How to Clean an Automotive Oxygen Sensor

Written by hunkar ozyasar
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How to Clean an Automotive Oxygen Sensor
A dirty oxygen sensor will result in dirty emissions and high fuel consumption (Auto Exhaust image by Digital Photique from

The oxygen sensor in your car or truck analyses the chemical composition of the exhaust gases exiting from the cylinders to help the engine-management system adjust the air to fuel ratio. A dirty oxygen sensor will fail to get an accurate reading and should be changed or cleaned.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dish washing gloves
  • 425gr. of gasoline
  • Wrench

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  1. 1

    Log your mileage before cleaning the oxygen sensor; a favourable change in this parameter is the easiest way to tell if the cleaning procedure was successful. A dirty oxygen sensor results in excess gasoline consumption. If fuel consumption does not improve after cleaning, the sensor might be broken.

  2. 2

    Locate the oxygen sensor using either an owner's manual, or locate your vehicle's catalytic converter by following the exhaust line; the oxygen sensors are located right before or immediately after the converters. Some cars have only one oxygen sensor while others may have two (one before and one after the catalytic converter).

  3. 3

    Remove the oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor comes off by manually unscrewing the end that sticks out. If the sensor is hard to unscrew by hand, use a wrench.

  4. 4

    Place the oxygen sensor in a container full of gasoline and wait overnight. Gently shake the container a few times, ideally an hour or so after placing the sensor in it.

  5. 5

    Put the dish-washing gloves on, and remove the sensor from the container. Shake off all of the gasoline from the oxygen sensor, and let it to dry thoroughly (which will take less than an hour).

  6. 6

    Screw the sensor back in place, start your engine and drive around a bit to check if your fuel mileage has improved. If mileage does not improve, the sensor is worn out or damaged and must be replaced.

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