Fault code P0700 – transmission control system malfunction

Fault code P0700 is called “Transmission Control System (TCS) Malfunction” but in different programs it may be called differently. This fault designation applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II.

Technical description and explained code P0700

This diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is a generic transmission code. Error P0700 is considered a general code because it applies to all makes and models of vehicles. Although the specific repair steps may vary slightly depending on the model.

Fault code P0700 – transmission control system malfunction

Many vehicles have an automatic transmission control module called a transmission control module (TCM). The Engine Control Module (ECM) communicates with the TCM. To monitor the automatic transmission for malfunctions.

If the TCM detects a malfunction in the automatic transmission and sets a malfunction code associated with the transmission. The ECM is also informed and sets error P0700 OBD2 in the ECM memory.

This illuminates the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) so that the driver is aware of the problem. If this code is present and the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) is illuminated. This means that there is at least one transmission malfunction code set in the TCM memory.

P0700 is an information code only. Which does not indicate a direct problem, but only a general transmission malfunction. Additional diagnostics is needed to determine the exact picture. This requires a diagnostic scanner, which will communicate with the transmission module.

Symptoms of vehicle malfunctions

The main signal that an error P0700 has occurred is the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) is also known as the CheckEngine Light.

It can also be warning signs such as:

  1. The “Check Engine” control lamp on the control panel will light up (the code will be written to the ECM memory as a fault).
  2. It may be difficult to shift gears while driving.
  3. It may take a long time to change gear.
  4. Increased fuel consumption.

Factors that can cause this error code

The error code P0700 can mean that one or more of the following problems have occurred:

  • Short circuit in TCM (transmission control module).
  • TCM (Transmission Control Module) may be defective.
  • Short circuit or wire breakage.
  • Damage to the transmission valve housing.
  • Failure of one or more of the shift solenoid valves.
  • Low ATF oil level may cause no pressure.
  • Wear and tear of the automatic transmission. Hydraulic fluid may leak through worn seals.

How to fix or reset OBD-2 code P0700

Some suggested steps for troubleshooting and fix the error code P0700:

  1. Check the ATF (automatic transmission fluid) level.
  2. Check all ECM / TCM connectors one at a time.
  3. Check that the transmission solenoids are open.
  4. Check the actuator controller and valve power cables.

After completing all the above steps, remove error code DTC P0700 with a scan tool. After that, it is worth to test-drive and check if the error will come back.

Diagnose and repair of problems

The first thing to do is to check the electrical part for damage. In today’s vehicles, electrical and electronic signals require good cabling for proper data transmission. Any faults, such as breaks, disconnected connectors or corrosion, can interrupt signals, leading to transmission control failures.

Installing tires that are not the correct size can also cause error P0700, since the ECM and TCM modules are programmed at the factory with a specific size in mind. Because of the tire size discrepancy, the sensor can produce an erroneous signal. Which, the module will count as a fault.

A worn automatic transmission may also be the culprit for this error. The hydraulic clutches and brakes of the automatic transmission may fail. Also spring clutches, solenoids, and valves can fail.

Check the battery, because some ECM and TCM modules are sensitive to low voltage. If the battery is low, the system may detect this as a failure. Make sure the battery is putting out at least 12 volts, and that the alternator is running properly, a minimum of 13 volts at idle.

Low ATF fluid levels can lead to a lack of pressure in the box, so there may not be enough pressure to tighten the brake. This causes it to slip, which the TCM recognizes as a fault. The same goes for the solenoid valve.

On which vehicles does this problem occur most frequently

Fault code P0700 can occur on different vehicles but there are statistics on which brands this occurs most often. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Acura (MDX)
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet (Astro, Captiva, Cruze, Epica, Lacetti, Orlando, Spark, Tahoe)
  • Chrysler (300C, 300M, PT Cruiser, Pacifica, Sebring, Town and Country, Voyager)
  • Daewoo (Leganza)
  • Dodge (Caliber, Caravan, Durango, Intrepid, Journey, Magnum, Neon, RAM, Stratus)
  • Ford (Fiesta, Focus, Galaxy, Kuga, Mondeo)
  • Geely (Emgrand)
  • Honda (Accord, CR-V, Civic, Fit, Jazz, Odyssey, Prelude, Stream)
  • Hyundai (Elantra, H1, Santa Fe, Starex, Tucson)
  • Jeep (Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty)
  • Kia (Ceed, Cerato, Rio, Sorento, Sportage)
  • Land Rover (Range Rover)
  • Mercedes-Benz (ML320, W163)
  • Opel (Antara, Astra, Corsa, Insignia, Mokka, Vectra, Zafira)
  • Porsche (Cayenne)
  • Renault
  • Saab
  • Ssangyong (Actyon, Kyron, Rexton)
  • Subaru (Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca)
  • Volvo (S60, S80, XC90)
  • Volga (Siber)

Fault code P0700 can sometimes be found with other errors. The most common are the following: P0463, P0500, P0600, P0601, P0715, P0731, P0732, P0733, P0740, P0741, P0743, P0750, P0755, P0768, P0776, P0817, P0845, P1700, P1718, P1746, P182E, P2203, P220A, P2520, U0100.


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