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Variable Valve Timing VVT Solenoid Valve Failure Symptoms

Date:May 26, 2020

In the early to mid-1960s, American car giants Chrysler, Ford, and GM dominated the entire street, dragging many strips across land. At The Big Three, learn more about engine performance and how to manually tune valve clearance and ignition timing to squeeze out 1 ounce of horsepower each time a new car is produced. One of the biggest breakthroughs was the development of variable valve timing (VVT). It uses advanced (over time) electronics to apply a variable electronic signal from the ignition system through a variable valve timing solenoid. Today, the VVT system is installed in almost every mass-produced vehicle sold throughout the United States.


Although each carmaker has their own VVT system, most carmakers rely on fully functional variable valve timing solenoid valves to control the oil flow as they enter the VVT system. The system usually starts up when the engine load is high. Examples of this are when the vehicle is carrying extra weight, traveling uphill, or accelerating with accelerator control. When the VVT solenoid is activated, it lubricates the oil and lubricates the variable valve timing chain and gear assembly. If the VVT solenoid valve fails or is blocked, proper lubrication will result in premature wear and even complete damage to the timing chain and gears.


Worn or damaged VVT solenoids can cause several other problems, which can extend to complete engine failure. To reduce the likelihood of these serious situations, some warning signals are listed below. Note that this may indicate a problem with the VVT solenoid valve. Below are some symptoms of VVT solenoid valve wear or damage.


1. Check if the engine light is on

Today's automobiles are controlled by engine control units (ECUs), so virtually every individual component is monitored by the ECU. When a part begins to fail, the ECU stores a specific fault code and informs the mechanic using the scan tool that there is a problem. After the code is generated, it alerts the driver by turning on warnings in certain areas. If the VVT solenoid fails, the most common indicator is the check engine indicator.


Each car manufacturer uses a different code, so owners should contact their local ASE certified mechanic to check the car and download the code via the correct diagnostic tool to determine the exact cause of the problem. Is important. In fact, every automaker actually has dozens of individual codes for VVT solenoid valves. Once the mechanic has this initial information, they can begin to resolve a particular issue.


2. Engine oil is dirty

This is the opposite of the symptoms. VVT solenoid valves work best when engine oil is clean, debris free, or lacking lubricity or viscosity. If the oil becomes clogged with dirt, dust, or other debris, the passageway from the solenoid to the VVT chain and gears will be blocked. If the oil is not replaced on time, the VVT solenoid valves, VVT chain and gear transmission can be damaged.


To avoid this, change the engine oil according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Also, low oil levels can cause problems with VVT solenoid valves and other timing system components.


3. Rough engine idling

Normally, the VVT system will not start until the engine reaches a higher RPM or introduces it under load (such as uphill driving). However, if the VVT solenoid fails, additional oil can be introduced into the VVT gear. This can cause the engine to idle roughly, causing fluctuations in engine speed, especially during system startup. If not checked immediately, other engine components can wear prematurely. If the engine is difficult to idle, a qualified mechanic should check this as soon as possible.


4. Lower fuel consumption

The purpose of variable valve timing is to open and close the valves at the right time to maximize engine performance and reduce fuel consumption. A failed VVT solenoid valve can damage the entire system, opening and closing the intake and exhaust valves at the wrong time. This usually results in a sharp drop in fuel economy.


If you find any of the above warning signals regarding damage or malfunction of the variable valve timing solenoid valve, please contact Your Mechanic with your local ASE certified mechanic. They can inspect your car, replace variable valve timing solenoid valves as needed, and keep your car or truck driving briskly.


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