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How to Repair & Clean Oxygen Sensors

by Ashton Daigle

Oxygen sensors are small devices on your car or truck that measure and balance the oxygen to fuel ratio. Part of the emissions control system, the sensor feeds information to your car's power control module, which is your car's computer brain. Typically these sensors are mounted near along your exhaust pipe on each side of your catalytic converter. Over time they can become clogged and stop working. When this happens it can cause your car to kill unexpectedly. You can clean your oxygen sensor to get a few more extra miles out of it, but ultimately they will have to be replaced when they begin to act up.

Determine which sensor is bad. You can bring your car to any auto parts store and have them run a free diagnostic test which will tell you the sensor that is going bad and its location.

Jack up your vehicle and set jack stands in place under the frame.

Locate and remove the oxygen sensor. The sensors on your car are typically on the passenger side and are mounted directly onto the exhaust pipe on either side of the catalytic converter. Remove the sensor by unbolting the retaining bolts with a socket set and then unplugging it from its electric wiring harness.

Gently scrub the metal tube-shaped end of the sensor with a wire brush to remove excess dirt and grime. Use a can of compressed air to spray it and clean it further.

Pour some gasoline in a plastic container. Set the metal tube-shaped half of the sensor in the container with the gas. Let it sit in the gasoline over night.

Remove the sensor the next day and towel it dry.

Reinstall the sensor onto your vehicle by first setting it in place and putting the retaining bolts back in place and tightening them with the socket set. Plug the electric wiring harness back into the rear of the sensor. This should allow you to get extra miles out of the sensor before having to completely replace it.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Ashton Daigle, a New Orleans native, graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1998 and went straight to work as a journalist. In 2005 he tackled the biggest news story of his life - Hurricane Katrina. Daigle is writing a collection of essays: What It Means to be a Saints Fan.

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