How to Clean a Silverado Oxygen Sensorby Alibaster Smith
The oxygen sensor, or O2 sensor, in your Chevy Silverado collects information about your truck's emissions output and sends this information to the truck's electronic control unit, or ECU. The ECU then adjusts the air to fuel ratio to make sure that the emissions are reduced to a minimal amount, that fuel economy is optimized, and the power output is optimized for the amount of fuel being used in the engine. Over time, the O2 sensors may become dirty and coated in carbon. Once you've removed the sensor from your Silverado, you need to know how to clean the carbon deposits off of the sensor.
Grab the oxygen sensor with a pair of vise-grip pliers so that the round portion of the sensor is facing away from you. Grab onto the base of the sensor with the vise-grips, not the rounded portion of the sensor.
Turn on the propane torch and heat the end of the O2 Sensor (the round part of the sensor) until the end of the sensor turns red.
Quickly douse the sensor end into cold water. This will cause the carbon build-up to break free of the sensor, effectively cleaning it.
Repeat steps until all of the carbon has been removed.
- When heating the end of your oxygen sensor, make sure that you only heat it until it just starts turning red. Do not heat the sensor end until it glows orange or you may damage the sensor. The sensor wires on your oxygen sensor are not exposed simply by design (all oxygen sensors cover the sensor wires to protect them from damage and there is no way to directly access the wires), so the only way to clean them is indirectly using this method of rapid heating and cooling the exterior sensor shell to loosen and burn up the carbon deposits on the inside of the sensor.
Items you will need
- Propane torch
- Cold water
- Vise-grip pliers
- "Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche, GMC Sierra, Yukon, Denali Repair Manual 2007-2009"; Mike Stubblefield, John H. Haynes; 2009
- vice grips, plier image by JoLin from Fotolia.com