P0010 is a relatively common trouble code. It affects vehicles with variable valve timing (VVT). The list of VVT vehicles is growing, and the Acura MDX can have VVT, and is prone to developing this code.
If your MDX has the P0010 trouble code it will typically not pass the State emissions tests.
P0010 Definition Acura MDX
The Acura MDX utilizes camshaft actuators to change the valve lift depending on the RPM of the motor. This allows for a more efficient cam profile at any speed. This increases both engine efficiency and power.
Camshaft Position Actuators change the lift of the camshaft up to 25 degrees. They are hydraulic, which means that they use the vehicle’s engine oil to control lift. So, if you have low oil pressure or dirty oil, it can keep them from doing their job properly, and trigger P0010.
When these camshaft actuators go bad, the engine will no longer be able to properly change the valve timing and there may be a noticeable loss of fuel economy and power.
Acura MDX P0010 Symptoms
When the camshaft actuators go bad, they can leave the engine timing a wreck. Here are some of the typical symptoms of P0010 in the Acura MDX:
- Poor Idle Quality– If the camshaft actuator fails while giving the engine aggressive valve timing, it’ll idle roughly.
- Decreased Gas Mileage– Now the engine can no longer adjust its cam timing on the fly, it will no longer be able to produce optimal combustion which equals poor economy.
- Lost Power– The engine will not be able to produce as much power. This is because the cam profile will not allow it run a performance power curve when you need more power.
- Service Engine Soon Light– Most of the time, you’ll be able to feel or see one of the above symptoms, but if you can’t, the service engine soon light will still come on and let you know that something is wrong.
Possible MDX P0010 Causes
There are quite a few different things that can cause the P0010. Here are the most common causes:
- Engine Timing– If the camshaft(s) are no longer synced to the crank properly (such as if the timing chain jumped a tooth), it can cause the engine timing to be off enough to throw the P0010 even though it’s not the Actuator’s fault. Here’s more on that from this site: Timing Chain Jumped Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Engine Oil– If the engine oil is dirty or low, it may cause the actuator to function improperly.
- Bad Intake Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid– The actuator solenoid itself can go bad over time. You certainly don’t want to start here, since a lot of the time it’ll be something else that causes the P0010 to appear. They typically aren’t that expensive.
- Wiring Issues– The wiring going from the solenoid to the ECM can become damaged or broken. This will throw the P0010 OBDII code. The wiring harness to the intake camshaft position sensor may also develop a poor connection. YouTube: How to Find an Open or Short the Fast Easy Way.
- Bad ECM (highly unlikely)- If the MDX’s computer goes bad, then it may throw this code along with other issues. Here’s how to tell if you have a bad ECM Autoblog: Symptoms of a Bad ECM.
Here’s a phenomenal video on how to test a cam/crank actuator. It’s on the page instead of a link because it’s that worth watching. Always make sure that you check everything else that you can before actually opening up an engine.
Good luck diagnosing the P0010 in your Acura MDX. If you would like to add anything, please leave a comment below.