What is OBD-II Code P086C – Neutral Position Sensor A Circuit Low

OBD-II Code P086C – Neutral Position Sensor A Circuit Low: An Explanation for the Average Person

If you’re not an experienced mechanic, the world of car problems can feel like a complicated, frustrating mystery. One issue you may encounter is OBD-II Code P086C – Neutral Position Sensor A Circuit Low. But what does that really mean, and what steps can you take to repair the issue? In this article, we’ll break down the basics of this OBD-II code and provide actionable steps for fixing the problem.

What is OBD-II Code P086C?

Let’s start with the basics: what is OBD-II Code P086C, and what does it indicate? Essentially, this code appears when the neutral position sensor A circuit in your vehicle is experiencing low voltage levels, suggesting that there may be an issue with the sensor or its wiring.

Most commonly, this code will appear in vehicles with an automatic transmission. However, it’s worth noting that not all vehicles will show this code in the same way – depending on your specific model and make, you may see a slightly different variation of the OBD-II code.

What Causes OBD-II Code P086C?

To understand how to repair OBD-II Code P086C, it’s important to have a sense of what might be causing the issue in the first place. Here are some potential causes to consider:

1. Damaged wiring: In some cases, the wiring that connects the sensor to the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system may be frayed or otherwise damaged. This can cause voltage levels to drop, leading to the appearance of OBD-II Code P086C.

2. Faulty sensor: Neutral position sensors can also fail over time, particularly if they’re exposed to extreme temperatures or other environmental factors. A broken or worn-out sensor can lead to wiring issues and low voltage readings, triggering the code.

3. Electrical issues: Like many OBD-II codes, P086C may also be triggered by broader electrical issues in the vehicle. This can range from a blown fuse to a malfunctioning transmission control module (TCM), so it’s important to conduct a thorough diagnosis to confirm the root cause.

How to Repair OBD-II Code P086C

So, you’ve seen the code appear on your dashboard. What can you do to resolve the issue and get your vehicle back to functioning normally? Here are some effective steps to take:

1. Check the wiring: Start by checking the wiring that connects the neutral position sensor to the rest of the vehicle. Look for any obvious signs of damage, such as frayed or exposed wire, and replace as needed. You may also need to test the voltage levels using a multimeter to ensure that the connection is solid.

2. Replace the sensor: If the wiring all checks out, the next step is to replace the neutral position sensor altogether. This is a relatively straightforward process, and you can order a new, OEM-spec sensor online or from a local auto parts store. Once you have the replacement, simply connect it to the wiring and test the voltage levels again to confirm that the issue has been resolved.

3. Check for broader electrical issues: If neither of the above solutions resolves the issue, it’s possible that there are broader electrical problems in the vehicle that need to be addressed. This is where it may be helpful to bring your car to a professional mechanic or auto repair shop, as they’ll have the diagnostic tools and expertise to find and resolve more complex electrical issues.

Case Study: A Troubling Transmission

Let’s take a look at a real-world example of OBD-II Code P086C in action. Imagine that you have a 2011 Ford Fusion with an automatic transmission. You start to notice that the transmission is slipping occasionally, and after checking the OBD-II codes, you see that P086C has appeared on the dashboard.

You begin by checking the wiring, and sure enough, you find that one of the wires has been slightly damaged and is not making a secure connection. After replacing the damaged portion of the wiring, you test the voltage levels and find that the problem has been resolved – the transmission is no longer slipping and no OBD-II codes are appearing.

In this case, the repair was relatively simple and straightforward, but it still required a bit of know-how and the willingness to investigate potential causes. By taking the time to diagnose the problem and carefully address the underlying issues, you were able to get your car back to functioning normally.


1. Is OBD-II Code P086C a serious issue?
While any OBD-II code can be a cause for concern, P086C is not necessarily a serious issue in and of itself. However, it can lead to broader transmission problems if left unchecked, so it’s important to address the issue promptly.

2. How much does it typically cost to repair OBD-II Code P086C?
The cost of repairing this issue can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the wiring damage, the cost of replacement parts, and the cost of labor to install the new parts. However, the cost is generally in the range of a few hundred dollars, depending on the severity of the issue.

3. Can I continue to drive my car with OBD-II Code P086C?
While you may be able to continue driving your car in the short term, it’s generally not advised to do so for an extended period of time. Ignoring the issue can cause broader transmission problems, which can be expensive and time-consuming to repair.

4. How can I prevent OBD-II Code P086C from appearing in my car?
There’s no surefire way to prevent this OBD-II code from appearing, as it can be caused by a number of factors. However, regular maintenance and care of your car can help ensure that wiring and sensor issues are caught early and addressed promptly.

5. Do I need a professional mechanic to repair OBD-II Code P086C?
While you can certainly attempt to diagnose and repair this issue on your own, it’s often a good idea to bring your car to a professional mechanic or auto repair shop. They’ll have the tools and expertise to more quickly pinpoint the underlying cause of the issue and recommend the most effective solution.

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