P3497 is a generic OBD2 trouble code. It indicates that your Honda Element’s cylinder deactivation system has a performance issue on the bank 2 side (we cover what a bank is below if you don’t know). It is a very common code to see in Honda-made cars, vans, and trucks.
P3497 by itself is not a breakdown risk. Your Element’s engine will run just fine on all of its cylinders. The concern with this code is that some of the potential causes can lead to engine failure. Before doing anything else, check the oil level.
Many of these systems won’t work if the oil level is deficient. Check your Element’s oil level as soon as possible if you get this code. Low oil is the most common cause of P3497.
P3497 Definition: Cylinder Deactivation System – Bank 2
Here’s the definition of P3497 for the Honda Element. There are two main parts. They’ve been separated so that it’s easier to digest.
Cylinder Deactivation System
Cylinder deactivation increases fuel economy by letting your Element’s engine bypass cylinders and reduce displacement.
The PCM (powertrain control module) takes info from the various engine sensors and uses it to determine when to engage cylinder deactivation.
On some older Honda models, you’ll see the word “eco” in green on the dash, indicating that it is on. On newer ones, the ambient light above the dash will be green when it’s on and white when it’s off.
On vehicles with two separate cylinder heads (V6 and V8 engines), there are two cylinder banks, one for each head. Bank 2 is the bank with the second cylinder.
Cylinder heads can’t be parallel since the piston rods can’t occupy the same space. So one is always in front of the other. When you look closely at the engine, one cylinder will typically be closer to the front than the other. That is usually bank one, which makes bank 2 the other cylinder head.
P3400 is the bank 1 version of this code.
Honda Element P3497 Symptoms
There aren’t many symptoms associated with P3497 in the Honda Element. The engine may sound a little different when cruising, but you’d really have to be paying attention. Here are the common symptoms:
- Lower fuel economy
- Check engine light
- More cylinder deactivation related codes
Honda Element P3497 Causes
While there are many causes of P3497, we’ll start with the easiest things to check and work from there.
Check the Oil and Oil Pressure
Check your oil level. If it is low, fill it back up. This is the most common cause of P3497 and how a lot of folks first discover that their Element’s engine is using oil.
If you have an oil pressure gauge, and the amount of pressure is lower than it should be (or if the oil pressure light is on), there’s not enough oil pressure for the cylinder deactivation system to function.
You’ll need to address what caused your Honda Element’s low oil pressure.
Check for Other Codes
P3497 is often accompanied by other codes.
- VVT related codes
- Misfire codes
- Oil Pressure codes
Based on what codes you see stored in your Element’s PCM, you’ll need to move your diagnosis in different directions. It’s common to see VVT codes plus a misfire code (like P0300 or P0302) or a VVT code and an oil pressure code. In either situation, ignore the VVT code (for now) and focus on the misfire or oil pressure code.
If there are only other VVT codes, they can help you pinpoint exactly what is happening with the VVT system, as P3497 is rather broad.
If you have P3400 and P3497 together, that would be a strong indication that there is a real issue with the oil pressure, and not the sensors themselves.
Oil Pressure Sensor
On most vehicles made by Honda, there will be an oil pressure sensor for each bank of the engine. In this situation, replacing that oil pressure sensor in question is one of the more common fixes for P3497.
If your Element registered an oil pressure-related code, replacing the bank 1 oil pressure sensor is a more likely fix than a bad oil pump or other low oil pressure cause.
Check out the video below. This guy fixed P3497 by replacing the bank 1 oil pressure sensor. It took one socket and about 5 minutes of his time and a 24mm socket.
An issue with the wiring harness going to the VVT system and the oil pressure sensor(s) can cause P3497. Check to make sure the wiring hasn’t burnt, frayed, or otherwise been damaged in some way.
Q: What is the most likely cause of the P3497 trouble code in the Honda Element?
A: P3497 is most likely caused by an extremely low oil level or a bad oil pressure sensor.