P0638 code — how to fix error fast
Understand the importance of the P0638 code in enhancing your driving experience.
If there’s a sign that something is affecting the engine’s combustion like the code P0648, things need to be quickly addressed to prevent further damage. Since most drivers are unfamiliar with the P0638 code meaning, our team thought it could be helpful to create an all-in-one guide on dealing with the code.
This way you can learn about the code’s implications and what activates it in your car, and also manage to track down the problem causing it, which helps fix the code. All this awaits you in our guide, and possibly even more as we’ll go through the main prevention methods and solutions to the code.
Why you can trust REREV’s OBD2 code advice: Our automotive expert researchers with experienced mechanics undertakes a thorough research methodology to deliver precise insights on OBD codes. Find out more about OBD2 codes research process..
What does the P0638 code mean?
The P0638 code is a generic powertrain code that appears when there is an issue with the throttle actuator control range or performance. The throttle actuator is responsible for regulating the airflow into the engine, which affects the power and speed of the vehicle.
When this system is not working properly, it can cause the engine to stall, reduce power, or even cause the vehicle to become undrivable. It’s important to understand this code because it can indicate a serious problem with the vehicle that needs to be addressed immediately.
What causes the P0638 code?
There are several potential causes of the P0638 code, including a malfunctioning throttle actuator control module, a damaged accelerator pedal position sensor, a faulty throttle body, or a variety of other issues. The main symptoms of the P0638 code may include a rough idle, poor acceleration, stalling, or reduced engine power.
So, it’s best to know what could lead to these symptoms individually since there’s just a lot to cover in possible causes of this code:
Faulty throttle actuator
The throttle actuator is responsible for controlling the throttle plate in response to commands from the PCM. If the actuator is faulty, it may not be able to move the throttle plate to the desired position, resulting in a P0638 code.
Throttle body issues
The throttle body contains the throttle plate and is responsible for regulating the airflow into the engine. If there are any issues with the throttle body, such as a dirty or stuck throttle plate, it can cause a P0638 code.
Wiring or electrical problems
The wiring and electrical connections between the throttle actuator and PCM can sometimes become damaged or loose. This can cause communication issues between the two components and result in a P0638 code.
In rare cases, a failed PCM can cause a P0638 code. This may occur if there are internal faults within the PCM that prevent it from properly communicating with the throttle actuator.
Which car models does the P0638 code affect the most?
The P0638 code can appear on a variety of car models, but it seems to be most common in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. This is because these vehicles use a similar throttle actuator control system that is prone to failure. To give you a better understanding, we’ve created a list of the most commonly reported issues with vehicles being affected by this code:
- Chevy Cruze: The Chevrolet Cruze is a compact car that has also been known to experience issues with the electronic throttle control system. Some drivers have reported receiving a P0638 code as a result of problems with the throttle actuator.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee:: The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an SUV that has been known to experience issues with the electronic throttle control system. Some drivers have reported receiving a P0638 code as a result of wiring or electrical problems between the PCM and the throttle actuator.
- Dodge Charger: The Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan that has also been known to experience issues with the electronic throttle control system. Some drivers have reported receiving a P0638 code as a result of problems with the throttle actuator.
How to diagnose the P0638 code
Diagnosing the P0638 code requires specialized diagnostic tools and equipment. The first step in diagnosing the code is to use a scan tool to retrieve the code and any related codes from the vehicle’s computer. While doing this should provide the most accurate information, not everyone has access to such a tool so here’s a complete list of diagnostic methods you can apply:
To figure out the reason behind the code, it’s best to do a visual inspection of all wiring and electrical connections should be performed. Any damaged or loose connections should be repaired or replaced.
Inspect the throttle actuator
If no issues are found during the visual inspection, a more detailed inspection of the throttle actuator should be performed. This may involve removing and inspecting the actuator for any signs of damage or wear.
Checking the throttle body
If the throttle actuator is working properly, a more detailed inspection of the throttle body should be performed. This may involve cleaning or replacing the throttle plate, inspecting for any signs of wear or damage, and testing the airflow through the throttle body.
In some cases, if all other components have been inspected and tested without finding any issues, it may be necessary to perform diagnostic tests on the PCM itself. This may involve using specialized diagnostic equipment to test internal circuits and sensors within the PCM.
How to fix the P0638 code
Fixing the P0638 code requires identifying and addressing the root cause of the issue. Depending on the specific cause of the code, there are several potential fixes that may be needed. Here’s what you can do to finally remove the code:
Replace the throttle body actuator
If the throttle actuator is found to be faulty during diagnosis, it may need to be replaced. This involves removing the old actuator and installing a new one in its place.
Throttle body cleaning or replacement
If issues with the throttle body are causing the P0638 code, it may be possible to clean or replace the throttle plate. This may involve removing the throttle body and cleaning it using specialized cleaning solutions. In some cases, replacement of the throttle body may be necessary.
Dealing with wiring and electrical repairs
If issues with wiring or electrical connections are causing the P0638 code, repairs or replacement of any damaged or loose connections will be necessary.
How to prevent the P0638 code
Preventing the P0638 code from appearing in the future requires proper maintenance of the throttle actuator control system. You can apply the following steps to hopefully reduce the chance of ever seeing the code again:
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule
- Have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic
- Cleaning the throttle body
- Checking the electrical connections in the system
By taking these preventative measures, drivers can reduce the likelihood of the P0638 code appearing and ensure that their vehicle is running smoothly and safely.
Dealing with the code P0638 is more difficult than it seems, but with the right help, you can accomplish diagnosing and fix the problem within days. Our team knows how hard it is to face throttle response issues and it can even be dangerous to drive with one in the long run.
So, the least you can do is ensure that the throttle body system is working properly and keep maintaining the vehicle to prevent the code in the future.
What does the P0638 code mean?
The P0638 code indicates a problem with the throttle actuator control range or performance. This means that the actual position of the throttle plate does not match the desired position as commanded by the PCM.
What are the symptoms of the P0638 code?
Symptoms of the P0638 code may include reduced engine power, decreased fuel efficiency, and an illuminated check engine light.
Can I still drive my car with a P0638 code?
It is generally not recommended to continue driving your car with a P0638 code, as it can lead to further damage to your engine and reduced performance.