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What Does Code P0000 Mean?
You’re probably already familiar with how the modern OBDII system works in your car. If the MIL or CEL (malfunction indicator lamp or check-engine light) illuminates, this means that the ECU (engine control unit) has detected a fault, of some type, and that the powertrain is running in open loop mode, also known as “limp-home” mode. To ensure proper operation, you should hook up a scan tool and retrieve the DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) stored in ECU memory. Given that there is a maximum of 10,000 DTC P-codes available, having a specific DTC to point you in the right direction is indeed helpful.
There is one DTC that stymies people almost every time, because it seems to make no sense. Defined as “No Diagnostic Trouble Codes Reported,” DTC P0000 should never show up on a scan tool screen. Indeed, if there are no drivability problems and no MIL, hooking up a scan tool generally results in a blank or “no codes” reading. There are two cases, however, when DTC P0000 may show up, even if you have drivability problems or an illuminated MIL.
What are the common causes of code P0000?
The main cause of DTC P0000 has to do with the scan tool in use. Some aftermarket scan tools are simply not equipped to read certain systems, protocols, and manufacturer-specific DTCs. As such, they default to display P0000, which can be a bit misleading. Update your scan tool software, make sure that it’s fully compatible with your year, make, model, and sub-model, or see if you can access an updated factory scan tool.
What are the symptoms of code P0000?
You may or may not experience any symptoms with DTC P0000 showing on a scan tool. The MIL may or may not be illuminated, and you may or may not experience any drivability issues.
How do you troubleshoot code P0000?
- If the MIL is not on, and you are experiencing no drivability issues, then chances are that the scan tool you are using is defaulting to the “P0000 – No DTCs Reported” reading. Keep calm and drive on!
- On the other hand, if the MIL is on or you are experiencing drivability issues, then it’s most likely that the scan tool you are using isn’t 100% capable of reading your vehicle. In addition to the 1,000 P0xx DTCs specified by SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers), there are thousands of additional manufacturer-specific DTCs. Additionally, there are systems that some scan tools simply aren’t designed to handle, such as the CAN (controller area network) or the hybrid controller on a Prius.
After making sure that your scan tool software is updated, check again. If you still come up with DTC P0000, you will need a compatible scan tool, or ask your friendly local dealer technician if he can hook up the factory scan tool to retrieve stored DTCs.
Codes Related to P0000
Because DTC P0000 leaves the door wide open to other DTCs being present, practically any DTC could be hiding behind it. You’ll need an updated or factory scan tool to gain full access and read any DTCs in system memory.