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P0275 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 5 Contribution/Balance Fault

Check Engine Light

P0275 code definition

The P0275 code means that the fifth cylinder in your vehicle is having a contribution/balance problem. Basically, something is wrong with the way it’s processing fuel.

What the P0275 code means

In order for a vehicle’s engine to work correctly, its cylinders must be able to fire in order and in a specific way. This is how it creates the heat necessary to ignite your fuel and, essentially, get the automobile to move. There are a lot of problems that could keep an engine from doing this correctly, but if it has anything to do with the processing of fuel, then the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is going to store problem code P0275.

The vehicle’s PCM is constantly monitoring the power output being created by each cylinder. Doing this allows this important module to compare the crankshaft’s increase in speed during the power stroke of the automobile’s cylinders.

To work correctly, every cylinder in the vehicle must contribute the same amount of power – or at least within 5% of one another. When this doesn’t happen, the P0275 code will show up on your scanner.

What causes the P0275 code?

More than likely, something is wrong with the vehicle’s fuel injector. If the fifth cylinder isn’t creating as much power as the others, then it’s probably due to a lack of fuel, which would be the injector’s fault.

It could be that an electrical problem is causing the fuel injector to lack power. Instead of the conical spray it’s supposed to be giving the cylinder, it could be providing a much smaller amount.

Dirt, debris or some other contaminant could have gotten on the fuel injector’s inlet filter too. This would also keep it from providing as much fuel as the fifth cylinder requires. The fuel injector itself may have become clogged too.

What are the symptoms of the P0275 code?

There are a handful of symptoms that could be causing the P0275 code:

  • The vehicle sustains a rough idle
  • The customer complains of poor fuel economy
  • The vehicle suffers from poor acceleration or power
  • The Check Engine light is on

If the Check Engine light is on, but none of these other symptoms are occurring, it could be that the PCM is simply malfunctioning, though this is pretty rare.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0275 code?

A mechanic can do the following to diagnose the source of the P0275 code:

  • First, the OBD-II scanner should be hooked up to the vehicle so all codes that have been stored by the PCM can be downloaded. Make sure you address all these problems, not just P0275, as they could be related.

  • Then, a mechanic should inspect the fuel injector. The harness side may be corroded or have pins that have been pushed out. Bent pins are a sign of problems too.

  • Start the engine. You can put the end of a long screwdriver to the injector and then place your ear on the handle to listen for the characteristic “ticking” sound that indicates the engine is running normally. If you don’t hear this, it’s probably because the injector has failed.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0275 code

One common mistake a lot of mechanics make is not doing a good job of cleaning the fuel injector. Another mistake would be not looking for the source of the mess. Vehicles are designed so these injectors will stay clean. If you clean off the mess, but don’t look for where it came from, the vehicle may experience problems again in the near future.

How serious is the P0275 code?

This problem isn’t necessarily going to put the driver at risk, but it’s also going to keep the vehicle from starting properly and could cost a lot at the pump because of a reduced fuel economy.

What repairs can fix the P0275 code?

Fortunately, cleaning may be all it takes to fix this problem. However, it’s often necessary to replace the fuel injector if it’s become too damaged to repair.

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0275 code

Even if all the fuel injector needs is a good cleaning, it’s important to do this ASAP.

Need help with a P0275 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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