P0153 Code (Symptoms, Causes, and How to Fix)

When you’re driving down the road, the last thing you want to see when you look at the dashboard is a check engine light. But it’s a common occurrence for millions of people each year. And while at times it can mean an additional expense, it’s usually not the end of the world.

If you have a code P0153, you’re in luck, as compared to many other check engine codes out there, this one is relatively minor. So, what does it mean if your vehicle has a code P0153, and more importantly how do you get it to go away?

P0153 code

What Does Cost P0153 Mean?

OBD-II Trouble Code P0153 Description
O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 2, Sensor 1)

The oxygen sensor for your vehicle works in pairs to determine the level of emissions coming from your vehicle both before and after the emissions go through the catalytic converter. This allows the computer to get an accurate reading of how well the catalytic converter is working at all times and ensures your vehicle’s emission levels are at an acceptable level.

However, if your vehicle has a code P0153, it means there’s a problem with one of the readings coming from one of the oxygen sensors. More specifically, the up and down voltage levels coming from the oxygen sensor aren’t happening fast enough.

It’s pretty technical, but when this happens it means there’s a problem with the sensor or the system it’s on. It could be excessive resistance or the oxygen sensor itself could be wearing out.

Related: P0151, P0154, P0155, P0157, P0158, P0160, P0161

Symptoms of Code P0153

emissions test failure

If your vehicle has a code P0153, there’s a good chance that the only symptom you’ll notice is the check engine light. Often there are no other noticeable symptoms unless you connect the vehicle to an emissions tester.

A code P0153 doesn’t necessarily mean your vehicle will have elevated emissions, but it does guarantee your vehicle will fail an emissions test.

  • Check engine light
  • No abnormal symptoms
  • Elevated emission levels

Causes of Code P0153

oxygen sensor

By far the most likely cause of a code P0153 is a defective oxygen sensor. But while that’s the most common cause of this code, it’s not the only cause of this code. Other possible causes include faulty connections or wiring to the oxygen sensor or exhaust system leaks.

It doesn’t matter if the oxygen sensor is doing everything it should if the wires can’t transmit that signal to the computer, and if there’s an exhaust system leak, everything might be working the way it should, it’s just reporting bad numbers because of a fault in the system.

  • Defective oxygen sensor
  • Faulty oxygen sensor connections or wiring
  • Exhaust system leaks

Is Code P0153 Serious?

Typically a code P0153 is not a serious condition. But just because it’s not a serious code doesn’t mean you should ignore it, especially if you haven’t taken the time to narrow down the exact cause.

The problem is that anytime your vehicle has a check engine light on, even if you already know what it’s on for, it has no way to tell you if another code pops up. You can drive around with a code P0153, but if a more serious code happens to come up, you won’t know about it until it’s too late.

How to Fix

using an OBD2 scanner

Since a code P0153 is usually a problem with the vehicle’s oxygen sensors, that’s where you should start with the troubleshooting process. The easiest way to check an oxygen sensor if you don’t have an OBD2 scan tool is with a voltmeter or a multimeter.

#1 – Check Voltage on the Signal Wire

Find the signal wire for the oxygen sensor and check for voltage. Set the scale to 1 volt, then see if the voltage reading fluctuates between 200 and 800 millivolts. However, you need to check the voltage while the system is hot, and the exhaust system gets extremely hot, so you need to use extreme caution not to touch it when testing the sensors.

#2 – Test Heater Circuit for Resistance

You can also test the heater circuit for resistance to check each sensor. This process involves probing the heater wire for resistance, with a typical reading between 10 and 20 Ohms.

If you have an automotive scan tool you can check the operation of each oxygen sensor using that, avoiding the need to get underneath the vehicle to figure out what’s going on.

#3 – Rule Out the O2 Sensor

Just keep in mind that you’ll still need to rule out the oxygen sensor specifically instead of a problem with the connection, wiring, or the overall circuit to ensure replacing the sensor will solve the problem.

#4 – Replace Oxygen Sensors

Finally, when replacing oxygen sensors, we recommend replacing all the sensors in the system at the same time since they work together to give your vehicle’s computer accurate readings.

#5 – Reset Check Engine Light

Once you finish replacing the sensors or repairing the circuit, reset the check engine light and drive around for about 20 minutes to clear it and ensure it doesn’t come back!

Adam Mann

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