Error Code P0517 is defined as Battery Temperature Sensor Circuit High.

This code is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II system, particularly those made since 1996 up to present. It is common among Chrysler, Dodge, Mitsubishi, Toyota, etc., though it applies to all brands. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary from one make and model to another.

Usually situated near to the battery or mounted inside the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes), the BTS or Battery Temperature Sensor works by converting air temperature surrounding the battery into an electrical signal for the PCM.

The PCM then receives this voltage signal to determine how much voltage the battery will get while charging the battery, based on localized temperature. If the input doesn’t match the normal engine operating conditions, then the Error Code P0517 will be set, even for a second. It also checks the voltage signal from the BTS sensor to determine if it is right at the initial Key On.

Error Code P0517 is set when the voltage at the sensor stays above a set level (usually over 4.8V) for a long period of time. This code is usually considered to be an electrical circuit issue.

Common Symptoms

As with other error codes, this code activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Other common symptoms include:

  • Engine surging
  • Possible low indicated charging voltage
  • Charging indicator light is on

In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.

Possible Causes

  • Defective or damaged BTS
  • Open or shorted electrical wiring and related connectors
  • Engine overheating
  • Corroded battery

How to Check

As with many error codes, a good starting point to diagnose this code is through the use of TSB (technical service bulletin). Specific manufacturers provide a unique step-by-step guide for diagnosis and repairs of error codes.

Next, the OBD-II scanner must be used to check the codes stored in the vehicle’s memory, including the P0517.

Then, all wirings and related electrical connectors must be checked for signs of damage.

The battery must be tested to ensure it is fully charged.

If the code persists, then the BTS and all its associated circuits must be checked for signs of damages and other issues.

With Key Off, disconnect the BTS sensor’s electrical connectors. Then connect a digital voltmeter’s black lead to the ground terminal at BTS sensor wiring harness connector. Then, connect the red label of the voltmeter to the wiring harness connector of the BTS. Turn Key On Engine Off. You must also check the specifications set by the manufacturer; voltmeter must be at 5V. If not, then you must repair the signal or ground wire, or even replace the PCM.

Then, test the BTS for ground signal and system voltage signal.

The BTS must also be checked for battery resistance.

How to Fix

Based on the diagnosis, repairs for this code include:

  • Repair or replacement of damaged electrical wirings and any related connectors
  • Replacement of BTS
  • Repair of damaged electrical circuits
  • Recharge or replacement of the battery

Because driving quality is affected by this code, it is potentially a serious problem. Thus, it must be addressed as soon as possible.

The most common mistake in addressing this code is replacing the battery. In most cases, the problem is caused by a faulty sensor in the battery tray.

Since the problem is caused by electrical failure, this code is not a serious problem, as the PCM can normally compensate the issue adequately.