have the transmission tested to see if the band is being...
Slight smell of gas or oil and poorer mpg fuel efficiency
This may be a result of a faulty oxygen sensor. As you may know the oxygen sensors which are part of your emissions system read exhaust gases to determine whether or not the appropriate amount of oxygen is present in...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com