How to Replace a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Switch

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.


Next Step

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Recent Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(213)

Rating Summary
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Shawn

12 years of experience
152 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - New Holland, Pennsylvania
Always great, exactly what I need. Addressed the issue quickly and professionally. Polite, great guy.
Ram 1500 - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Shawn a very nice person got here on time answered all my questions very nice guy if I need a Mechanic I will ask for him again.

Matthew

33 years of experience
991 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Mini Cooper - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement - Hampton, Virginia
Highly professional n very personable. His mechanics knowledge n experience, backed by his ASE certification, was quite evident. Showed on time n quickly went to work. He was both diligent n quiet...and cleaned area upon job completion. With his honesty n persona, a friendship could easily develop. I would highly recommend Matthew for any future repair considerations.
Nissan Altima - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Hampton, Virginia
Matt was very professional, arrived early, and explained everything in layman terms for me. There was a small glitch in the ordering of parts but Matt stepped in and took care of it. Did the repair and kept in touch with me via text while I was working. So glad I found this company and Matt!

James

16 years of experience
39 reviews
James
16 years of experience
GMC Terrain - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - San Antonio, Texas
Mr Porter was excellent, thorough, and explained all services that need to be done. He is easy to work with. Highly recommended. Jesse
Infiniti G37 - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - San Antonio, Texas
Great mechanic, extremely knowledgeable, and very punctual. Was able to explain everything in detail on what could be giving me problems on my car and fixed my issue well within the time limits he was given for the appointment in a professional manner.

Joseph

33 years of experience
540 reviews
Joseph
33 years of experience
Buick LaCrosse - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - Mesquite, Texas
He was awesome! He fixed my car and took the time to really talk to me and explain what was going on with my car. He's very personable, really cool guy. I would definitely recommend him.
Hyundai Tucson - Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid - McKinney, Texas
Jospeh was awesome! He diagnosed the check engine light issue to be a different part than what it read as on the 1st trip. Then he replaced it today! I would definitely book him again & would recommend him highly. Great guy!

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