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P0601 Code: Causes, Symptoms, and Ways to Fix It! 

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Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) locate and identify the most likely issue with your car. If a DTC appears on your dashboard, you must understand what it indicates to identify the issue and fix it soon. So, what should you do if the error code P0601 appears on your car’s dashboard? 

The OBD-II trouble code P0601 refers to an issue with the internal control memory. Depending on the symptoms, this code may be present with other Engine Control Unit (ECU) codes and many other codes. Therefore, it requires an accurate diagnosis to resolve the engine error code. However, this can be difficult because many problems can cause the code to be activated.  

Learning the meaning of the over 5,000 diagnostic trouble codes is impossible. But, our blog will detail on P0601 code. Know the causes, symptoms, and ways to fix the code! 

What does engine code P0601 mean? 

The P0601 code essentially denotes a memory checksum error of the internal control module. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) identifies a communication failure between one or more control modules, including itself, and activates the code. The Check Engine Light will illuminate, and failsafe mode will activate until normal operation is resumed or the code gets fixed. 

Based on the data it gathers from sensors all over your car, PCM controls the engine, transmission, and other systems. So, PCM is the brain of your car! Therefore, there is a need to run a routine memory checksum test on the PCM. The short-term operational calculations and operating system software for the PCM are kept in the memory, ensuring its reliability. If this aspect of the PCM’s functionality is problematic, the PCM may not function properly. 

The other internal control module error codes are P0602, P0603, P0604, and P0605.  

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What causes code P0601? 

If the P0601 code appears on your dashboard, the PCM is likely malfunctioning, and the memory checksum test was unsuccessful. The code appears due to various causes. If you want to know how to clear the P0601 code, you must first understand its causes. The following problems can lead the code to activate.  

  • The PCM encounters an internal short.  
  • The wires or PCM connector got unplugged while the battery was attached. 
  • Low battery voltage.  
  • The car has a faulty PCM. 

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What are the symptoms of the P0601 code? 


The Check Engine Light on the dashboard will turn on when the engine code P0601 activates. But in certain situations, the driver may not notice any symptoms at all. The instruments function normally, and the engine runs smoothly. However, in some cases with symptoms, you’ll notice these typical symptoms. 

  • Check Engine Light turns on the dashboard.  
  • The car’s ABS and traction control system lights may turn on. 
  • The engine may not start. 
  • Your car may not shift properly.  
  • The car can have trouble continuing to run or might stall out while moving. 

How serious is the P0601 code?  

The symptoms of P0601 greatly influence how serious the code is. However, you should take care of the issue as soon as possible because the P0601 code suggests that there is a problem with your car’s PCM. If you don’t fix or replace your PCM, your car will keep having drivability issues and eventually stop working. You shouldn’t drive the car when it is extremely difficult to drive or has trouble maintaining its engine. 

Can you drive with a P0601 code?  

The code affects your car’s PCM. If you don’t rectify the issue on time, your car will encounter drivability issues and eventually stop moving. So, it is better not to drive the code that appears on your car’s dashboard. Instead, try to resolve the engine error code with the help of a mechanic at the earliest.  

How do I fix code P0601? 

Bring your car to a skilled technician for inspection and repairs if the P0601 engine code appears. You’ll probably need to fix or replace your car’s PCM to resolve the issue. Depending on the type and model of your car, there are different steps involved in PCM repair. You will need to program your PCM to replace it, and you cannot do this without the required tools. Since fixing the code is a complex task, you should avoid doing that at home.  

How a mechanic will replace the PCM 

  • They will remove the studs on the driver’s and passenger’s sides of the car. 
  • On the passenger side, unfasten the nut and racket. 
  • Remove the PCM by disconnecting the three wiring connectors. 
  • Install the replacement PCM and configure it to your car’s factory settings. 

How does a mechanic diagnose the engine error code P0601? 

A mechanic will do the following steps to diagnose the code.  

  • A mechanic’s first step is connecting a scan tool to the DLC port and searching for all preset codes, including history and pending codes. 
  • Then they will note the freeze frame information for each code. This information is essential since it reveals the RPM, engine load, and coolant temperature the car was operating when the code activated. 
  • All codes will then be erased and put through a test drive to verify any problems discovered. The test drive should occur in conditions comparable to when the code got activated. 
  • Then there will be a visual inspection to check for damaged circuits or wiring. 
  • The voltage supplied to the ECU will then be verified using a multimeter. 
  • Finally, it is necessary to test the ECU. The ECU testing methodologies vary from vehicle to vehicle. 

Common mistakes that can happen when diagnosing the code 

The most frequent error is failing to verify that the ECU is receiving the correct voltage; as a result, the ECU tests poorly and gets replaced even though this is not the problem. Since the P0601 code can be challenging to diagnose due to intermittent difficulties, the mechanic must follow all instructions.  

What repairs can fix the P0601 code? 

The following are some repairs that can fix the engine error code. 

  • Fix or replace defective or broken wirings.  
  • Installing a new power control module is necessary. 
  • It might be necessary to flash or program a new ECM or PCM. 

How much will it cost to fix the P0601 code? 

The overall cost for replacing or reprogramming your car’s PCM might range from $800-$1,500, depending on labor rates, the car’s model, and engine type. 

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