Honda VTEC solenoid is an important component that controls the flow of oil to the internal galleries of the overhead camshaft.
VTEC, which stands for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control is both a mechanical and electronic system that allows the engine to have several camshafts.
When the engine goes to different RPM ranges, the engine electronic system activates alternate lobes automatically on the camshaft and also changes the cam’s timing thus allowing the engine to get the best features of high-speed and low-speed camshafts. But like other engine components, VTEC solenoids usually break down over time.
Bad VTEC solenoid is very common, especially for Honda cars that cloaked 100 miles. Common symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid include: check engine light and the car going into limp mode leaving you in a panic mode.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the common symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid and their causes. Make sure you read until the end so that you don’t miss any crucial points.
Common symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid from Honda
Although it is rare for Honda VTEC solenoids to go bad, they do experience problems when they age or when the engine has an issue that affects their performance.
Before we discuss the common symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid, let’s first discuss how a Honda VTEC solenoid works. As pointed out earlier, the role of a VTEC solenoid is to control the flow of oil to the internal galleries of the overhead camshaft.
This crucial component works alongside the oil pressure switch and they activate the camshaft’s high-performance settings together.
At the switch point, the VTEC solenoid is activated thus allowing oil pressure from a spool valve to operate a locking pin that binds the high RPM rocker arm to the low RPM rocker arm. The valves will open or close depending on the high lift profile.
Failing VTEC solenoid symptoms include:
Rough engine idle
One of the top symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid is very poor idle at low RPM which clears at high RPM. When your Honda VTEC solenoid is bad, it prevents the valve timing from retarding or advancing as it should. This causes the engine to exhibit performance issues, including rough idle and poor acceleration.
Check engine light
When the engine control unit warns you that there is a problem in the engine, then the problem could be a bad VTEC solenoid. Most modern engines are computerized and will quickly alert you when they detect a problem.
Decreased fuel economy
The main role of a VTEC solenoid is to control the open and shut timing of the valves to maximize fuel efficiency. So, if your VTEC solenoid is bad, there will be a decline in fuel efficiency.
If you notice that your Honda car fuel efficiency has decreased drastically, chances are that the VTEC solenoid has failed. The best solution in this situation is to replace the worn-out VTEC solenoid with a brand new one to enhance fuel efficiency.
Another symptom of a bad engine oil leak that develops slows and gets worse over time. The main function of the VTEC solenoid is to allow oil to flow to the internal galleries of the overhead camshaft.
This means that VTEC solenoid housing holds back full engine oil pressure. The rubber gasket installed usually hardens and shrinks over time, leading to an oil leak that worsens over time as the rubber continues to shrink and harden.
The solution is to monitor the rubber gasket and replace it regularly to prevent leakage.
Dirty engine oil
This is another common symptom of a bad VTEC solenoid is dirty engine oil. This crucial component usually performs at its best when the engine oil is clean.
So, when your engine oil has a lot of impurities, it will lose its viscosity, causing clogging in the VTEC solenoid system and if the issue is not fixed on time, it will result in complete damage.
If there is a check engine sign on the dashboard and your engine oil is dirty, then chances are that the VTEC solenoid has malfunctioned. The solution to this problem is to ensure that you change your engine oil regularly to prevent damaging the VTEC solenoid.
How do I know if my VTEC solenoid is leaking?
One of the common symptoms of a bad VTEC solenoid is an engine oil leak. The best way to know if your car’s VTEC solenoid is leaking is by checking the condition of the rubber gasket.
If the gasket has hardened and shrunk, then that is a clear sign that the engine oil leak is coming from the VTEC solenoid. Another way to know if your VTEC solenoid is leaking is if there is a check engine warning on the dashboard.
Is it bad to drive with a bad VTEC solenoid?
YES, it is bad to drive with a bad VTEC solenoid. Even though your car will still move with a bad VTEC solenoid, if the issue is not fixed on time, it may damage crucial parts like the VVT actuator.
A bad VTEC solenoid may also cause your car to go into limp mode at any time. Therefore, it is important to fix the problem as soon as possible.
How do I know if I need a new VTEC solenoid?
You should replace your current VTEC solenoid with a new one if it impacts your engine performance or is making your car less fuel-efficient. These are usually signs that the VTEC solenoid is damaged beyond repair and needs to be replaced.
Can an old VTEC solenoid be fixed?
YES, some old VTEC solenoids can be fixed if the damage is minor. For instance, if the VTEC solenoid is causing an oil leak because of a worn-out rubber gasket, then you can fix this by replacing the worn-out rubber gasket with a new one.
But in most cases, it is advised that you replace the old VTEC solenoid with a new one, instead of repairing it.
Honda VTEC solenoid is a very important device that controls the flow of oil to the internal galleries of the overhead camshaft. Therefore, you need to ensure that it is in top condition all the time.
In case it shows any of the symptoms listed above, take it to a trusted mechanic to have it repaired or replaced.