How to Clean a Silverado Oxygen Sensor

by Alibaster Smith
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vice grips, plier image by JoLin from

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Quickly douse the sensor end into cold water. This will cause the carbon build-up to break free of the sensor, effectively cleaning it.

Step 4

Repeat steps until all of the carbon has been removed.

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