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P0617 OBD-II Trouble Code: Starter Relay Circuit High

Check Engine Light

P0617 code definition

The P0617 code indicates that there has been an abnormally high voltage reading detected by the PCM from the starter relay circuit.

What the P0617 code means

The starter relay is part of the system that activates and engages the starter motor. Vehicles that utilize starter relays also require signals from the battery, ignition switch, and other components, to operate properly. The starter relay collects these signals, and sends an output signal to the PCM. If the PCM receives a signal from the starter relay circuit that is higher than the manufacturer’s specifications for the current drive conditions, the code P0617 will be stored.

What causes the P0617 code?

The most likely cause of a high voltage reading in the starter relay circuit is a faulty ignition switch. However, because the starter relay relies on several components to accurately determine voltage output, there could be any number of other causes, including:

  • Blown fuses
  • Bad starter relay
  • Circuits which are shorted or open
  • Defective battery
  • Faulty battery cables or cable ends
  • Defective starter solenoid or starter motor
  • Poor electrical connection in the starter relay circuit
  • Open or shorted starter relay harness
  • Faulty TCM, in rare cases

What are the symptoms of the P0617 code?

The symptoms related to the P0617 code could be almost anything, from an illuminated Check Engine lamp, to a complete no-start condition.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0617 code?

After verifying the P0617 code with an OBD-II code, technicians should begin with a visual inspection of all electrical components, including wiring and connectors. Anything that is damaged, corroded, loose, shorted, open, or disconnected should be repaired or replaced. Always be sure to clear the code and test the system after each potential repair is attempted, to be sure that no unnecessary repairs are performed.

If repairing the electrical components did not stop the code from reappearing in the PCM, the next step is to inspect the battery cables and battery. If the battery is fully charged, perform a voltage test on each of the components related to the issue, checking the readings against the manufacturer’s specifications until the faulty component is discovered.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0617 code

Most often, technicians report that replacing the starter motor without performing a thorough diagnosis will cause the most issues later on. It’s far more likely that the starter motor is operating correctly, and that the electrical components are to blame.

How serious is the P0617 code?

This trouble code represents a very serious issue that should be repaired immediately. If there is an issue within the system that starts the vehicle, it will eventually lead to an inoperable state, even if the vehicle is currently able to start.

What repairs can fix the P0617 code?

There are many ways that a technician can address a P0617 code detection. They include:

  • Replacing a faulty ignition switch
  • Replacing blown fuses
  • Replacing a bad starter relay
  • Repairing any circuits which are shorted or open
  • Replacing a defective battery
  • Replacing faulty battery cables or cable ends
  • Replacing defective starter solenoids or starter motors
  • Repairing a poor electrical connection in the starter relay circuit
  • Replacing or repairing open or shorted starter relay harness
  • Replacing a faulty TCM, in rare cases

Need help with a P0617 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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