Should i trust my CEL?

While driving home my cel came on, the next morning I took it to the dealership. The code read camshaft sensor. The mechanic ask how the van was driving, I said perfect, no issues no nothing. He said that was kind of surprisng. I went ahead and set up an appointment. The next morning went out and no cel at all and van still running fine. Spoke with another mechanic who said a number of things can cause that code and to hold off on the new sensor and see what happens over the next few weeks engine performance wise and if CEL comes back on.

So confused…what should I do? Car is a 2002 KIA Sedona mini van that has had zero engine issues while I have owned it since 2010.

More Info Needed:
Specifically, What Code Was Found (“The code read camshaft sensor.”) ?

Kia put out a bulletin pertaining to DTC P1330 and intermittent MIL illuminations and it includes 02 Sedonas with the 3.5L engines.

This situation is often the result of specific terminals in the Multipurpose Data Link/Check connector becoming grounded.


Didn’t get the code, both places I had the check done said the code was for the camshaft sensor.

Codes don’t directly say a part is bad.
As common sense answer said it could be a problem with the wiring to the sensor.

Go to autozone, etc, have them read the code (it’s free) and tell us what it is.

With the CEL off will the code still be there?

Why would the CEL go off?

Most codes will remain for up to 10 drive cycles after the CEL (MIL) goes off. The MIL goes off after three consecutive drive cycles without detecting the code. In your situation, the mechanics were correct to wait and see, but either you or them should have recorded the code for future troubleshooting if you start having drivability issues.

When a code is constant and not intermittent, then it needs attention, but the description of the code does not always mean the corresponding part is defective. For example, if you got a code for heated O2 sensor not working, it could be a defective connection in the wiring instead of a defective O2 sensor, that is why there are troubleshooting procedures that mechanics use (or are supposed to use) before replacing parts.

Never trust your CEL when it comes to identifying a bad component. That’s the job of a competent mechanic. I once got a bad tank of gas while on the road that caused the CEL to go on and off for a couple of weeks. It was throwing various codes that had nothing to do with one another. The engine ran like crap and once it got through the bad gas it straightened out. I reset the codes and the CEL never came back on.

@bertrand, it isn’t possible to say why your CEL goes on, then goes off. There’s a computer program running inside your car’s engine computer, and the algorithm which turns the CEL on and off is private to the vendor. Kia in this case. Usually there are multiple events which have to occur and be sensed by the ECM to turn the CEL on; likewise, there are multiple events which have to occur before the ECM turns the CEL off. It may be for example the car has to be driven for 5 miles at speeds over 50 mph before it will turn the CEL on. And it has to be driven below 35 mph for 3 miles before it will then turn the CEL off.

What I’d do in this case was get a copy of the shop manual for the car, or use AllData, and see what it says to test for, when you get that specific code. The purpose of the CEL is to make it easier for the mechanic, not harder. But for the mechanic to take advantage of the CEL, he has to have the shop manual or AllData so he understands what the problems may be that are associated with that particular code.

Without referring to Kia’s shop manual or AllData, it’s just flying blind.