Nissan P1217:  Meaning, Causes, How to Fix

If your Nissan has the P1217 trouble code, don’t worry. You can fix it yourself. This article will show you how.

Always start diagnosing P1217 by confirming that the engine coolant level’s where it needs to be.  If the radiator overflow is empty, don’t fill it up while your engine is overheating.  The cold coolant can shock the engine and crack a head or blow a head gasket.

Always start by making sure your vehicle is full of coolant.

Nissan P1217 Quick Info

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MeaningP1217 Engine Over Temperature
SymptomsOverheating, smoke From the engine, loss of power
CausesMany, including the radiator, cooling hoses, thermostat, water pump
DiagnosisNot Usually too Difficult
Repair CostUsually inexpensive unless the radiator needs replacing
Repair DifficultyNot very difficult

P1217 Meaning

P1217 is a manufacturer-specific code, and in the case of Nissan-made vehicles, it indicates “Engine Over Temperature.”

Nissan P1217 Symptoms

  • Engine overheating
  • Loss of power due to excessive heat in the engine bay
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Smoke coming from the exhaust system
  • White smoke from the tailpipe when idling or accelerating
  • Coolant leaks from hoses and other parts of the cooling system

Nissan P1217 Causes

Here are the most common reasons why a Nissan-made vehicle will have P1217:

Thermostat Stuck Closed

P1217 Nissan Causes

The thermostat is a valve that controls the flow of coolant to the radiator. When it sticks, it won’t allow any coolant to pass through, and the engine will overheat.

Failed Radiator Cap

The radiator cap keeps pressure in the cooling system at optimal levels. If it malfunctions, it will cause the coolant to boil and the engine to overheat.

Failed Water Pump

The water pump cycles coolant through the engine block, keeping it at a constant temperature. If the water pump fails, the engine won’t be able to maintain a steady temperature and will overheat.

A failing water pump can cause your Nissan to overheat and code P1217 to appear.

It could be leaking, clogged, or have a mechanical issue that prevents it from working properly. If the water pump is to blame, it will need replacing.

Leaking or Blocked Coolant Hoses

Coolant hoses carry coolant to and from the radiator. If the hoses leak, or are blocked, there won’t be enough coolant in the system for proper cooling.

Electric Cooling Fan Failure

The electric fan helps the engine regulate its temperature. If it fails, the engine won’t be able to cool itself properly and will overheat.

The fan relay sends power to the electric fan. If it fails, the fan won’t be able to turn on and the engine will overheat. There could also be a short circuit in the fan’s wiring harness. Inspect the harness for any signs of damage.

Don’t touch the fan even if it’s off. It can turn on even with the engine off.

Clogged Radiator

The radiator can become clogged with dirt and debris. This prevents coolant from passing through, resulting in an overheating engine.

Leaking Radiator

Leaking Radiator P1217 Cause

The radiator can also develop a leak. This will cause coolant to leak and the engine to overheat. The good news is that it’s an obvious problem. Look under your Nissan and check for any signs of leaking coolant.

Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

The engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) monitors the temperature of the engine. If it fails, it won’t be able to accurately gauge how hot the engine is and P1217 will appear.

Check all wiring and connectors connected to the ECT for any damage or corrosion.  The sensor itself could also need replacing if there are no physical problems.

If you have codes P0017 or P0018, start with the ECT.

Diagnosing P1217

P1217 Diagnosis Nissan

Does the electric fan kick on when your Nissan gets hot? The fan relay or wiring harness could be to blame if it doesn’t. Check for any signs of damage and replace if needed.

If the electric fan works, inspect the cooling system for apparent issues.

Start by looking at the radiator and its hoses. With the engine off, squeeze the upper hose. Do you feel any pressure? Do you hear a squishing sound where the air is entering the system? Does the radiator look damaged?

Does the water pump make a squeaking sound? If so, that’s a strong indication that it needs replacing. How is the belt that turns the water pump? Is it slipping? It’ll likely be cracked and glazed if it is.


The Nissan P1217 Code indicates that the engine is over temperature. The most common causes of this code are a stuck thermostat, failed radiator cap, or a faulty water pump.

Make sure to inspect all aspects of the cooling system and replace anything that needs replacing. Doing so will prevent further damage and keep your vehicle running at its best. Good luck!