P0281 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 7 Contribution/Balance Fault

Our certified mechanics come to you · 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

SCHEDULE P0281 DIAGNOSTIC Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront
Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of diagnosing the P0281 code

P0281 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Cylinder 7 Contribution/Balance Fault". This can happen for multiple reasons and a mechanic needs to diagnose the specific cause for this code to be triggered in your situation. Our certified mobile mechanics can come to your home or office to perform the Check Engine Light diagnostic for $70.00. Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $30.00 off as a credit towards the repair. All our repairs are backed by our 12-month / 12,000-mile warranty.

Cars Estimate Credit towards follow-up repair Earliest Availability
Ford$70.00$30.00
Toyota$70.00$30.00
BMW$70.00$30.00
SCHEDULE P0281 DIAGNOSTIC Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

check engine light

P0281 code definition

The generic trouble code P0281 indicates cylinder 7 contribution/balance fault.

What the P0281 code means

The P0281 code means that cylinder 7 in the firing order of your cylinders is having an issue related to the fuel. Unless the cylinders are all working properly and are within 5% of one another, a code will likely be stored in the vehicle’s computer.

What causes the P0281 code?

The following are the common causes of the P0281 code:

  • Dirty fuel injector.
  • Clogged fuel injector.
  • Failed fuel injector.
  • Issues with the electrical connector located on the fuel injector.

What are the symptoms of the P0281 code?

If you have the P0281 code, it will likely be stored on your vehicle’s computer. You will also notice that the Check Engine light will be on. When you drive the vehicle, you will notice that the engine does not have as much power, and you will probably have trouble when you are trying to accelerate. You will also find that the engine runs rough when you are idling. The vehicle’s fuel economy may diminish as well.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0281 code?

Mechanics can use an OBD-II scanner, which they will attach to the vehicle’s computer. This will allow them to access data about the vehicle, which they will use to make the diagnosis easier. They will then reset the codes and test the vehicle. They want to see if the code actually comes back or not. If it doesn’t, it means it was triggered in error. If it does come back, then they know that they have to continue with the diagnosis and find the actual problem. The mechanic might also test the engine while it is running by pulling one spark plug at a time to look for the RPM drops for each cylinder.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0281 code

One of the misdiagnoses that some mechanics might make is jumping to the conclusion that the reason for the code is because the powertrain control module has a problem. While this could happen, it is exceedingly rare. They need to continue with their diagnosis and look for the actual cause of the problem.

How serious is the P0281 code?

Drivers might still be able to drive their vehicle when they have the P0281 code stored, but it’s not a good idea. The vehicle runs rough, and it has trouble when it comes to accelerating. It has the potential to be dangerous, and it’s something that you will want to have fixed as soon as possible. Always make sure to bring your vehicle to a mechanic who can diagnose the problem and then complete the needed repairs.

What repairs can fix the P0281 code?

The following are some of the repairs that mechanics can make to fix the P0281 code.

  • Once they’ve run the OBD-II scanner and made sure that the code is legitimate, they will want to inspect the electrical connections to check for corrosion and other damage. * Repair or replace elements as needed.
  • Flush the fuel injector.
  • Replace the fuel injector.
  • The powertrain control module is rarely at fault, but if it is, it might need to be replaced.

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0281 code

Dealing with auto repairs always feels like a hassle, and many drivers put off getting the needed repairs for as long as possible. This can be a bad idea though. Even though you might still be able to drive your vehicle when it has stored the P0281 code, it can cause problems. The vehicle will not run properly, and the fuel economy will suffer. Letting a vehicle go too long without repairs could cause other problems to arise. It is in your best interest to speak with a qualified mechanic who can perform the diagnosis and then take care of your repairs.

Need help with a P0281 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.

p0281
trouble codes
Check Engine Light

Fast and easy Check Engine Light is on Inspection service at your home or office.

SCHEDULE P0281 DIAGNOSTIC
Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Recent Check Engine Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Check Engine Light is on Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.5/5

Number of Reviews

3,203

Rating Summary
2,919
140
39
22
83
2,919
140
39
22
83

Nathan

26 years of experience
198 reviews
Nathan
26 years of experience
Nathan was knowledgeable about my car and very educational as well. He explained everything he was doing and why. I admire his attention to detail. He really showed genuine interest and attentiveness to the problem. He’s a great conversationalist and was easy to work with.
2013 CHEVROLET CRUZE - CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON - GLENPOOL, OKLAHOMA

Mack

19 years of experience
72 reviews
Mack
19 years of experience
Very nice and knew what he was doing. Got what I needed done even though was told wrong by the office.
1999 FORD F-150 - CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON - MIDLOTHIAN, TEXAS

Scott

31 years of experience
24 reviews
Scott
31 years of experience
Very nice friendly mechanic. Very helpful with with questions that I had. Offered good advice. He explained some of the problems to me and what should be the next to resolve it before spending unnecessary monies. This was my first time using him and will not be my last. I would recommend him to anyone. Especially women because he does not seem to take advantage of our knowledge of not knowing things about cars.
2001 HYUNDAI ELANTRA - CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON - PARKVILLE, MARYLAND

Tyrone

6 years of experience
61 reviews
Tyrone
6 years of experience
He showed up on time and got my diagnostic done quickly. He also gave me honest recommendations on what I need to do for my car.
2008 HONDA ACCORD - CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON - CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...

Related questions

Q: P0405 EGR Sensor A Circuit Low

Hello and thank you for your question. With having 200,000 miles on the engine, I recommend replacing the EGR and not just cleaning it. The plunger is probably has too much carbon build up making the EGR stick open when...

Q: I have a 2010 Buick Enclave cxl and the engine light when on a week ago on Monday I took it to auto zone and they gave me a code f

Most emission codes will not result in a no crank condition. Once the cause of the no crank/no start fault is repaired though, you should still request a check engine light diagnostic so that the responding certified mechanic can find...

Q: Car starts hard and occasionally stalls out. Smells like gas when running.

Hello. If you have poor connections at the ignition coils then that will cause cylinder misfires. These loose connections can also shorten the life of the ignition coils. The connectors need to be replaced in order to ensure that there...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com