P0013 is a somewhat frequent OBDII trouble code. It is generic, which means that it has the same meaning for the Chevy Equinox, as it would any other vehicle. It only affects vehicles with Variable Valve Timing. Below we’ll outline the major symptoms and causes of P0013, as well as the most common fixes.
The Equinox uses the Oil Control Valves to adjust camshaft timing and facilitate variable valve timing. This allows it to have a more aggressive camshaft profile when the engine is under heavy load, and a tamer profile when cruising for improved fuel mileage. Bank “1” is the side of the engine that contains cylinder 1.
The oil control valve uses the motor oil in the engine as hydraulic fluid to facilitate this adjustment in cam position. When P0013 is thrown, it may leave the camshaft in question in a position that may be on the power side, the economy side, or anywhere in-between. This means that even with the same vehicle, the symptoms can be totally different.
P0013 Symptoms: Chevy Equinox
As stated above, the symptoms of P0013 often depend on where the camshaft is located in its timing cycle.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of P0013:
- Service Engine Soon Light
- Difficulty Starting– If the camshaft profile has been greatly affected by the short/open in the oil control valve, it’ll have a harder time starting.
- Poor Performance– The camshaft will no longer be optimized for engine speed and load, which means mileage may suffer, as well as power.
Chevy Equinox P0013 Causes
The good news is that there aren’t a whole lot of things to check to properly diagnose P0013. Often the issue will be a loose or damaged wiring connector, or corrosion of the wiring harness leading to/from the OCV.
Wiring Issue– A great place to start would be with the wiring itself. Since P0013 means that the ECM is reporting that there is a short or open condition in the wiring that is coming to/from the oil control valve, wiring often ends up being the problem. You’ll need to lookup the specs for your particular year and model. Here’s a pretty good video on finding a short (YouTube).
Bad OCV Valve– After checking the wiring harness for the proper voltage it may be time to get a new oil control valve. They aren’t that expensive. If money is tight, you can check and clean it to see if that’ll solve the problem.
Here’s a fantastic video on how to diagnose this code.
Bad PCM– This is highly unlikely, but if all else fails, the a failing powertrain control module can lead to a P0013 being triggered.
P0013 isn’t that difficult to diagnose in the Equinox, since most of the time it’s either going to be the wiring or the OCV itself. Good luck with clearing the code. If there is anything that