P3481 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Deactivation/Intake Valve Malfunction

Our certified mechanics come to you · Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of diagnosing the P3481 code

P3481 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Cylinder 11 Deactivation/Intake Valve Malfunction". 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. Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. All our repairs are backed by our 12-month / 12,000-mile warranty.

Cars Estimate Credit towards follow-up repair Earliest Availability
Ford$20.00
Toyota$20.00
BMW$20.00
SCHEDULE P3481 DIAGNOSTIC Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

P3481 code definition

P3481 is the OBD-II trouble code for Cylinder 11 Deactivation/Intake Valve Ctrl Circuit/Open. Cylinder 11 specifies that the issue is likely taking place in engine cylinder number 11. Other codes in the P3400 series may also present when P3481 is set.

What the P3481 code means

Some vehicles with larger, more powerful engines than are typical have a feature which automatically shuts down half the cylinders, depending upon the driving conditions and load weight. This helps reduce emissions, increase fuel efficiency, and allows the engine to run more smoothly.

The engine communicates with the PCM (powertrain control module) in the form of voltage signals. When the computer receives a valve deactivation signal from cylinder 11 which falls outside of the predetermined parameters, code P3481 will set.

What causes the P3481 code?

Any of the following conditions may trigger this DTC:

  • Restricted oil pressure
  • A bad cylinder 11 deactivation solenoid connection
  • An open or short in the harness or other circuitry
  • Fuel pressure issues
  • Bad valve lifters/tappets
  • A mechanical failure in the engine

What are the symptoms of the P3481 code?

The Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light will likely come on, and you will be unable to run the vehicle in lower modes. Emissions may increase and fuel efficiency may be compromised.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P3481 code?

Your technician will follow a prescribed set of steps, which may include:

  • Connecting the vehicle to a scanner in order to record relevant data and note any other stored fault codes
  • Clearing the vehicle’s computer of any trouble codes and road testing the vehicle to see if they return
  • Diagnosing and repairing any faults which occurred prior to P3481
  • Testing the oil level and pressure
  • Testing the deactivation solenoid using a tool which activates and deactivates the solenoid
  • Checking oil passageways for buildup and sludge
  • Assessing the valve lifters
  • Inspecting the deactivation solenoid wiring and connectors

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P3481 code

Carrying out a thorough inspection of all involved components is critical to making a correct diagnosis. Restricted oil passageways are often overlooked as a cause of a fault in the cylinder 11 deactivation/intake solenoid circuit. In addition, sometimes the mass airflow sensor is to blame, particularly in diesel engines.

How serious is the P3481 code?

You may be tempted to ignore a Check Engine Light or cylinder deactivation circuit code because the vehicle will typically still run. But when the deactivation system doesn’t work as it should be, fuel economy and emissions will suffer, and the engine could be affected by being forced to constantly operate on all cylinders. It’s best to address this problem as quickly as possible in order to prevent future damage.

What repairs can fix the P3481 code?

A deactivation/intake valve malfunction may be resolved by:

  • Replacing the deactivation valve solenoid
  • Replacing the valve lifters
  • Replacing the mass airflow sensor
  • Repairing damaged wiring or fixing loose or damaged connections
  • Clearing oil passages of sludge and buildup

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P3481 code

This type of fault typically occurs in diesel vehicles with larger engines. These vehicles may require a specialized scanner which can reveal much more detailed information about the trouble code than a typical OBD-II scanner. Expensive software is also sometimes required to access the data from the scanner.

Depending upon the source of the DTC, the entire engine may need to be disassembled in order to clear oil passageways of clogs. This is a major undertaking for which most driveway mechanics are not equipped. Consulting a professional could save you a considerable amount of time and hassle in repairing DTC P3481, because they have the proper tools and expertise to work with engine problems on larger vehicles.

Need help with a P3481 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.

Check Engine Light
trouble codes
P3481

No more waiting rooms! Our mechanics will come to you to diagnose and fix the P3481 code.

SCHEDULE P3481 DIAGNOSTIC
Get a $20 credit for the follow-up repair

Recent Check Engine Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(6,295)

Rating Summary
5,825
224
52
35
159
5,825
224
52
35
159

JOHNNY

33 years of experience
96 reviews
JOHNNY
33 years of experience
BMW 325Ci - Check Engine Light is on - Sacramento, California
He was great explained everything to me and have now booked him for another appointment. Thanks johnny.

Ronald

41 years of experience
93 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Check Engine Light is on - Spring, Texas
Mister Ron was very nice and took time out to explain any concerns I might have about my car. He also made sure he communicated with me when he was on his way, once he was outside, and when we was done working on my car. I appreciate that considering I have a newborn that I had to look after.

Ronald

41 years of experience
93 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Ram 1500 - Check Engine Light is on - Spring, Texas
Extremely satisfied with the service, he was able to come out and diagnose almost immediately. We purchased the parts, he came back installed them and been running great since. Would definitely recommend him and will not hesitate to call again if needed.

Scott

36 years of experience
802 reviews
Scott
36 years of experience
Dodge Neon - Check Engine Light is on - Tempe, Arizona
I truly enjoy Scott as he has done work for me in the past. Scott is very friendly, knowledgeable, and a true professional! I highly recommend him.


More related articles

P2652 OBD-II Trouble Code: B Rocker Arm Actuator System Stuck On Bank1
P2652 P2652 code definition B Rocker Arm Actuator System Stuck On Bank1 What the P2652 code means The Engine control module (ECM) has a wide variety of jobs, but one of the most critical is to keep the supply of...
P2227 OBD-II Trouble Code: Barometric Pressure Circuit Range/Performance
P2227 trouble code definition Either the barometric pressure sensor is providing a reading that does not correspond to the parameters of the...
P2703 OBD-II Trouble Code: Transmission Friction Element D Apply Time Range/Performance
P2703 P2703 code definition A P2703 trouble code means that the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has detected a malfunction in the transmission friction element D application. In addition to the storage of a trouble code and the illumination of the...

Related questions

1999 firebird every now and then dies while driving and low engine power light comes on

A bad mass airflow (MAF) sensor can cause loss of power, no starts, and lean or rich conditions. If cleaning the sensor did not get rid of the P0102 trouble code, then replace the MAF sensor and clear the...

Can shaft position sensor all of the outcomes of the problem

Possibilities: 1 - Simply replacing the camshaft sensor will solve your problem. 2 - If it does not, with the age of the vehicle, there can be a break in the wiring harness to the cam sensor. 3 - If...

Fuel System?

A whirring noise is actually a common symptom of a failing fuel pump. You can rule the power steering pump in or out just by disconnecting power steering belt. Obviously, if the noise remains the same with pump disconnected, then...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com