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How to Fix a P0181 Code – Causes, Symptoms and Cost

  • Car Care Tips
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 4 minutes

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P0181 code is a fault code that deals with an issue with the Fuel Temperature Sensor ‘A’ Circuit Range/Performance. Continue reading to find out more.

Diesel engines with fuel heaters and gasoline engines that check the fuel temperature in the fuel tank or the fuel rail produce the code P0181. For the car and fuel type you are evaluating, adhere to the manufacturer’s specified testing protocols. 

Not every temperature sensor is installed or tested in the same manner.

What does Code P0181 mean?

When the fuel temperature sensor ‘A’ circuit deviates from specifications during self-testing, the generic OBD-II code P0181 is shown. This shows that the sensor voltage was either below or above the calibrated limit specifications during the self-test.

What causes Code P0181?

When the sensor circuit is verified during startup or while operating, the engine control module (ECM) can tell whether it operates below or over the range intended for the sensor.

Intermittent connections or wiring, sensor, or ECM failures are a couple of causes of the P0181 code. Due to the extremely cold temperatures, the fuel can get excessively cold. This also causes the P0181 code.

Another cause of this code appears if the gasoline tank or fuel rail temperature sensor drifts out of range due to corroded connectors.

What are the Symptoms of Code P0181?

If the fuel is frozen from extreme cold or contains water, the car won’t start. The fuel boils off due to overheating, and the car won’t start. Instead, it will lose power and stall.

What are the Symptoms of Code P0181?

Sensors will malfunction when too many fuel additives generate inconsistent sensor readings. This will cause the fuel to boil off at lower temperatures. The ECM memorizes code P0181 and illuminates the Check Engine Light.

Steps to Diagnose for P0181

The mechanic will scan the codes, records the freeze frame information, and clear codes to ensure code returns. They will then visually inspect all the wiring and connections to the sensor to look for loose connections or broken wire.

Make sure to check to ensure if the sensor is testing within specs. After that, cut off the connection to the sensor. A gasoline sample will be taken, and the fuel temperature will be compared to the sensor input.

The mechanic will check the diesel fuel heater’s functionality to ensure it is heating the fuel properly without overheating it.

What to avoid when checking for Code P0181?

By visually inspecting the connections to the sensor are making good contact with the fuel heater and fuel temperature sensor.

Check the fuel for excess additives that can interfere with sensors. Then, move the car to a warmer location in an extremely cold environment so it can warm up before retesting the system.

How to Fix P0181 code?

How serious is code P0181?

If too much water is in the fuel, it is too cold outside, or the fuel heater is broken because of a temperature sensor malfunction, the car won’t start.

If the fuel temperature rises above the recommended operating range owing to a broken temperature sensor circuit or an overheated fuel rail, the engine may misfire, hesitate, and stall.

How to Fix P0181 code?

Check the fuel temperature sensor for errors and replace it if necessary. For example, fix or replace a damaged connector or the sensor’s wire.

If the ECM is damaged, then change it. You should also change the temperature sensor and heater component for diesel fuel.

Cost of repairing a P0181 issue

P0181 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that can occur for several causes; a mechanic must identify the precise reason why this code was set in your case. Then, for $120, a qualified mechanic will visit your house or business to run the check engine light diagnostic.

After identifying the issue, you will receive a quote for the suggested solution.

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