Tips for Cleaning an Oxygen Sensor

  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Cleaning Rags
A large lidded plastic cup
A soft brush
Safety glasses

An oxygen sensor is a device that measures the concentration of oxygen to calculate the air to fuel ratio in internal combustion engines. Due to the fact that they are installed in the exhaust outlet of the engine, grime, soot and other pollutants can form thick deposits that can affect their function. In order to avoid such malfunctions that can lead to engine problems, a proper clean up is required. The article below will provide you with tips to complete such a task.

Keep in Mind Some Important Precautions

Gasoline, being a highly flammable substance, should be kept away from fire at all times. Since the cleaning process involves contact with the substance, wear gloves for protection always. In addition, the use of a facemask and safety glasses is also recommended since gasoline, being a highly volatile substance, produces fumes that can adversely affect your eyes or nasal passages.

Removing the Oxygen Sensor

Removing the oxygen sensor is an entirely separate project and is not a part of this article. It is recommended that you do not attempt to remove the device until and unless you are qualified or learned enough to know all the technical details. Asking a local mechanic to remove the sensor for you is a much easier way to go about the removal process.

Undertaking the Primary Cleaning Process

This process hopes to achieve a basic clean up that removes most of the deposits from the sensor. Make sure that the plastic cup is not filled to the brim with gasoline, as the level will increase when the sensor will be submerged for cleaning. It is recommended that you keep the container half full during this process. Plunge the sensor into the gasoline and fasten the lid securely. This is done so as to ensure that the gasoline does not vaporize. Do not shake the cup too vigorously in order to avoid spillage. Leave the container overnight in a cool, dry place that is away from heat of any kind.

Undertaking the Secondary Cleaning Process

This cleaning process works on removing the more resilient deposits from the sensor. Purchase a medium-sized brush with soft bristles to help you extract the deposits that are imbedded in the sensor. Remove the sensor from the plastic container and dip the brush in gasoline to lightly scrub the sensor. Make sure that the scrubbing is done lightly, as hard scrubbing can damage the sensing system.

Drying the Sensor

Before drying the sensor, dip it into gasoline one last time for thorough cleaning. Use cleaning rags and rub the sensor in a lengthwise direction lightly. Air-drying can also be used as an effective drying method to complement the drying method already used.

Reinstalling the Sensor

It may be useful to ask a qualified mechanic to complete this job. After the reinstallation has completed, turn the car engine on and check for any troubling signs. These may include the engine running loudly and roughly that point towards an improper mixing of air and fuel due to the malfunctioning sensor. If such is the case, it is highly recommended that you purchase a new one as no amount of cleaning can improve an oxygen sensor that may have a technical malfunction.