Error Code P0831 is defined as Clutch Pedal Switch A Circuit Low. Error Code P0831 is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles with the OBD-II system, especially those made from 1996 up to present. This includes vehicles from, but not limited to, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jaguar, Nissan, Pontiac, Saturn, and Vauxhall. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary between make, model, and powertrain configuration.

This code is associated with Clutch Pedal Switch “A” Circuit. Different codes can be set when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) detects a malfunction in the Clutch Pedal Switch “A” Circuit, a.k.a. clutch start switch circuit or clutch position sensor, such as:

The job of the Clutch Pedal Switch “A” Circuit is to help the PCM to monitor the clutch pedal position.  The PCM reads the output voltage of the clutch position sensor. The clutch position sensor switch’s design may vary between vehicle models, but it’s often a basic “on/off” switch mounted close to the clutch foot pedal on the support bracket. Regardless of the design, it is usually located on the side of the switch. Contacts are closed by engaging the clutch pedal, which sends voltage to the starter or starter solenoid. This basic setup of the circuit and switch keeps the engine from starter prior to engaging the clutch.

Error Code P0831 takes place when the PCM sees that the Clutch Pedal Switch A Circuit is experiencing a low voltage condition

Common Symptoms

  • Engine unable to start
  • The engine starts without engaging the clutch

Possible Causes

  • Defective clutch position sensor switch
  • Corroded or damaged connector
  • Blown fuse or fuse-able link (if applicable)
  • Defective or damaged wiring
  • Defective PCM

How to Check

As with most codes, you will need a source of vehicle-specific diagnostic information, a diagnostic scanner, and a DVOM (digital volt/ohmmeter) to properly diagnose this error code.

Start your diagnosis with a technical service bulletin (TSB), based on the specific year, make, model, engine size, symptoms, and power plant of the vehicle (if applicable). This can save a lot of time in the long run.

Next is to locate the clutch position sensor switch and check for obvious signs of damage. Inspect the associated wiring and look for damages like burnt spots, bare wires, rubbing, and scraping.

Then, check the connectors and connectors for secured connection and look for signs of corrosions, damages. Inspect all wiring and connections that lead to the clutch position sensor, PCM, starter, and starter solenoid. Check if the fuse or fuse-able link is incorporated with your specific tech data.

Advanced Steps

Advanced steps are vehicle specific and may require a special set of tools to perform accurately. Usually, you will need a digital multimeter and specific technical references for the vehicle. Voltage requirements are also based on the model and specific year of the vehicle.

Voltage Checks

If the clutch is disengaged, there should be around 12V on one side of the switch. If engaged, there should be voltage on both sides. The starter solenoid or starter should also have power on the configuration.

Conduct a continuity test to check the integrity of the clutch position sensor switch and the wiring if this process identifies the absence of a power source or ground.

You should have continuity through the switch when the clutch is engaged, and it should indicate no continuity through the switch once you release the clutch.

Make sure you remove the power from the circuit, and the normal readings for the connections and wirings must be at 0 ohms of resistance when conducting a continuity test. Resistance or no continuity means there’s a problem in the wiring (faulty wiring that leads to open or shorted connection). Repair or replace as necessary.

How to Fix

  • Replacement of clutch position sensor switch
  • Repair or replacement of faulty wiring
  • Repair or replacement of blown fuse or fuse-able link (if applicable)
  • Cleaning corrosion from connectors
  • Repair or replacement of defective ground straps
  • Flashing or replacement of PCM or TCM

This code is considered moderate, but if the vehicle starts without the clutch disengaged, it can be a safety problem.

The most common mistakes in addressing this code are replacing the starter or the solenoid when the problem is in the clutch position sensor, defective connectors, or damaged wirings.