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P0217 OBD-II Trouble Code: Engine Overheat Condition

Check Engine Light

P0217 code definition

Engine Overheating Condition

What the P0217 code means

The P0217 code means that the engine is or was overheating and should be turned off as soon as possible.

Most engines have an engine coolant temperature sensor that sends a voltage reading to the powertrain control module which converts that into a temperature. If this temperature exceeds a certain limit set by the vehicle’s manufacturer, the Check Engine Light will be illuminated and a P0217 code will be stored.

What are the causes of the P0217 code?

  • A leak in the cooling system from parts, such as the radiator, thermostat housing, radiator hoses, heater hoses, water pump, head gasket, or the engine itself

  • A faulty coolant temperature sensor

  • Damaged wiring associated with the coolant temperature sensor

  • A faulty powertrain control module

  • Inoperative fan clutch or electric cooling fan

  • Restriction in the radiator or other parts of the cooling system

  • A thermostat that is stuck close

What are the symptoms of the P0217 code?

  • A message displayed that indicates that engine power has been reduced (on vehicles with fail-safe cooling systems).

  • Engine may shut off to avoid severe overheating

  • Steam or smoke may be emitted from the engine compartment

  • Loud boiling sounds coming from the engine bay

  • Coolant may explode out of any part of the cooling system if the system has become over pressurized

  • Severe engine damage may result from overheating

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0217 code?

A mechanic may diagnose the P0217 code by checking the coolant level and inspecting the cooling system for any obvious damages such as cracks and leaks.

If no obvious issues are found, the mechanic would then run a cooling system pressure test to help locate any leaks that may exist. A leak found during this test would likely cause the P0217 code and would need to be repaired before any further diagnosis may take place.

If no leaks are found in the cooling system, the mechanic would then check the operation of the electric cooling fans or fan clutch. If the fans are not working properly, fuses and relays may be checked to resolve the issue if the fan is electric. If the fan is not working and is not electric, the fan clutch would likely be replaced.

If the electric fan is inoperative, the fuse, relay or fan itself may require replacement. As long as no issues are found with the operation of the cooling fan, the mechanic would then use an infrared thermometer to check the cooling system for hot spots.

Hot spots that exist in the cooling system indicate that the cooling system has a restriction in it. A cooling system restriction can only be corrected by replacing the part that has the restriction or is running a high pressure coolant flush on the vehicle. If no hot spots are found, the problem may lie with the coolant temperature sensor or the powertrain control module.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0217 code

A common mistake that could be made is replacing the coolant temperature sensor before thoroughly checking each component for leaks. When a P0217 code is stored, the chances of it being a false alarm are very slim. If this code exists in your vehicle’s powertrain control module, it is likely a real problem and should be diagnosed and repaired immediately.

How serious is the P0217 code?

The P0217 code is very serious. This code being stored in the powertrain control module for too long can lead to the end of a vehicle’s operation. Engine overheating can result in engine failure. Anyone with an overheating condition should consider this very serious and should act as soon as possible to correct the issue and prevent further damage.

What repairs can fix the P0217 code?

Additional comments regarding the P0217 code

In order to avoid getting a P0217 code, it is a good idea to keep up with your basic vehicle maintenance. Having your vehicle’s coolant replaced at regular intervals will help prevent overheating issues throughout the life of the vehicle.

Need help with a P0217 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

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