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P0153 Code – What Does It Mean & How To Fix It

This is one of the most frequent OBD2 trouble codes. Read the full article below to know what it means, how to fix it, and what other codes may show related to it.

Definition

P0153 is an OBD-II Code that refers to O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 2, Sensor 1)

Meaning

A P0153 code is caused by an ECM (Engine Control Module) receiving a signal from the PCM when the oxygen sensor is not working properly. When the sensor is not providing readings fast enough, this trouble code is stored and the MIL (malfunction indicator lamp) is lit as a warning.

Causes

Common causes for this code include:

  • Rich fuel mixture (too much fuel)
  • Lean fuel mixture (too little fuel)
  • Vacuum leak
  • Faulty oxygen sensor (A bad O2 sensor is likely the reason for this trouble code.)
  • Bad ECM (engine control module)
  • Loose, dirty or corroded connector(s) / Poor connection at harness

Symptoms

The symptoms of a P0153 code are:

  • MIL is lit
  • Poor performance / high emissions
  • Unexpected fuel consumption
  • Difficulty passing state emissions tests
  • Engine misfires, sputtering or no starting when cold
  • Engine runs very rough

Diagnosis

To diagnose a P0153 DTC code, a technician would:

  1. Scan for codes in the ECM and look at the freeze frame data for failure.
  2. Observe the oxygen sensor voltage data relative to the engine RPM and load on a scope or data logging tool.
  3. Perform a visual inspection of all vacuum lines and replace as needed.
  4. Check for leaks in fuel system, including injector O-rings and valves

Common mistakes

The following are some of the most common mistakes that a technician may make when diagnosing a P0153 code:

  • Not checking for a stored code in another ECM fault memory
  • Not verifying the existence of a P0153 code once a code reader finds one
  • Assuming that all oxygen sensors are bad without doing any kind of diagnostic work
  • Replacing faulty parts without being able to prove their failure, such as replacing an oxygen sensor without checking for a stored code in the other ECMs.
  • Trying to diagnose a complex problem with no aids, such as a DMM (digital multimeter) and a wiring diagram only. A scanner is required to perform diagnostics on modern vehicles.

How serious is this?

Although a P0153 code doesn’t typically mean that there is anything seriously wrong with the car, it normally means that an oxygen sensor needs to be replaced. The trouble code will stay in the ECM until the problem is fixed. If the problem isn’t fixed then more serious codes may follow or other problems can occur. If left too long, the vehicle’s catalytic converter could be damaged, may not pass state emissions tests and be very costly to replace.

What repairs can fix the code?

repair manuals

The following are solutions that may fix this problem:

  • Replacing the oxygen sensor
  • Replacing the wiring and connectors to the sensor
  • Clearing all codes and retesting
  • Replacing a faulty ECM (engine control module)

Related codes

A P0153 is related to and may be accompanied by the following codes:

P0125 – Coolant Temperature Circuit Malfunction, Bank 1

P0128 – Range/Performance Problem In Thermostat Heater Control Circuit

P1131 – Lean Fuel Trim, Bank 2

P1151 – Lean Fuel Trim, Bank 1

Conclusion

In conclusion, the P0153 code is a generic trouble code that means the computer has detected an issue with the oxygen sensor. This code is serious enough to trigger the Check Engine Light, but it shouldn’t cause much performance problems with your car. If you are receiving this error, be sure to get the problem fixed as soon as possible because it can harm your catalytic converter if left unfixed for too long.