P0010 is a relatively common trouble code. It affects vehicles with variable valve timing (VVT). The list of VVT vehicles is growing, and the Toyota Highlander can have VVT and is prone to developing this code.
P0010 is often by low or sludgy oil. Check your Highlander’s oil as soon as possible.
P0010 is a generic OBDII code. This means that it has the same definition regardless of the make or model of the vehicle. It has the same definition for the Toyota Highlander as any other car or truck.
If your Highlander has the P0010 trouble code, it will typically not pass the State emissions test.
Toyota Highlander P0010 Quick Info
|Definition||P0010 “A” Camshaft Position Actuator – Circuit – Bank 1|
|Symptoms||Stalling, Rought Idle, MIL Light|
|Common Causes||Wiring Issues, Bad Camshaft Actuator, Oiling Issues|
|Breakdown Risk||Not Usually, We Don’t Recommend Driving With It|
|Repair Cost (Parts Only)||$40-$100 (Camshaft Actuator)|
Toyota Highlander P0010 Defined: “A” Camshaft Position Actuator – Circuit – Bank 1
The Toyota Highlander utilizes camshaft actuators to change the valve lift depending on the speed of the motor. This allows for a more efficient cam profile (better power and fuel economy).
Camshaft Position Actuator
Camshaft Position Actuators can change the lift of a 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 change the valve timing properly, and there may be a noticeable loss of fuel economy and power.
The voltage value coming from the camshaft position actuator at Bank 1 is outside its normal operating parameters.
Bank one is the side of the engine with the first cylinder. If your Highlander has an inline engine, you don’t need to concern yourself with this.
If your Highlander has a “V” engine with two cylinder heads, you’ll need to look up which side is bank 1. It’s usually the cylinder head closer to the front of the engine.
Toyota Highlander 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 Toyota Highlander:
- 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 optimum 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 to 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 something is wrong.
Possible Highlander P0010 Causes
- Low Oil: The most common cause of P0010 is low oil. It needs to be low enough to lower the engine’s oil pressure (which is really low).
- Dirty Oil: If the oil and/or oil filter haven’t been changed in a long time, sometimes it can cause the camshaft actuator to clog up with sludge.
- Wrong Viscocity or Sludge Buildup (Too Thick or Too Thin): If you recently had an oil change and your Highlander now has this code, change the oil again, and verify that the shop used the right oil.
The two main causes of P0010 in the Toyota Highlander are issues with the wiring to the camshaft actuator or an issue with the actuator itself.
The wiring 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.
If you’re new to chasing down electrical issues, P0010 is a great code to start learning on. The wiring is simple, and the YouTube: How to Find an Open or Short the Fast Easy Way.
Bad Intake Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid
Here’s a phenomenal video on how to test a cam/crank actuator. It’s worth watching if you’re going to fix P0010 in your Highlander. Always make sure that you check everything else that you can before actually opening up an engine.
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.
- 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
- Bad ECM (highly unlikely)- If the Highlander’s computer goes bad, 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.
P0010 in the Toyota Highlander is usually caused by a bad camshaft actuator or wiring issue. But you should check your oil before doing anything else. If it’s excessively dirty, the sludge buildup can cause P0010. Good luck!