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Error Code P0353 is defined as Ignition Coil C Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction.
This code is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II tool, or vehicles made since 1996 up to present. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting and repairs of course, vary from one make and/or model to another.
Modern vehicles use coil on plug (COP) ignition system for their engine, and they come with single coil for every cylinder controlled by the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes).
The way it works is it eliminates the need for spark plug wires as it puts coil above the sparkplug. The coil driver from PCM has two wires. One is for battery feed for power distribution center, and the other one is the coil driver circuit from PCM. The PCM grounds or ungrounds the circuit to activate or deactivate the coil. The PCM monitors the coil driver for faults.
In the case of Error Code P0353, that means there’s an open or short detected in the driver circuit for coil number 3, or other issues in the ignition process of the coil pack. And depending on the vehicle, the PCM may also shut down the fuel injector to the cylinder.
Aside from the triggering the Check Engine light, the common symptoms for this code are drivability related, which include:
- Abnormal vibrations when idling or driving
- Loss of acceleration
- Engine misfire, can be both present or intermittent
In some rare cases, the vehicle may not exhibit any symptoms at all.
There are many possible factors that contribute to this error codes, and some of the possible causes are:
- Damaged or corrosion in the wiring that connects second cylinder coil pack to the PCM
- Faulty or corroded wiring of second cylinder coil pack
- Faulty ignition coil(s)
- Faulty spark plug(s)
- Faulty idle air control valve or electronic body
- Open or short in the wiring or electrical circuit of second cylinder coil pack
- Carbon buildup causing blockage in the Throttle Body air passages
- Intake manifold vacuum leaks
- Faulty PCM (rare)
How to Check
To conduct a troubleshooting for this error code, technicians start by checking the suspected coil pack’s resistance through a resistance test.
Then, they will test the condition of the electrodes of the spark plug.
Next, they will measure the voltage present at the coil pack.
Then, they will inspect the wires that connect the coil packs for signs of corrosion, fraying and even melting.
Then, they check will check the coil pack circuit if it’s getting proper ground supply.
Next, they test the intake manifold for vacuum leaks.
Lastly, they measure the Hertz signal sent to the coil pack using multimeter. This step also helps them verify whether the PCM is sending the right signal to the coil pack.
How to Fix
Fixes for this error code are actually pretty simple and straightforward.
- Replacing the spark plug
- Replacing the coil pack
- Repairing or replacing any damaged wiring in the coil pack
- Repairing any forms of vacuum leaks such as leaks in the cracked vacuum line or intake manifold gasket
- Replacing the PCM (rare)
Error Code P0353 is a fairly serious condition; for one, it presents plenty of drivability issues which expose users of the vehicle to safety risks. Second, misfires are always bad for the engine as it can cause damage or clogging to the catalytic converter. And in this case, the cylinders have to work twice as hard to run the vehicle, putting stress the cylinder and all involved components such as spark plugs, piston rings, and coil packs, causing them to wear faster.