The P0301 Engine Fault Code : Symptoms – Causes and Solutions. Engine fault codes are also referred to as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Driving and owning a vehicle entails encountering these codes. Engine fault code P0301 is one of the most common. This problem affects many engines, so what does this fault code mean? This article will go over the meaning, symptoms, causes, and common fixes for the P0301 error code.
DTC P0301 Definition
P0301 – Misfire in Cylinder 1.
This fault code is exactly what it sounds like. The P0301 code simply indicates that cylinder #1 is misfiring. Misfires happen when the cylinder does not completely burn. Air, fuel, and ignition are the three most important things for an engine to run. The engine will misfire if the air-fuel mixture is incorrect or the ignition is weak or non-existent.
Fortunately, DTC P0301 is usually a minor problem that is simple to resolve. This is especially true if this is the only diagnostic trouble code displayed. However, it is not uncommon to see fault code P0300 alongside P0301. This code indicates that multiple cylinders are misfiring, so if you’re experiencing multiple cylinder misfires, refer to the previously linked article.
P0301 and Other Codes
P0300, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306, P0307, and P0308 are the product codes.
Again, multiple cylinder misfires are possible. If this is the case, you should receive misfire codes for the misfiring cylinder(s). P0301 denotes cylinder 1 and P0302 denotes cylinder 2. The last digit on the list represents the misfiring cylinder.
Symptoms of the P0301 Code
Among the symptoms of engine fault code P0301 are:
- Engine light on
- The check engine light is flashing.
- Idle time
- While accelerating, there is stuttering or hesitation.
- Power decline
- Engine performance is subpar.
DTC P0301 symptoms can vary depending on the severity of misfires. It’s possible that the misfires happen on a regular basis, or that they happen every few minutes. In either case, a cylinder 1 misfire should cause the check engine light to illuminate or flash. Sometimes the only symptoms are the check engine light and the P0301 code.
You will most likely notice a number of additional symptoms with more severe misfires. These can include rough idle, hesitation during acceleration, power loss, and poor overall engine performance. Power loss is uncommon in larger engines (V6, V8, V10, etc.) with only cylinder 1 misfiring. It’s more noticeable with fewer cylinders because each one contributes a greater percentage of total power output.
Is DTC P0301 a serious error?
Low severity rating
P0301 cylinder 1 misfire detected is typically a minor issue. When it is the only fault code present, this is true. If there are other codes indicating multiple cylinder misfires or other codes, the problems may be more severe.
In any case, you still want to identify the underlying issue and resolve it as soon as possible. However, code P0301 is unlikely to cause major drivability or long-term reliability issues. If it’s the only code present, you should be fine to keep driving. However, use your own discretion. If any other codes are present, or if something feels seriously wrong, pull over in a safe location.
Causes of Engine Code P0301
The following are some of the most common causes of DTC P0301:
- The spark plug
- Distributor / ignition coil
- The fuel injector
- Wires for ignition coils
Misfires on cylinder 1 alone are almost always caused by a cylinder #1-specific part. Each cylinder is equipped with its own spark plug, ignition coil or distributor, and fuel injector. As a result, these are by far the most common causes of code P0301.
Standard maintenance items include spark plugs and ignition coils. They are wear and tear components. Many automobiles require new spark plugs every 50,000 to 120,000 miles. However, turbo engines are known to wear out spark plugs much faster. Ignition coils typically have a lifespan of 100,000 to 200,000 miles. However, the same concept applies to turbo engines.
Less common causes of DTC P0301 include fuel injectors and ignition coil wires. They are, however, potential culprits and the next in line if the spark plug or ignition coil is not to blame.
Causes that are less common
Misfires in an engine can be caused by a variety of issues. However, if P0301 cylinder 1 misfire is the only code present, these causes are uncommon. These causes are more common when other codes or multiple cylinder misfires are present:
- Problems with fuel delivery (non fuel injectors)
- Leak in the vacuum
- Crank or cam sensors
- Fuel of poor quality
- Inadequate ignition timing
- Compression loss or other internal issues
The majority of the aforementioned causes would affect multiple cylinders. A fuel pump, for example, is in charge of delivering fuel to all or at least several cylinders. Cam or crank sensors have an impact on the entire bank (ex: Cylinders 1-3 on an inline-6 engine). The same can be said for poor fuel quality and improper ignition timing. These issues may only cause P0301 cylinder 1 misfires, but they are more likely to cause other codes and multiple misfires.
