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P0817 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Starter Disable Circuit". 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.
The starter disable circuit is also referred to sometimes as “ignition interlock” or “neutral safety switch.” Its function is to interrupt the current to the starter if the transmission is in gear and not in “PARK” or “NEUTRAL,” or if the clutch is not disengaged on a manual transmission. The P0817 code is registered when the powertrain control module (PCM) detects a level of current that is not in line with factory specs. A code is then stored and the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) is illuminated.
A P0817 code denotes a fault in the circuit that prevents the vehicle from being started while in gear.
Causes commonly include:
Symptoms of the P0817 code usually are an illuminated MIL light, a no start condition, or a no crank condition.
Some vehicles have the starter connected directly to the battery and ignition switch. The heavy-gauge battery cable is connected directly to the starter solenoid with an eyelet-style cable end that goes directly onto the solenoid’s stud, and is secured with a nut and washer. This design is often called a primary circuit.
Other vehicles use a starter relay which is connected to the battery cable and ignition switch. When the ignition key is turned, the starter relay is activated and causes the starter solenoid’s contacts to close. When the solenoid contacts close, battery current goes to the starter motor, causing it to engage the flywheel and turn the engine over.
Newer vehicles have more problems with the starter motor’s voltage supply and relay than the motor itself, but often a snap diagnosis will lead a technician to replace the starter itself unnecessarily.
A P0817 code can result in a no start/no crank condition.
As with many other repairs, a P0817 code can be the result of a few different problems. Careful, patient step-by-step process of elimination is essential to properly troubleshooting and repairing this problem. Also note that code setting parameters can vary from one make to another, and many applications will require multiple failure cycles with a P0817 code before the MIL will be illuminated and a hard trouble code stored in the PCM. This article is only a general set of guidelines, as the design of the starter/ignition circuitry can vary greatly from one make to another.
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