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P0160 – What Does It Mean and 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

P0160 is an OBD-II Code that refers to 02 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 2)

Meaning

A P0160 code is a general diagnostic trouble code that occurs when the PCM/ECM receives a signal from the oxygen sensor that indicates there is no activity in the exhaust stream. Bank 2 refers to the side of the engine opposite of cylinder number one. The sensor No. 2 means it’s the second exhaust sensor, which is usually after the catalytic converter to check its efficacy.

Causes

Common causes for this code include:

  • Wiring problem 
  • Connectors might be broken
  • Damaged wires
  • Melted harness
  • Holes might be present near the post cat O2 sensor
  • Malfunctioning Bank 2, Position 2, Oxygen Sensor
  • Bad PCM (rare)

Symptoms

The symptoms of a P0160 code are:

  • Illuminated Check Engine Light
  • Tailpipe emits smoke
  • Increasingly poor performance
  • Bad, or no response from throttle 
  • Fuel consumption is higher than normal
  • The engine will not turn on
  • Engine may enter Limp Mode

Diagnosis

To diagnose a P0160 DTC code, a technician would:

  1. Scan for codes in the ECM and look at the freeze frame data for failure.
  2. Visually inspect the wiring and connectors for damage.
  3. Check the resistance of the oxygen sensor.
  4. Test the sensor output voltage.
  5. Perform a combustion leak test.
  6. Confirm the PCM is functioning properly.

Common mistakes

The following are some of the most common mistakes that a technician may make when diagnosing a P0160 code:

  • Not thoroughly inspecting all the wiring and connectors for damage.
  • Not checking the resistance of the oxygen sensor.
  • Not testing the sensor output voltage.
  • Performing a combustion leak test without confirming the PCM is functioning properly.

How serious is this?

A P0160 code is a moderate severity code but should be resolved as soon as possible as it lead you to expensive repairs.

What repairs can fix the code?

The following are solutions that may fix this problem:

  • Repairing or replacing any damaged wiring or connectors.
  • Cleaning or replacing the oxygen sensor.
  • Replacing the PCM (rare).

Related codes

A P0160 is related to and may be accompanied by the following codes:

P0155 – 02 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 1)

P0161 – 02 Sensor Circuit Range/Performance (Bank 2 Sensor 1)

P0174 – System too Lean (Bank 2)

P0420 – Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 2)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the P0160 code is a diagnostic trouble code that refers to a problem with the oxygen sensor or the wiring. The code is accompanied by a variety of symptoms, and can cause poor performance and even engine failure. There are a variety of possible repairs that can fix this code, but it should be resolved as soon as possible to prevent further damage.