Tips and Tricks to remove a stuck O2 sensor
Removing the oxygen sensor is not always that easy. Some O2 sensors are difficult to replace for many reasons. In this article, we will list three tips that can help you remove a stuck oxygen sensor.
Top reasons why you can't easily remove oxygen sensor.
- rusted oxygen sensor,
- rounded O2 sensor,
- O2 sensor located in a tight spot.
Here are some of the tips and tricks I have acquired from work in a shop for many years.
Tips on how to remove oxygen sensor
It is very important to use the proper oxygen sensor socket for your particular vehicle. Some cars require special oxygen sensor tool to remove them.
It is always easier to remove the oxygen sensor when the exhaust is hot. The reason this method works is because metal expands with heat, therefore, making O2 sensor removal easier. Moreover, this method only works when the oxygen sensor is an open location and easy to get to. Run the engine for a good 20 minutes until the exhaust system and the catalytic converter is hot. Place the vehicle on jack stands or a lift. Be mindful as the exhaust system is hot. Do not burn yourself, and use mechanic gloves to protect yourself. Again, spray liquid wrench or PB blaster and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Next, remove the O2 sensor.
Since the O2 sensor is located on the exhaust manifold or exhaust system; there is a good chance it will accumulate rust and eventually get stuck. The first method I recommend is using penetrating oil such as liquid wrench or PB blaster. Spray the penetrating oil on the O2 sensor and allow it to sit for a good 20-30 minutes. Afterward, use an appropriate O2 sensor socket wrench and remove the sensor. Sometime, due to tight spaces; you may have to use a regular metric or standard wrench. Some of the common wrench sizes are 22mm and 27mm and 7/8”. A stubby wrench may also be useful if the space is extremely limited.
Use propane torch. Propane is a great way to quickly heat up the O2 sensor. Again, place the vehicle on jack stands or a lift; Make sure to use propane in open spaces. Be careful not to use the propane torch around flammable materials as this is dangerous. Heat up the O2 sensor for a good 30 seconds. Allow the O2 sensor and exhaust manifold or exhaust system to naturally cool. Do not throw water on the O2 sensor as this can crack the exhaust manifold or exhaust system when it is cooled too fast. Use an appropriate O2 sensor socket wrench and remove the O2 sensor.