Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid

Our certified mechanics come to you · Backed by our 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty · Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

GET A QUOTE Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee
Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid

Common signs of a faulty VVT solenoid include the Check Engine Light coming on, dirty engine oil, rough engine idle, and decreased fuel economy. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2010 Toyota Corolla $187 $116.98 $70.00 16% $224.48
2009 Chrysler 300 $113 $28.58 $84.00 28% $157.58
2013 Kia Forte $262 $178.08 $84.00 14% $307.08
2013 BMW 750Li $311 $226.86 $84.00 12% $355.86
2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 $226 $141.58 $84.00 16% $270.58
2003 BMW M5 $278 $194.47 $84.00 13% $323.47
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR

How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid?

vvt solenoid

In the early to mid-1960's, American automotive giants Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors ruled the streets and drag strips across the land. With every new car produced, the "Big Three" learned more about engine performance and how to squeeze every ounce of horsepower out of their engines by manually adjusting valve lash and ignition timing. One of the biggest breakthroughs was the development of variable valve timing (VVT), a new system that utilized advanced (for the time) electronic technology to apply variable electronic signals from the ignition system by way of a variable valve timing solenoid. Today, a VVT system can be found in virtually all production vehicles sold throughout the United States.

Each automotive manufacturer has their own unique VVT system, but most of them rely on a fully functional variable valve timing solenoid to control the flow of oil to the VVT system as it is engaged. This system typically activates when there is a significant load against the engine. Some examples of this include while a vehicle is carrying additional weight, traveling up hills, or when acceleration is expedited through throttle control. When the VVT solenoid activates, oil is sent to lubricate the variable valve timing chain and gear assembly. If the VVT solenoid fails or is blocked, the lack of proper lubrication can cause the timing chain and gear to prematurely wear or break entirely.

There are several other problems that may occur when a VVT solenoid is wearing out or has broken that may extend to complete engine failure. In order to reduce the potential of these serious situations occurring, listed below are a few warning signs to be aware of that might indicate a problem with the VVT solenoid. Here are a few symptoms of a worn out or broken VVT solenoid.

1. Check Engine Light comes on

Since today's modern cars are controlled by an Engine Control Unit (ECU), virtually all individual components are monitored by the ECU. When one part is beginning to fail, the ECU will store a specific trouble code that will let a mechanic using a scan tool know that a problem exists. Once the code has been generated, it will signal the driver by illuminating a specific zone warning. The most common light to illuminate when a VVT solenoid is failing is the Check Engine Light.

Due to the fact that every automotive manufacturer has different codes they utilize, it's critical for a car owner to contact a local ASE Certified mechanic to inspect the car, download the code through the correct diagnostic tool and determine the precise source of the problem. In fact, there are literally dozens of individual codes for VVT solenoid issues for every automotive manufacturer. Once the mechanic has this initial information, they can begin to resolve the specific issue.

2. Engine oil is dirty

This is more of a cause as opposed to a symptom. The VVT solenoid works best when the engine oil is clean, free of debris, or has lost some of its lubricity or viscosity. When the engine oil becomes clogged with debris, dirt or other foreign particles, it tends to clog up the passageway from the solenoid to the VVT chain and gear. If your engine oil has not been changed out on schedule, it could damage the VVT solenoid, the VVT chain, and the gear drive.

To avoid this situation, make sure to have your engine oil changed as recommended by the vehicle manufacture. Low oil levels can also cause problems with the VVT solenoid and other timing system components.

3. Rough engine idle

Typically the VVT system does not activate until the engine is at higher RPM or is introduced to load bearing situations like driving uphill. However, if the VVT solenoid is malfunctioning, it is possible that it will introduce additional engine oil to the VVT gears. This can cause the engine to idle rough, specifically the engine RPM to fluctuate as the system is activated. If not checked quickly, it can cause additional engine components to wear prematurely. If your engine idle is rough, make sure to have a certified mechanic inspect this as soon as possible.

4. Decrease in fuel economy

The purpose of variable valve timing is to ensure that the valves open and close at the right time to maximize engine performance and reduce fuel consumption. When the VVT solenoid is malfunctioning, the entire system can be compromised, which may result in intake and exhaust valves opening and closing at the wrong time. This typically causes the fuel economy to drastically reduce.

If you recognize any of the above warning signs of a bad or failing variable valve timing solenoid, contact a local ASE certified mechanic from YourMechanic. They can inspect your vehicle, replace the variable valve timing solenoid if needed, and keep your car or truck running strong.

Check Oil Light
solenoids
fuel economy
timing

Fast and easy Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement service at your home or office.

GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR
Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee

Recent Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.7/5

Number of Reviews

67

Rating Summary
65
1
0
1
0
65
1
0
1
0

Kiri

17 years of experience
298 reviews
Kiri
17 years of experience
He went above and beyond I loved the service this is my second time using "your mechanic" and this is my new mechanic period !! I HIGHLY recommend this service and this mechanic,also very friendly !!
2002 HONDA CR-V - VARIABLE VALVE TIMING (VVT) SOLENOID - PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Sam

12 years of experience
12 reviews
Sam
12 years of experience
He is spot on when it comes to arriving on time. The website said that my repair should take two hours. Sam had it done in 40 minutes and all my car trouble vanished.
2014 CHEVROLET CAPTIVA SPORT - VARIABLE VALVE TIMING (VVT) SOLENOID - OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

Joe

40 years of experience
533 reviews
Joe
40 years of experience
Joe is demonstrably knowledgeable in his field. Add to that his deliberate and thorough attention to the details as he works. Finally, he is pleasant in person, making what can sometimes be a stressful situation less so.
2006 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA - VARIABLE VALVE TIMING (VVT) SOLENOID - CLEARWATER BEACH, FLORIDA

Fernando

10 years of experience
31 reviews
Fernando
10 years of experience
Mechanic was very professional. He explained all the steps to complete the work. Work was done quickly and he took my car for a test run. My daughter said he car runs much better now.
2010 CHEVROLET COBALT - VARIABLE VALVE TIMING (VVT) SOLENOID - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...

Related questions

Q: Car starts, dashboard lights flicker, air conditioning shuts off

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 1993 Isuzu Pickup. It sounds like a bad ground in the instrument panel circuit. Looking at the wiring diagram, I see the AC heater control panel and instrument cluster share the same...

Q: Truck will crank, but engine won't start - 1973 Chevrolet K20

Hello there, thanks for writing in. The wiring diagram for the ignition system of your vehicle is pretty simple. Power flows from the ignition switch to the coil. When the engine is cranked, the points open and close to create...

Q: How do I adjust the distance to empty calculation?

The distance to empty feature tells you approximately how many miles you can drive before you run out of fuel. Because you get worse fuel economy when towing a trailer, your distance to empty number is much lower when a...

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.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com