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P0865 OBD-II Trouble Code: TCM Communication Circuit Low

diagnostic check engine light

P0865 code definition

The P0865 trouble code notes an error with the traction control module communication circuit.

What the P0865 code means

The P0865 code is a generic OBD-II trouble code that detects an issue with the traction control module communication circuit. This communication circuit is responsible for sending data to the powertrain control module (PCM), and numerous other control modules, such as the engine control module and the transmission control module. The PCM and the accompanying control modules use this data to determine proper fuel delivery strategy, engine timing, and numerous other performance calculations. When one of the control modules notes that the traction control module communication circuit is no longer relaying data, then the P0865 trouble code will be triggered.

What causes the P0865 code?

The P0865 trouble code is almost always the result of a faulty traction control ON/OFF switch, which usually occurs due to liquid spills on the switch in the vehicle’s interior. It is also possible that the issue is the result of damaged electrical components in the system, such as shorted wires, corroded connectors, or blown fuses.

What are the symptoms of the P0865 code?

The P0865 trouble code will usually be accompanied by the illumination of the check engine soon Warning Light, as well as the traction control Warning Light. In most cases, the traction control system will be disabled, so the vehicle will have worse grip on wet or icy roads. It is also fairly common for the car to experience transmission problems, such as harsh shifting or even an inability to shift. Fuel efficiency will likely be diminished as well.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0865 code?

The P0865 code will be diagnosed using a standard OBD-II trouble code scanner. A trustworthy technician will observe the freeze frame data from the scanner to gather information about the P0865 code, and to check for any additional trouble codes that are present. If the mechanic notices other trouble codes, then they will need to be addressed in the order in which the scanner displays them. The trouble codes will then need to be reset, and the vehicle will need to be restarted, which will allow the mechanic to check and see if the code remains detected. If it does not, then the code was most likely detected erroneously, or caused by an intermittent error.

If the P0865 code remains an issue after this reset, then a visual inspection on all of the system’s electrical components will be performed. Any connectors, wires, or fuses that are defective will need to be replaced. If the electrical system is in working order, then it should be assumed that the traction control ON/OFF switch is the cause of the P0865 code. This will almost always fix the P0865 code, but if it does not, a deeper inspection of the control module will be in order.

Any time that a mechanic replaces one of the components, the trouble codes will need to be reset, the vehicle restarted, and the code again checked. By doing this, the technician knows the exact point at which the issue has been resolved.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0865 code

The most frequently made mistake when diagnosing this code comes from not following the OBD-II diagnosis protocol. It is vital that mechanics always abide by the protocol step by step, as this guarantees thorough and efficient repairs.

It is fairly common for traction control modules to be replaced erroneously (this is a very rare culprit) before the electrical components or the ON/OFF switch are even inspected.

How serious is the P0865 code?

In most cases, a vehicle with a detected P0865 code will still be drivable, though the drivability may be compromised slightly. It is possible that the car will be virtually inoperable due to an inability to shift, but even if the car drives well, doing so risks causing further damage to the transmission. As such, the P0865 code should be dealt with in a very timely fashion.

What repairs can fix the P0865 code?

The most common repairs for the P0865 trouble code are a replacement of the traction control ON/OFF switch, and replacement of the electrical components in the system.

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0865 code

The P0865 trouble code only appears in cars that have an electronic traction control system.

Need help with a P0865 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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