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P0153 Code – Symptoms, Causes, and Fix

The check engine light can be a concerning sight for any driver, but it’s important to understand that it’s a common occurrence that happens to millions of people each year. While it may lead to additional expenses at times, it’s usually not a catastrophic problem. If you encounter the P0153 code, consider yourself fortunate as compared to many other check engine codes, as this one is relatively minor. But what does the P0153 code mean, and how can you fix it?

P0153 Code - Symptoms, Causes, and Fix

What Does The Code P0153 Mean?

Your vehicle’s oxygen sensors work in pairs to accurately determine the level of emissions before and after they pass through the catalytic converter. This helps the computer monitor the converter’s effectiveness and ensures that your vehicle’s emissions meet acceptable levels.

However, the code P0153 indicates that one of the oxygen sensors is not providing an accurate reading, specifically that the voltage levels from the sensor are not fluctuating quickly enough. This could be due to excessive resistance or wear and tear on the sensor or its system.

Symptoms of Code P0153

In most cases, a vehicle with code P0153 will not exhibit any noticeable symptoms apart from the check engine light. However, unless you connect the vehicle to an emissions tester, you may not be aware of the problem. Even though a P0153 code does not always result in elevated emissions, it does mean that your vehicle will fail an emissions test.

What Causes Code P0153

If you’re experiencing a code P0153, the most probable culprit is a malfunctioning oxygen sensor. Although the aforementioned reason is prevalent for the occurrence of this code, it is imperative to note that it is not the sole cause of this code. There are various potential factors that may lead to the issue, such as defective connections or wiring to the oxygen sensor or leaks in the exhaust system.

The proper functioning of an oxygen sensor may be rendered futile if the wires fail to transmit the signal to the computer. Moreover, in the presence of an exhaust system leak, the system may appear to be functioning optimally, but may report inaccurate readings due to a system malfunction.

Is Code P0153 Serious?

A code P0153 is generally considered a non-critical issue. However, ignoring non-serious codes may not be the best approach, particularly if you haven’t pinpointed the root cause.

If your automobile’s check engine light is illuminated, it can be a concern as it does not have the capability to notify you of any additional codes that may arise, even if you are already aware of the current issue. Driving with a P0153 code is possible, however, it is crucial to note that a more severe code may arise without your knowledge until it is too late.

How to Fix P0153 Code?

If you’re experiencing a code P0153, it’s highly likely that your vehicle’s oxygen sensors are the root cause. Therefore, it’s recommended that you commence the troubleshooting process by inspecting the oxygen sensors. . If you don’t have an OBD2 scan tool, you can use a voltmeter or multimeter to test the oxygen sensor in your car.


1. Check the Voltage on the Signal Wire

Locate the oxygen sensor’s signal wire and test for voltage. Adjust the dial to 1 volt and observe any swings in the voltage reading between 200 and 800 mV. The exhaust system gets very hot, so take great care not to touch it when testing the sensors, but the voltage needs to be checked while the system is hot.

2. Test the Heater Circuit for Resistance

Each sensor can be tested by measuring the resistance of the heater circuit. The resistance of the heater wire is measured by probing it, and the result is usually in the range of 10 to 20 Ohms.

Instead of crawling under the car, you can use an automotive scan tool to check the functionality of each oxygen sensor from a safe distance.

3. Rule out the Oxygen Sensor?

It’s important to remember that you still need to make sure that replacing the oxygen sensor is the only thing causing the issue, rather than the connection, the wiring, or the circuit as a whole.

4. Reset the Check Engine Light

After you’ve finished fixing the circuit or replacing the sensors, you should drive around for 20 minutes to clear the check engine light and make sure it stays off.


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