Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Switch

underhood visual of car engine

With engines getting smaller but demand for power along with efficiency increasing, variable valve timing (VVT) gives you the best of both worlds. At low speeds, you have a small efficient engine. At higher engine speeds, the VVT solenoid supplies oil pressure to the camshaft lobes to alter their profile. The valve will open farther and longer to give you the power of a larger engine. When the VVT switch is not functioning properly, you can have loss of power and/or an illuminated check engine light.

  • Note: There is typically a VVT switch/solenoid on both the intake cam and the exhaust cam. Make sure you are replacing the correct one.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing the VVT solenoid

Materials Needed

  • Engine oil (any grade)
  • Multi-bit driver set
  • Ratchet/sockets
  • Wrenches - box/open-end

  • Tip: It’s a good idea to have one of these multi-bit driver sets in your tool collection. In today’s vehicles, you can have a number of different types of fasteners - phillips, flat-head, torx-head - so having interchangeable bits makes life easier than having complete sets of different screwdrivers.

typical vvt switch

Step 1: Locate the VVT switch. If so equipped, remove any intake covers for ease of access.

Once removed, locate the correct VVT switch you are replacing - intake or exhaust side.

Once located, remove the electrical connector, being careful how much force you use. Plastic components underhood become brittle due to the engine’s heating and cooling cycles.

Step 2: Remove the VVT switch. The VVT switch is typically held in place with one mounting bolt.

Remove it and set it aside. Carefully pull the switch out of its mounting, making sure the o-ring or seal is removed along with it.

Step 3: Clean the VVT switch mounting area with a rag. Wipe the mounting area as to keep any dirt or debris from getting into the mounting surface/bore.

Making sure the new o-ring/seal is in place on the new VVT switch, dab a bit of engine oil on the o-ring so it slides into place without damage. Secure it in place with the mounting bolt and reattach the electrical connector.

engine cover being installed

Step 4: Check for leaks. Before replacing any engine covers removed to access the VVT switch, start the vehicle and check for leaks.

Also, check that the Check Engine Light is not on. Once verified, turn the engine off and reattach any covers.

Step 5: Clear the codes. If you do not have a code reader available, most vehicles typically self-clear fault codes after 5-10 ignition cycles - starting the vehicle, driving it, then turning it off.

If this does not happen, get a fault code reader to clear the code or visit a local auto part store that may be able to do it for you.

If you do not feel confident performing this repair on your own and your vehicle is showing signs of reduced power or has a fault code set, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians come to your home or business and perform a replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...


Related questions

Q: - Issues with the Air Restricter Gauge which is affecting the engine. Engine is in LHM

Hi and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. Air restriction gauges measure the amount of vacuum created when air is pulled through the filter. It measures the buildup of dirt from a new filter’s installation throughout its useful life. Check the air...

Q: What do I do if the moon roof tilt won’t close?

There is a possibility that when you try and close the moon roof tilt, it will close and then partially reopen. If so, simply stop the vehicle and perform the relearning process for the moon roof. Press and...

Q: Misfires on cylinder 3

Hello. Instead of only replacing the coils between cylinders 2 and 3, I think you should replace all of the coils with new coils, if you haven’t done so yet. The results of your compression test show that you have...