Blog Car Care Advice Everything You Need to Know About VVT Solenoid Replacement
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Everything You Need to Know About VVT Solenoid Replacement

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Notice your car idling rough or a plunging fuel gauge? 
It might be time to get your Variable Valve Timing (VVT) solenoid swapped out.

But how do you replace a VVT solenoid?
And will a VVT solenoid replacement burn a hole in your pocket?

Keep reading to find out the red flags of a faulty VVT solenoid and what the VVT solenoid replacement process looks like.

This Article Contains:

6 Warning Signs You Need a VVT Solenoid Replacement

Here are some red flags that indicate potential Variable Valve Timing (VVT) solenoid problems:

  1. Rough idle: Sometimes, variable valve timing system malfunctions might allow excess oil flow to the VVT gears. This can lead to fluctuating engine RPMs and rough idling.
  1. Rattling noise from the engine: A rattling or ticking noise under the hood could point to a bad VVT solenoid. This is because the solenoid isn’t giving enough oil pressure to the VVT actuator. When the actuator doesn’t get the necessary pressure, it can’t maintain the engine’s timing accurately. As a result, you hear that unsettling noise. 
  1. Reduced acceleration: If your car isn’t accelerating as usual, it might be because your engine isn’t getting the power it needs for optimal performance. When a VVT solenoid fails, it won’t adjust your engine’s timing correctly, resulting in reduced engine power.
  1. Dirty engine oil: If your engine isn’t running right, it could be because of gunky or dirty oil clogging the variable valve timing solenoid system. If cleaning the solenoid and changing the oil doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to replace it.
  1. Declined fuel efficiency: Any glitch in the variable valve timing system can cause increased fuel consumption and a drop in engine power. This happens when a bad VVT solenoid can’t adjust the engine’s timing for optimal air-fuel mixture. Your engine then uses more fuel than necessary.
  1. Lit check engine light: The check engine light illuminates when the solenoid fails to adjust the valve timing or has a wiring problem. In such cases, the ECU will register an error code, like P0011.

Next, let’s find out how we can fix these issues.

How to Replace a Bad VVT Solenoid: A General Know-How

Swapping out the VVT solenoid is delicate work and needs some technical know-how. That’s why it’s best to let a pro handle it. 

Here’s how a mechanic would replace the VVT solenoid:

Step 1: Open the Hood

First, they’ll pop the hood open and secure it. If your car has an engine cover, they’ll take it off.

The mechanic will then carefully disconnect the car’s battery to prevent any unwanted surprises, like a short circuit.

Step 2: Locate the VVT Solenoid

The VVT solenoid is located in the front of the engine, near the valve cover.

They’ll spot the connector at the exposed end of the variable valve timing solenoid. Next, they’ll use bungee cables to secure the wires or harnesses away for better access.

Step 3: Remove the Mounting Bolts

The mechanic will carefully remove the bolts from the VVT solenoid’s mounting point and store them safely.

Step 4: Take Out the Solenoid

They’ll detach the electrical connector from the solenoid by pressing a tab to unlock it. Once done, the mechanic will pull out the solenoid.

Step 5: Inspect the VVT Solenoid

They’ll check the solenoid mounting surface for leftover pieces, such as an o-ring screen or valve parts. The mechanic will also clean out any debris with a long pick or needle nose pliers.

Step 6: Insert the New Solenoid

They’ll apply some grease on the new solenoid and its seals before inserting it into the solenoid spool.   

The mechanic will pop the new VVT solenoid into the mounting surface hole and secure it with screws. 

Step 7: Install the Connector

They’ll reattach the connector to the VVT solenoid’s end. The mechanic may dab some dielectric grease on the seal and the connector’s face to prevent corrosion.  

Step 8: Reassemble the Remaining Components

The mechanic will rearrange the wires and harnesses, re-install the engine cover, reconnect the battery, and shut the hood. Finally, they’ll start the car to check if all systems work correctly.

Now, we’ll explore how much this process might set you back.

How Much Does a VVT Solenoid Replacement Cost?

A VVT solenoid replacement can cost anywhere between $340 and $401. This includes about $219 to $249 for parts and $121 to $152 for labor.

These costs may vary depending on the vehicle model, parts, and labor rate.  

Have more questions?
Let’s address them.

4 FAQs about the VVT Solenoid

Here are answers to some common queries on VVT solenoids:

1. What Is a Variable Valve Timing Solenoid?

A VVT solenoid controls oil flow to the VVT actuator, ensuring the best engine performance under different RPMS and engine loads. 

How does it do that?
It uses camshaft and crankshaft sensors as well as the ECU to adjust the timing of the intake and exhaust valves on the camshaft.

Unlike engines with set timing (where the parts move the same way), a VVT system can change the timing according to the required engine performance. 

For instance, it can adjust the timing to give you extra power when your vehicle speeds up. Similarly, when you’re cruising and don’t need much power, it can adjust the timing to improve fuel efficiency. This optimizes engine power, torque, and fuel economy.

2. How Long Do VVT Solenoids Last?

VVT solenoids don’t have a scheduled replacement interval because they’re built to last as long as your car. 

But remember, they can still fail unexpectedly if you don’t keep up with the oil change, oil filter service, or car maintenance routines. So, get a mechanic to check out the solenoid if you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above.

3. Should You Drive with a Bad VVT Solenoid?

No, you shouldn’t drive your car with a VVT solenoid failure

Driving with a faulty VVT solenoid can lead to low fuel economy, reduced power, and severe engine damage. It’s best to address the issue ASAP to maximize performance and avoid hefty repair bills.

4. How Can You Prolong the Life of a VVT Solenoid?

Here are ways to avoid VVT solenoid problems: 

Fix Your VVT System Issues with AutoNation Mobile Service

Although VVT solenoids are built to last, they aren’t immune to failure. So, get your VVT solenoid checked out at the first sign of trouble.

And to avoid driving your car to a mechanic, contact AutoNation Mobile Service
We’re a mobile auto repair and maintenance service that can come to you. We offer convenient online booking, upfront pricing, and a 12-month, 12,000-mile repair warranty.

Get in touch with us, and we’ll fix your VVT solenoid and other car issues right in your driveway.