You can find information about the P0401 fault code on this page.
It is one of the most popular fault codes that people search for on this website (in the top 50).
We have given it a seriousness of 7/10 with 1 being the least serious and 10 being the worst.
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Fault code P0401 is logged when the engine control module (ECM) has detected an issue with the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. It relates specifically to the insufficient flow of recirculated gases to the engine is detected.
EGR systems are used to reduce the number of nitrogen oxides (NOx) being produced by an internal combustion engine.
The combustion process does not convert all of the reactants in the air-fuel mixture to safe products like carbon dioxide and water. Recirculating them in small doses allows the engine to break down the compounds further.
This system needs to be calibrated well to only allow certain volumes of exhaust gases back into the engine. Otherwise, the engine will not run well. It also reduces emissions.
Other Signs of This Problem
The symptoms for P0401 can be quite subtle in nature, making it hard to detect without the presence of the fault code. One of the most obvious is the presence of the Check Engine light.
If an EGR issue is suspected, a NOx emissions test can be a good way to conclude that there is something wrong with the system.
There can also be a ping or knock from the engine during acceleration.
What Could Be The Problem?
Fault code P0401 indicates that there is specifically an issue with the flow being too low. This can be caused by issues with flow upstream, as well as any problems with the EGR valve itself.
It is possible that the EGR valve itself is faulty or malfunctioning. If it is not opening properly, this can restrict flow to the point of the fault code being logged.
If there is a vacuum leak, this can also result in low flow being detected. This could be indicated by the presence of fault code P1409.
Any blockages in the EGR passages could also cause a low flow condition that would trigger the code to be logged.
The fixes for code P0401 are typically focused on the EGR valve and its surrounding piping.
If the EGR valve is clogged or leaked, it should be replaced. When replacing the EGR valve, ensure there are no additional blockages in the entire system. Additionally, a faulty EGR temperature sensor should be replaced.
Vacuum leaks to the EGR valve should also be fixed if they are detected.
The intake manifold should also be checked for leaks or blockages. These must be fixed as they can lead to low flow downstream.
Fault code P0401 is considered moderately serious. There is no immediate risk of damage to the vehicle, but this can change over time.
It should be fixed as soon as possible, within a few days ideally.
Additionally, the vehicle will likely be unable to pass any emission tests. This will likely lead to fines.
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