P0246 code definition
This is the universal DTC for Turbocharger Wastegate Solenoid High.
What the P0246 code means
The wastegate in a turbocharged vehicle is part of the system which regulates maximum boost pressure, by opening and closing in order to divert exhaust. This safeguard acts as protection for the turbocharger as well as the engine.
If a vehicle sets this code, it means that the ECM (engine control module) has received a signal indicating that the wastegate solenoid A circuit voltage does not fall within the recommended specifications. Other turbocharger or engine codes may be stored along with P0246.
What causes the P0246 code?
Causes of a wastegate solenoid circuit malfunction may include:
- A bad wastegate solenoid
- A stuck or impaired wastegate door
- A short or open in the solenoid harness
- Corroded solenoid connectors
- A faulty ECM (rare)
What are the symptoms of the P0246 code?
When there is a wastegate solenoid circuit malfunction, you may notice poor acceleration, abnormal sounds from the turbocharger or pipes, exhaust smoke, and/or poor engine performance. The engine may experience a boost condition while idling, which could cause stalling or rough idling. You may also see other codes that have set, upon scanning the vehicle’s computer, such as other turbocharger codes, knock sensor, or misfire codes. The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) will likely also illuminate.
How does a mechanic diagnose the P0246 code?
This DTC may require the following diagnostic procedures:
- Connect a scanner to the vehicle to check for other codes and to record freeze frame data
- Clear all codes and then road test the vehicle to see if the code returns
- Address any co-existing DTCs in the order in which they occurred (particularly boost pressure sensor codes)
- Visually inspect the wastegate solenoid and its surrounding circuitry and connections
- Check resistance and voltage to be sure they match manufacturer’s specifications
- Check the vacuum lines and wastegate door for sticking
- Visually observe the wastegate door and actuator rod while activating the vacuum pump
Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0246 code
Diagnostic errors may include replacing the wastegate solenoid without inspecting the rest of the system, such as the wastegate door and linkage. If the wastegate door is stuck, or connectors or wiring are compromised, replacing the solenoid may only result in continued failure.
In addition, it’s important not to overlook any boost pressure sensor codes that are present along with P0246. If one is present, this should be repaired prior to performing any repairs on the wastegate solenoid A circuit.
How serious is the P0246 code?
While this malfunction does not typically cause catastrophic damage, it could cause the vehicle to continually stall or run poorly. This happens because an error in the solenoid or related components could keep the wastegate door from functioning properly, resulting in a constant boost condition.
What repairs can fix the P0246 code?
Repairs that can solve a faulty wastegate solenoid signal include:
- Repairing damaged wiring or connections to the wastegate solenoid
- Replacing the solenoid itself
- Replacing the ECM (this is rarely required)
Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0246 code
If, after clearing all codes from the vehicle’s computer, the problem cannot be replicated, you may have an intermittent condition. These are particularly challenging because unless the problem is consistent, it can be difficult to trace. Checking for loose connections and bad wiring and repairing as necessary may resolve an intermittent condition.
Each turbocharged system is different, with various solenoids working in sequence to control the wastegate and its related components. The tricky part is that there is no universal pattern of how the solenoids are placed. If you plan to attempt this repair yourself, you’ll want appropriate documentation, including a manufacturer’s wiring diagram for your particular system so you can easily locate circuit A.
Need help with a P0246 code?
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