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

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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
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