What are the Common DTC Codes?

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Common DTC Code:

The first thing you would like to grasp before reading a DTC is that the primary letter tells you which system the code falls under. Each code has only 1 letter followed by four digits. As mentioned, there are common codes that every automaker follows, created to satisfy regulatory requirements. Though there are thousands of additional codes unique to every model (for additional features), the generic codes remain identical. Knowing these generic codes helps you diagnose vehicle issues and repair your vehicles fast.


We’ve already covered the categories of common codes:


B: Body

C: Chassis

U: User network

P: Powertrain (i.e. engine and gearbox)


After the primary letter indicating the system category, you’ll see four digits. The primary digit is named a green digit and informs the technician whether or not the code is generic.


0: Generic/Global fault

1: Manufacturer/Enhanced fault


Generic codes are common and required for emission diagnosis. The improved or manufacturer codes are specific, meaning it’s a code regarding a further feature specific to your vehicle.

The following three digits are purple digits, which can be hexadecimal and correspond to incremented numbers. Typically, the P family codes have sub-families defined by the primary digit.


0, 1 & 2: For the air and fuel mixture

3: For ignition systems

4: For monitoring auxiliary emissions

5: For idling

6: For onboard computer and ancillary outputs

7, 8 & 9: For the transmission


There are around 11,000 definitions of those manufacturer codes—making it impossible to memorize all of them. This can be why you would like the proper equipment to read diagnostic trouble codes.

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