P0917 code definition
The P0917 trouble code detects an electrical malfunction with the gear shift position circuit.
What the P0917 code means
The P0917 code is a generic OBD-II trouble code that notes an electrical error with the transmission’s gear shift position circuit. The gear shift position circuit senses when the vehicle is in a forward or rearward gear (in an automatic transmission), or in an even or odd-numbered gear (in a manual transmission). When the powertrain control module (PCM) detects an electrical abnormality from the gear shift position circuit, then the P0917 trouble code will be triggered.
What causes the P0917 code?
The P0917 trouble code is usually caused by damaged or defective electrical components in the gear shift position system. This could be shorted wires, corroded connectors, or blown fuses. Other potential causes for the code are a short circuit to the positive battery, and a malfunctioning PCM.
What are the symptoms of the P0917 code?
The P0917 code will usually be joined by the check engine soon Warning Light illuminating on the vehicle’s gauge cluster. There will likely be noticeable transmission problems, which may be as mild as harsh shifting, or as severe as a complete inability to change gears. The vehicle will probably experience diminished fuel efficiency as well.
How does a mechanic diagnose the P0917 code?
The P0917 code will be diagnosed using a standard OBD-II trouble code scanner. A trained technician will use the scanner to view the freeze frame data for the code, and to search for any additional codes that have been detected. If there are multiple codes detected, then they will need to be addressed in the order in which the scanner displays them. Next, the mechanic will need to reset the trouble codes, restart the vehicle, and check to see if the P0917 code remains detected. If it does not, then it was most likely erroneously triggered, or the result of an intermittent error.
If the code remains, then the mechanic will begin by visually inspecting the electrical components in the gear shift position system. Any wires, connectors, or fuses that are damaged will need to be replaced. The mechanic can then check for a short circuit to the positive battery. If the problem is not found, then a deeper inspection of the gear shift position system (especially the sensors) and the PCM will be required.
After any component is replaced, the inspection should be paused while the mechanic resets the trouble codes, restarts the vehicle, and again checks to see if the code is detected. This will allow the technician to know as soon as the issue has been resolved.
Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0917 code
The most commonly made error when diagnosing the P0917 code comes from a failure to follow the OBD-II diagnosis protocol. It’s imperative that mechanics always follow the protocol step by step, as this ensures that diagnoses and repairs are efficient and thorough.
It is fairly common for the entire gear shift position system to be replaced erroneously, when the only error was a faulty electrical component.
How serious is the P0917 code?
A vehicle with the P0917 trouble code may or may not be drivable. In some cases, the car will drive normally, or experience rough shifting, while in other cases shifting will be impossible, keeping the car from being drivable at all. Even if the car feels like it’s driving fine, the P0917 code may be causing damage to the transmission, so the vehicle should always be inspected and repaired as soon as the code is detected.
What repairs can fix the P0917 code?
Repairs for the P0917 trouble code are:
- Replacement of electrical components in the system
- Circuit replacement
- In rare cases, replacement of the PCM
Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0917 code
It is very rare for the PCM to fail, so it should not be considered as a cause for the P0917 code unless all other options have been tested. If the PCM does need to be replaced, it will require reprogramming as well.
Need help with a P0917 code?
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This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as P0917 OBD-II Trouble Code: Gear Shift Position Circuit High and was authored by Brady Klopfer.