P0316 Code (Symptoms, Causes, and How to Fix)

Last Updated on December 29, 2022

Imagine starting your vehicle’s engine, only to feel a sudden hesitation, stutter, or miss. In most cases, this anomaly comes as the result of a defined misfire. This can be quite concerning, especially if such performance-related issues are uncharacteristic of your vehicle’s engine. This concern only becomes further magnified, if this misfire begins to arise more frequently.

Luckily, today’s vehicles tend to be relatively adept at registering and recording misfires, via their onboard management software. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for such software to log the exact cylinder on which a particular misfire took place. In certain instances, the duration of engine operation prior to any misfire event is also logged.

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Look no further than DTC P0316 for proof of this last point. This particular diagnostic fault code relates to a logged misfire event detected on startup. Simply put, this code directly correlates to misfires that have occurred in the first seconds immediately following initial start-up.

The timing-specific nature of this DTC proves quite valuable, especially when attempting to diagnose the issue at hand. Read on to learn more about DTC P0316, as well as how to address a code of this nature, should it be encountered in the future.

What Does Code P0316 Mean?

OBD-II Trouble Code P0316 Description
Engine Misfire Detected on Startup

Diagnostic fault code P0316 is indicative of an existing misfire condition, which has been registered by a vehicle’s PCM within the first minute of start-up. The term “misfire” is used to describe an individual combustion cycle that has failed within a given cylinder. This is felt by a motorist as a vibration, shimmy, or hesitation.

As stated, code P0316 deals specifically with misfires that take place immediately following engine start-up. However, this code might also be accompanied by additional codes (see below), which correspond to a given cylinder. The presence of a secondary cylinder-specific code would be indicative of a more consistent misfire, which also tends to be easier to isolate.

See Also: P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306, P0307, P0308

Symptoms of Code P0316

check engine light

Diagnostic fault code P0316 is often accompanied by a host of symptoms, some of which tend to be quite noticeable in nature. Recognizing these symptoms can be of significant value when attempting to formulate a viable diagnostic strategy.

The following are several of the most common symptoms associated with DTC P0316.

Causes of Code P0316

Diagnostic fault code P0316 can be caused by several different underlying issues, each of which warrants a thorough diagnosis. Understanding the potential causes of this fault code can prove valuable when attempting to remedy the issue at hand, in the most expedited fashion possible.

The following are several of the most common causes of DTC P0316.

Is Code P0316 Serious?

Diagnostic fault code P0316 is generally considered to be quite serious in nature, primarily due to the fact that this particular fault often foreshadows mechanical and/or electrical issues that will only grow more severe over time.

Additionally, misfire-related faults, such as DTC P0316 are often accompanied by a host of symptoms, many of which tend to negatively impact a vehicle’s driveability.

It is also worth considering that under certain circumstances, an unrepaired misfire can lead to further mechanical hardship. For example, when left untreated, ignition system failures resulting in a misfire can lead to excess downstream fuel dosing. This, in turn, can do significant damage to a vehicle’s catalytic converter, eventually necessitating replacement.

In any event, it is important to diagnose and repair the root cause of a vehicle’s P0316 fault code as soon as possible. Doing so can save unnecessary hassle and expenditure in the future.

Unless you feel confident in your ability to perform these repairs yourself, it’s recommended to make an appointment with a local service center at your earliest convenience.

How to Fix Code P0316

using an OBD2 scanner

The following steps can be followed to assist in diagnosing and repairing fault code P0316. As always, factory-specific service literature for your particular vehicle should be consulted before attempting any such repairs.

#1 – Check For Additional DTCs

Before beginning the diagnostic process, check for the presence of any additional fault codes using a good car diagnostic tool. Any such fault codes should be thoroughly diagnosed and repaired before proceeding.

#2 – Inspect Crankshaft Position Sensor

Begin by inspecting your engine’s crankshaft position sensor for obvious signs of damage. Likewise, check all associated wiring for any irregularities. An engine’s camshaft position sensor can also be checked in a similar fashion. 

#3 – Check Fuel Pressure

Next, check your engine’s fuel pressure at an appropriate test port, with the use of a quality pressure gauge. Compare readings to those specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

#4 – Analyze Freeze Frame Data

If your engine’s fuel pressure has proved satisfactory, it can be helpful to review all pertinent freeze frame data before proceeding. Lean fuel trims would be indicative of a fuel injector-related issue, or the presence of a substantial vacuum leak. In absence of a lean condition, the engine’s ignition system would prove suspect.

#5 – Test Injector Function

If a lean condition persists, each injector should be force cycled to test functionality with a bi-directional scan tool.

#6 – Check For Vacuum Leaks

In the event of a lean condition, an engine should also be checked for the presence of vacuum leaks. The exact location of these leaks can be identified with the use of a diagnostic smoke machine.

#7 – Verify Ignition System Function

In absence of a lean condition, an inline spark tester can be used at each individual cylinder to check for proper ignition system function.

#8 – Check Compression

If no issue has been located to this point, a compression test is likely in order. This should reveal the presence of internal engine damage, if any exists.

#9 – Reflash PCM

If all else appears to be in working order, your vehicle’s PCM might have to be reflashed or reprogrammed. This will likely require a visit to the dealer.

Josh Boyd

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