P0296 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 12 Contribution/Balance Fault

Our certified mechanics come to you · Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of diagnosing the P0296 code

P0296 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Cylinder 12 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. Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 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$20.00
Toyota$20.00
BMW$20.00
SCHEDULE P0296 DIAGNOSTIC Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

P0296 code definition

The P0296 code means that the PCM detects that the voltage reading for the fuel injector circuit in cylinder 12 does not align with the manufacturer’s specifications.

What the P0296 code means

Part of the fuel injection system within the cylinders is a crankshaft. The engine control module, or ECM, measures the rate at which the crankshaft accelerates in order to provide a voltage reading to the PCM. The PCM compares this reading to the manufacturer’s specifications, to ensure that the fuel injection system is working properly. If the values for cylinder 12’s operation do not match up, the PCM stores the P0296 code.

What causes the P0296 code?

In many cases, the fuel injector is either dirty, plugged, or faulty. However, the fuel injector harness may be open or shorted as well. Other causes may include:

  • Poor electrical connection in the fuel injector circuit
  • Damaged, corroded, or loose wiring, connectors, or other electrical components
  • Faulty fuel injector driver in the PCM

What are the symptoms of the P0296 code?

The P0296 is often accompanied by decreased engine performance, including a rough idle, a misfiring engine, and choppy acceleration. The Check Engine Light will be on, and the code will be stored in the PCM. There may also be a noticeable decrease in fuel economy.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0296 code?

Using an OBD-II scanner, the mechanic should begin by verifying the code, and abstracting any other codes from the PCM to ensure that there is not a wider problem. The first diagnostic test should be a visual inspection of all electrical components, including wiring and connectors. If any of these components are damaged, loose, or missing, they should be repaired or replaced.

After performing this routine, the code should be cleared from the PCM, and the system should be retested. If the code is stored in the PCM again, the mechanic has successfully diagnosed an issue within the fuel injection system, and can begin repairs.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0296 code

The only known mistake that is commonly made when addressing the P0296 code is replacing the PCM, thinking that the issue lies in a faulty driver, too early in the diagnosis and repair process. It is very rare for the PCM to be at fault, and far more likely that the issue is a simple matter of shorted circuits or faulty fuel injectors.

How serious is the P0296 code?

Because the P0296 code relates directly to the operation of a vehicle cylinder, this repair is considered very serious. If fuel is not being delivered to the cylinder properly, it could lead to misfire and total transmission failure. When the P0296 code is detected, this issue should be addressed right away.

What repairs can fix the P0296 code?

In order to repair the cause of the P0296 code, there are many things that a mechanic may do. These include:

  • Flush, repair, or replace a dirty, plugged, or faulty fuel injector.
  • Repair or replace an open or shorted fuel injector.
  • Repair or replace any damaged, corroded, or loose wiring, connectors, or other electrical components.
  • Replace a faulty PCM.

After each repair, it is important to clear the code from the PCM, and retest this system. This process eliminates features or components, and narrows down the issue until the real cause can be found. Additionally, any other codes that are stored in the PCM should be addressed, particularly if they also relate to the fuel injection system. Two or more codes could be part of a larger issue.

Need help with a P0296 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.

trouble codes
p0296
Check Engine Light

No more waiting rooms! Our mechanics will come to you to diagnose and fix the P0296 code.

SCHEDULE P0296 DIAGNOSTIC
Get a $20 credit for the follow-up repair

Recent Check Engine Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Check Engine Light is on Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.8/5

Number of Reviews

5,156

Rating Summary
4,752
196
50
27
131
4,752
196
50
27
131

Al

21 years of experience
14 reviews
Al
21 years of experience
Nissan Pathfinder - Check Engine Light is on - Atlanta, Georgia
Al, was cool and very knowledgeable. Being direct and upfront always works. Al, is a credit to the company.

Xavier

10 years of experience
20 reviews
Xavier
10 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Check Engine Light is on - Frisco, Texas
Xavier was GREAT!!! He made sure that I understood everything that he did to my vehicle and answered all my questions. Very thorough and even worked thru the light rain that we had. When I have to use this service again, I hope to be able to request him!

Luis

14 years of experience
52 reviews
Luis
14 years of experience
Kia Sorento - Check Engine Light is on - Las Vegas, Nevada
Luis did an excellent job in determining that this was a warranty issue on bad parts. He has integrity and is good at what he does. I would highly recommend him for any auto repairs that come up.

Reginald

36 years of experience
32 reviews
Reginald
36 years of experience
BMW 325i - Check Engine Light is on - Los Angeles, California
Reginald was incredibly helpful in helping me to diagnose several issues in my car, as well as repair issues to help me pass a break and light test. He even went so far as to come to the brake and light testing location so that he could ensure that the car passed and be there if anything else needed to be fixed on the spot. Absolutely would recommend him to anyone who is looking for an honest and knowledgeable mechanic!


More related articles

P0776 OBD-II Trouble Code: Pressure Control Solenoid B Performance
P0776 code means there is an abnormality within either the electronic pressure control circuit or solenoid often due too dirty fluids or faulty parts.
B1928 OBD-II Trouble Code: Air Bag Safing Sensor Output Circuit Failure
B1928 means there is an electrical short in the air bag safing sensor, likely due to a defective electrical component or sensor.
P0337 OBD-II Trouble Code: Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Low Input
P0337 means that the crankshaft is suffering because of low voltage. This could be due to sensor not being aligned properly or electrical problems.

Related questions

2009 Nissan Murano has the P0420 trouble code. It says the normal bank 1 issue, but now it says short to VBAT. What is that and how to fix it?

Hi there. From the description you have provided, for your vehicle's P0420 trouble code. I suspect the O2 (Oxygen) sensor you replaced has created an additional concern for your vehicle. Either, the O2 sensor is incorrect by application or is...

Sputtering, misfiring, power loss and gain

Hey there: There are usually two different mechanical problems that cause the symptoms you're describing with your Pontiac Firebird. The first and most common is a problem with the ignition coil, (especially in mid-90's GM V-6 engines) or due to...

Sputtering when going uphill. Changed spark plugs and could and now worse

Hello, thank you for writing in. Starting with checking the spark plugs is a great idea, as these are typical symptoms of spark failure. Although the check engine light was not on before, it is now, and there are likely...

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 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com