What does diagnostic trouble code P0171 mean? This code signifies that the air-fuel mixture ratio in the engine is unbalanced. It is either due to fuel being too little or air being too much.
Another term associated with the code is “system too lean (Bank 1)”. It means that on the first bank of your engine (where your cylinder number 1 lies), a vacuum leak is present. It also suggests part of your fuel system is malfunctioning.
Common P0171 symptoms include: hard starting, high fuel trim, engine hesitation, and engaged check engine light is on.
So, how do you fix code P0171? In some cases, you just need to go straight to your oxygen sensors and replace them. That’s it! Everything’s fixed. However, this is not always the case. In fact, engine code P0171 can be triggered by various reasons. That is why it is advisable to conduct a thorough check-up first to accurately pinpoint the main problem.
Start your diagnosis by looking for vacuum or air leaks. See if all seals, lines, and hoses are properly attached and connected. The key to finding leaks is to pay attention to the hissing sounds created by escaping air. Another option is to use a vacuum gauge.
Next step is to examine fuel pressure. The fuel pressure gauge result must be within your car manufacturer’s specifications. Proceed with checking the mass air flow sensor if code P0171 isn’t resolved even after conducting vacuum leak and fuel pressure tests. Presumably, the MAF sensor is the culprit, so cleaning it should do the job. However, if the cleanup still fails to fix the code, it’s best to inspect the oxygen sensors as well.
Lastly, if trouble code P0171 persists, perform a test on the powertrain control module. Make sure to complete all the diagnostic procedures. Doing so will give you a clearer and better understanding of your car’s status.
Now, if the problem is too much air, then you’re probably looking at a faulty mass air flow sensor, a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, a vacuum leak, or an exhaust leak. In contrast, if there’s too little fuel present, the problem may lie on a weak fuel pump, a dirty fuel injector, or a clogged fuel filter.
In conclusion, fixing engine code P0171 can be done in multiple ways, from simple cleansing to shifting over to a new set of car parts.
Code P0171 can escalate to a serious issue if left untreated. You could experience overheating or internal engine damage. The best remedy is to immediately run tests and replace faulty parts.
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