How to Remove a Catalytic Converter O2 Sensor

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In modern cars, the computer uses data from various sensors to determine how much fuel and spark to give the engine, ensuring that it runs correctly. On the exhaust side, these are oxygen (O2) sensors, which detect how much oxygen is in the exhaust, and tell the computer how lean or rich the engine is running. If one of the O2 sensors goes out, the car's engine won't run correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Oxygen sensor socket
  • 3/8-inch ratchet
  • Lift up the vehicle using the jack and place it on jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is secure before you crawl underneath it.

  • Locate the oxygen sensors on the exhaust--2- or 3-inch long tubes that extend perpendicular to the exhaust tubing with wiring running out of them. Unclip the wiring to the sensor you want to remove using your hands.

  • Place the oxygen sensor socket on the 3/8-inch ratchet and unbolt the sensor from the exhaust. Make sure the wiring is leading out of the slot in the socket so that you don't damage the pigtail on the way out.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't fit a socket in the area you need to gain access to the sensor, try using an O2 sensor crow's foot wrench.
  • Although it's easier to remove the sensor if the exhaust is hot, you risk burning yourself if you don't allow the engine to cool before you remove the sensor from the system.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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