Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

P0342 OBD-II Trouble Code: Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Low Input

Check Engine Light logo

P0342 code definition

The PCM (powertrain control module) sets code P0342 when it detects that the camshaft position sensor circuit on engine bank 1 is sending a reading that’s erratic or otherwise outside the manufacturer’s settings. The PCM then illuminates the Check Engine light to alert the driver of the problem.

What the P0342 code means

When the camshaft position sensor is working properly, it provides the PCM with data about the camshaft’s position based on how the teeth or notches on the camshaft disrupt its electromagnetic field. The PCM needs this information to provide proper strategies for ignition timing and fuel delivery. When the input is low or otherwise incorrect, the PCM will not have enough information to provide the proper timing for these functions.

What causes the P0342 code?

There are a number of issues that can trigger a P0342 code. These include:

  • A weak or dead battery
  • An open or shorted camshaft position sensor wiring harness
  • A defective starter motor
  • A problem in the starting system circuit
  • A defective camshaft position sensor

What are the symptoms of the P0342 code?

When the P0342 code is set, there are only a few symptoms that are likely to occur:

  • Illuminated Check Engine light
  • Lack of power or loss of power while driving
  • Engine hesitation
  • Engine misfire
  • Engine stall
  • Hard starts

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0342 code?

After using an OBD-II scanner to identify all stored codes, a mechanic will then visually inspect all wiring and circuits involved in the system. They will make any repairs they see necessary, clear the codes, and retest the system. If they do not see any issues with the wiring or connections and/or these repairs do not solve the issue, they will then check the charge on the battery and test the starter motor, as well. As they perform each diagnostic task and/or repair, they will clear all codes and test the system again until the problem is resolved.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0342 code

Technicians report that the most common mistake is not a misdiagnosis but rather use of inferior replacement parts. If a replacement sensor is needed, it’s best to use an OEM part, rather than a discount or used part of questionable quality.

How serious is the P0342 code?

Any problem that can make engine function erratic and unpredictable should be taken very seriously. A misfiring engine or one that hesitates or loses power can be incredibly dangerous under otherwise normal driving conditions. Furthermore, this kind of poor performance, if left unresolved long enough, can cause other engine problems, which can lead to much lengthier and more expensive repairs in the future.

What repairs can fix the P0342 code?

If resolved in a timely manner, most of the repairs for a P0342 code are fairly simple and straightforward. They include:

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0342 code

The camshaft position sensor is an essential part of the system that allows your vehicle to run smoothly and reliably. If it is not functioning properly for any reason, you will notice significant symptoms. These will only get worse over time, so it’s important to get the issue resolved ASAP.

This is also important if you need to renew your vehicle’s registration in the near future. In many states, you’ll need to pass an OBD-II emissions test once a year or at least once every two years. If the Check Engine light is illuminated, your vehicle will not be eligible to pass the test, and you will not be able to complete your registration until you resolve the problem. So it makes sense to get it done sooner rather than later.

Need help with a P0342 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
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Why do I have a p0016 trouble code?

The cause for a p0016 trouble code could be normally be tracked to one of two areas. The code is set when the computer does not see synchronized information being received from the cam and crank sensors. It will be...

Q: Check engine light is on and engine is misfiring

The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors from the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system collects and temporarily stores the fuel vapors in the charcoal canister. The charcoal canister is filled with activated carbon pellets that can...

Q: Check engine light came on, attached code reader on pickup code 0138, 0132, and 0420 came on

Hello. Typically when you get these codes together it is because the catalytic converter has failed. When it fails and clogs internally then these codes will come up. As for the no start, it may indeed be a starter or...