Check Engine Light Due to Defective VVT-i Controller on Scion xA

Problem Description and Possible Solution

An illuminated Check Engine Light could be caused by a defective VVT-i controller, which changes cam timing for optimal power.  Updated parts are available and the repair may be covered under the powertrain warranty.

Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 98,532 (27,777–212,000)
2 model years affected: 2005, 2006
23 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 14 of 14 comments
Car was running great. Fresh Platinum plugs/K/N filter getting 36-39MPG. Check engine light came on, I noticed some loss of power and spark knock on light acceleration that the engine never had before. I took it and had the ECM read it was showing a P0012 code "A bank timing advanced". VVC was one of the possible problems and the most likely due to the symptoms. After the ECM was read the check engine light still was on as I assume it was a hard code that cannot be erased until the problem was fixed. I drove it down to the next shopping plaza to a store. When I restarted the car the check engine light went out and the engine ran perfect again with absolutley no spark knock/loss power. Seems like a very intermittent VVT controller problem. I'm not sure if the VVC is a individual module that controls the valves or if it strictly a software issue in the ECM engine management program. Unless Scion replaces an actual physical part they should'nt be charging $900 for a software glitch patch.
The light actually came on when my car had about 7500 miles on it, the car now has more than 212,000 thousand miles and never really have any performance problem. On or about the same time that the CEL came on, the ABS and brake light also came on. I haven't taken the car to any mechanic and other than those lights constantly on while driving the car, I haven't had any performance problem.
CEL Light Code P0012,"Intake Camshaft Position timing is Over-Retarded" factory issue check toyota's service bulletin on this. And im still looking for a mechanic (non dealer related) to do the work and do it right... :/
I had the check engine ligh coming on and off for 4 years (When I purchased the car, 2 weeks after I was re-ended at 50 mph while stopped at a redlight-. It was throwing check engine light on, I found out it was the gas cap not seating correctly. The light continued to come one and I had it check again recently. Paid 1200.00 bucks to replace timing gear, now the light stays on, absolutely no performance problems. Mechanics are very cool and going to take additional look at it, plus offered me a vehicle to drive. This website and message board confirms what I thought, there is a malfunction with the light and computer more than the part. Like I said 212,000 miles. This car is the best car I ever owned, only oil changes, tuneups, tires, and replaced the brakes once. Glad I bought it.
Check engine light on and off erratically for a couple weeks. Also exhaust smell in car interior when heat is on. Dealer diagnosed defective timing gear. Said it's a known issue and often presents when car is still under powertrain warranty. No such luck in my case and cost to repair is $825. see

Dealer said I don't have to fix it right away; it won't damage anything, but it will not pass annual NH state inspection until it's fixed. I have five months til that's due so I hope I can find a cheaper price before then - and don't die from the exhaust smell in the meantime.
covered and repaired at dealership in 2007 after throwing code P011? The parts/labor were covered at a cost of under $900
P011 code. Dealer replaced VVT-i gear ($900 parts & labor). Two days later, another check engine. Another P011 code. Dealer said first replacement was defective. Installed another one. I gave the first to a mechanic at work. He disassembled the gear, found nothing wrong, reassembled it, checked it, and it worked fine. By now I had another P011 DTC. Haven't returned to dealer yet. Getting more educated on entire VVT-i system before returning to dealer. Now doubt the most expensive repair in the system is the culprit.