Updated: Sep 18
The P0000 fault code is a strange fault code to encounter, and not many OBD reading devices show it. It generally means there are no fault codes found, but it also may be hiding another underlying fault code due to scanner tool incompatibility.
A DTC read by an OBD reader will begin with P if it is related to the powertrain, hence the letter "P". Fault codes in the format of P0xxx are generic fault codes.
What Does P0000 Mean?
When malfunction indication lamp (MIL) or check-engine light on your dashboard illuminates, it indicates that the ECU (engine control unit) has identified a problem.
Most vehicles switch the powertrain into open loop mode, also known as “limp mode".
To re-establish correct powertrain functioning, it requires an OBD scan tool to recover the DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) recorded in ECU memory.
Because an ECU may store around 10,000 DTC P-codes in its system memory, having a particular DTC to guide you in the correct direction takes much of the guesswork out of diagnosing your vehicle's issues.
For these reasons, having a P0000 code is perplexing because it seems to make no sense.
Essentially, the fault code P0000 stands for "No DTCs Detected", it is not a code that should appear on your OBD scan tool if it is compatible.
Furthermore, if there are no drivability issues and no MIL, connecting a scan tool typically results in a blank screen.
However, the fault code P0000 may appear even if you don't have any drivability issues or an illuminated MIL, it is just a generic code some OBD scanners report.
When you see this code, it is usually due to using an incompatible OBD scanner. The most common causes of this code are as follows.
Using a cheaper or less capable scan tool.
Using a scan tool that does not support your vehicle (such as a multipurpose device that works with an OBD scan port).
Sometimes, there may be a fault code specific to a certain vehicle and the P0000 code may take its place as a generic code. It is worth getting the vehicle checked by a compatible OBD scanner tool as a precaution.
Signs & Symptoms
Providing this fault code is not due to other underlying fault codes, there may be no drivability or functional issues associated with this DTC.
However, if there is an underlying fault code not being picked up by the OBD scanner and is being replaced by the P0000 code, there may be symptoms of that underlying issue.
If there is no apparent issues associated with the code, it should be safe to continue driving in a normal manner, most serious DTCs are generic and picked up by almost every OBD scanner.
How to Fix a P0000 DTC Code
If your MIL (malfunction indication lamp) is not illuminated and your vehicle is operating normally, the scan tool you are using is most likely defaulting to the P0000 DTC.
However, if the MIL is activated or you are having drivability problems, the problem may be that the scan tool you are using is not fully compatible with your vehicle.
There are thousands of other manufacturer-specific DTCs, some of which generic OBD scanners may not pick up on, possibly replacing the real fault code with a P0000 code.
Some scan tools are just not intended to handle certain systems within some vehicles, such as the motor/battery controller on electric or hybrid vehicles.
If the vehicle is having no issues, it is likely a default code. If there are other issues, it may be worth investing in a professional scan tool. It usually comes down to having the wrong OBD scanner for the vehicle.
Other times, a simple software update can fix the issue.