Finally, code P0301 can be caused by a loss of compression or other internal engine problems. Problems of this magnitude are uncommon, but they do occur. Particularly as engines age and approach the end of their useful lives.
Identifying Fault P0301
When the P0301 fault code is the only code present, we will concentrate on diagnosing it. If you have other codes, see the article about P0300 multiple cylinder misfires detected. Anyway, the steps to diagnose the underlying problems causing DTC P0301 are as follows:
- Ascertain that P0301 is the only engine fault code present.
- Test drive after deleting the engine code with a scanner. If the code does not return, repeat the process. Keep an eye out over the next few trips to see if code P0301 reappears. If the code does return, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong.
- Examine the wiring of cylinder #1’s ignition coil visually. If nothing appears to be out of place, proceed to the next step.
- This is a multi-step procedure. Because the ignition coil is located on top of the spark plug, it is usually the best place to begin swapping. To diagnose the problems, use the following method:
- Replace the ignition coil from cylinder #1 with one from a non-misfiring cylinder.
- Remove the code and run the test. If the misfire follows the ignition coil to the new cylinder, you’ve identified the source.
- If the misfire persists on cylinder 1, the ignition coil is not to blame. Replace the spark plug in cylinder 1 with a spark plug from another cylinder that is not misfiring.
- Remove the P0301 code once more and test drive to see if the misfire returns.
The spark plug or ignition coil is most likely the source of the problem. If the misfire remains on cylinder 1, further diagnostics become more difficult. Swapping fuel injectors is a lot more difficult. We usually don’t recommend swapping injectors unless you’re confident in your abilities.
P0301 Code Corrections & Repairs
Of course, the specific repair is determined by what is discovered during diagnostics. The most common cause is a faulty spark plug or ignition coil. If you were successful in swapping the plugs and coils, you know how to deal with replacements. It’s usually a simple task that even inexperienced DIYers can complete in an hour or two in the driveway.
In any case, if your spark plug or ignition coil is faulty, it’s usually a good idea to replace them on all cylinders. These are the wear and tear components. If one goes wrong, the others are likely to follow soon after. Because they are typically inexpensive parts, replacing all plugs or coils at once can save time and/or money on labor repair bills.
Repair Cost for Diagnostic Code P0301
How much will it cost to repair your underlying problem from DTC P0301 once you’ve identified it? The following is a breakdown of typical repair costs for the issues:
- Spark plugs range in price from $25 to $300.
- Ignition coils range in price from $75 to $500.
- Fuel injectors cost between $50 and $300. (for 1 injector replacement)
Don’t be concerned about the higher end of the above repair quotes. On most engines, replacing all spark plugs will cost between $25 and $100 in parts. Some V8 engines, for example, have two spark plugs per cylinder. This can increase the cost of replacing them. Some vehicles have more difficult to access spark plugs, which can increase labor costs if you go to a repair shop.
Ignition coils typically cost $75-250 for a full set to replace all cylinders. Meanwhile, a single fuel injector can be purchased for less than $50. However, some modern direct injection engines use much more expensive injectors.
FAQ for DTC P0301.
To conclude this article, we will simply list a few frequently asked questions about the P0301 code. Please keep in mind that some of this information was covered in the main body of the article above.
What Does P0301 Stand For?
P0301 indicates a cylinder #1 misfire. If this is the only code present, the problem is usually straightforward. If you have misfires on multiple cylinders, look for fault code P0300.
How Much Do Repairs Cost?
Costs can vary greatly. If you only get code P0301, however, problems are usually inexpensive to repair. Typically, the cylinder 1 spark plug or ignition coil is to blame. It’s a good idea to replace all of the spark plugs or ignition coils at once. A set of spark plugs costs about $25-100, while ignition coils cost $75-200 or more.
Is Driving Safe With P0301 Present?
Yes, assuming P0301 is the only fault code present, driving the vehicle is usually safe. This code rarely poses a threat to drivability, longevity, or long-term dependability. It’s a different story if you’re getting other engine fault codes.
What Is the Code’s Origin?
The most common cause of cylinder #1 misfires is a faulty spark plug or ignition coil. When troubleshooting, start with these components, but don’t forget about the basics like ignition coil wires.