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 for $114.99 . Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.0 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 $114.99 $20.0
Toyota $114.99 $20.0
BMW $124.99 $20.0
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

(7400)

Rating Summary
6879
249
58
41
173
6879
249
58
41
173
 at YourMechanic

David

13 years of experience
393 reviews
David
13 years of experience
Chevrolet Malibu L4-2.4L - Check Engine Light is on Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
He explained everything to me in detail on what I needed to know about my car. Definitely recommend him for getting the job done.
 at YourMechanic

Raymond

37 years of experience
402 reviews
Raymond
37 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.2L - Check Engine Light is on - Las Vegas, Nevada
Raymond did a great job however I was charged for two hours labor and he was only here less than 45 minutes. should I expect this on future appointments with your mechanic ?
 at YourMechanic

Shane

17 years of experience
217 reviews
Shane
17 years of experience
Volkswagen EuroVan V6-2.8L - Check Engine Light is on Inspection - Austin, Texas
Arrived on time. Explained the issues he found and how he will fix it. I have parts on order and will schedule an appointment to have Shane install the parts when they arrive.
 at YourMechanic

Kanstantsin

19 years of experience
51 reviews
Kanstantsin
19 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-4.6L - Check Engine Light is on Inspection - Littleton, Colorado
Kanstantsin arrived early. Was very courteous and professional. Will highly recommend to anyone. Thank you Kanstantsin.


More related articles

P0268 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder number 3 Injector Circuit High
P0268 P0268 code definition Cylinder number 3 Injector Circuit High What the P0268 code means P0268 is an OBD-II diagnostic trouble code (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/what-is-the-on-board-diagnostics-obd-system) that is stored when the engine control module (ECM) (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/what-is-a-vehicle-s-electrical-control-unit) detects that the cylinder number 3 injector...
P3443 OBD-11 Trouble Code: Cylinder 6 Deactivation/Intake Valve Control Circuit Low
What What the P3443 code means This code indicates that there is a problem with your intake valve on cylinder number 6. Your vehicle’s control module recognizes that the measured values from the throttle position (TP) sensor, the manifold absolute...
P0571 OBD-II Trouble Code: Cruise Control/Brake Switch A Circuit Malfunction
P0571 means there is a problem with the switch that that deactivates the cruise control system which causes the cruise control to not function.

Related questions

Can't pass smog check due to Check Engine light.
In your case I would recommend getting a second opinion. Enlist the help of a professional, such as one from YourMechanic, to scan your vehicle for trouble codes. The check engine light and the smog test failure are certainly related....
Reduced engine power
Code P0120 (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/p0120-obd-ii-trouble-code-tps-a-circuit-malfunction-by-jay-safford) relates to the throttle position sensor and can be caused by the following: Sticking throttle return spring MAP or TPS connector corrosion Misrouted harness causing chafing Bad TPS Bad PCM Code P0220 (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/p0220-obd-ii-trouble-code-throttle-pedal-position-sensor-switch-circuit-b-malfunction-by-andrew-quinn) relates to the throttle...
Wondering if fuel injector(s) is/are going bad
Although faulty fuel injectors could cause the issue you are describing, the symptoms associated with the diagnostic trouble code you found, namely P0344 (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/p0344-obd-ii-trouble-code-camshaft-position-sensor-circuit-intermittent-by-valerie-johnston) are consistent with the symptoms that you are reporting. Consequently, you are better off resolving the...

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