How to Clean a 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor in 6 Steps?

Mech4cars.com – How to Clean a 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor in 6 Steps? – A car will show signs of jerking when accelerating is one of the symptoms that the oxygen sensor on the car’s engine needs to be cleaned. No need to worry because we can completely clean the oxygen sensor at home. The method is very simple and only requires a few simple steps. Let’s find out how to clean the 1NZ-FE engine O2 sensor with mech4cars.

Important Points About the 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor

We know the oxygen sensor as well as emission sensors. This sensor is one of the most important sensors in car engine systems, including the 1NZ-FE engine. The main function of the oxygen sensor is to help measure the remaining oxygen concentration in the exhaust gas of a car engine. The data that the oxygen sensor gets will be sent by the sensor to the ECU (engine control unit) so that the engine can adjust the level of fuel injection as needed. As such, this process will help ensure performance while remaining compliant with emission regulations.

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Clean a 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor

Read more: 5 Main Problems of 1TR-FE Gasoline Engine

Where is the 1NZ-FE engine oxygen sensor located?

Even though we are talking about a 1NZ-FE engine, in general, the oxygen sensor is usually located in the threaded hole right in front of the engine’s catalyst converter. Meanwhile, usually, the catalyst converter is near the end of the exhaust manifold, more precisely behind the silencer. On some models, the manufacturer installs the oxygen sensor at the back of the exhaust kit. However, the task of this sensor only evaluates the exhaust gas processing capability of the exhaust catalyst.

How do O2 sensors work?

The oxygen sensor is one of the important parts of a modern machine. Thus, damage to the oxygen sensor makes the engine unable to reach its optimal power. So how do oxygen sensors work?

Read more: 4 Colors of Used Oxygen Sensors and Their Causes

The rest of the combustion in the combustion chamber which we call emission will at any time from the combustion chamber. Exhaust emissions will come out and pass through the oxygen sensor. Contact between the emissions and the sensor probe will cause the sensor to generate an electric current whose voltage is inversely proportional to the oxygen content in the exhaust gas. If the oxygen content is high or the air mixture is a “lean mixture”, the sensor will output a voltage of about 0.1V. If the oxygen content is low or the air is a “rich mixture”, the sensor will output a voltage of about 0.9V. Based on this potential, the ECU will adjust the opening time of the fuel injectors appropriately so that the intake air mixture has an air/gasoline ratio close to the ideal ratio.

What Happens When an Oxygen Sensor Fails to Work?

When the oxygen sensor is damaged, we will feel the following symptoms.

Consumes more fuel

When the sensor sends incorrect data or does not send a signal to the ECU, the ECU can only calculate the amount of fuel based on the intake air flow sensor. The ECU cannot accurately analyze data from the oxygen sensor because it does not know the amount of oxygen after combustion takes place. This leads to the fact that even though there is less oxygen in the exhaust gas, the amount of fuel injected is still high causing “over-gassing”, causing the car to consume more fuel than normal. This fuel consumption can increase gradually if we do not immediately repair the broken oxygen sensor.

Car exhaust smells of petrol

The second symptom is car exhaust-smelling gasoline. If the car smells of gasoline, then most likely the oxygen sensor in the engine is not working. Because at this time too much gasoline enters the combustion chamber. This results in gasoline not burning completely. And so that the rest of the gasoline will also come out through the exhaust pipe, causing an unpleasant odor.

The “Check engine” light is on

The next symptom is the check engine light coming on. The check engine light is responsible for notifying when the engine or related part has a fault. Therefore, if you see the Check Engine light come on, it is most likely that the oxygen sensor is not working.

Read more: DTC P0443 on Chevrolet Spin 1.5 and Check Engine Lights

Why Do We Need to Clean the Oxygen Sensor?

To get the vehicle the best performance, the function of the sensor components in the car must work optimally. Specifically, the oxygen sensor is an electronic device located in the exhaust pipe that is in direct contact with the emissions from the engine’s combustion chamber. Therefore, this sensor will perform the task of measuring the quality of exhaust emissions. Then it sends a signal to the ECU to evaluate and adjust the fuel ratio and the amount of air entering the combustion chamber to make it the most suitable.

Clean a 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor
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With this role, the oxygen sensor in the car directly affects the vehicle’s performance, avoiding mistakes such as unstable speed, slow acceleration, fuel consumption, and so on. In addition, this sensor also ensures emission standards and does not pollute the environment. Therefore, we need to check the oxygen sensor periodically. Mech4cars recommends checking the oxygen sensors every 1 to 2 times per year. This will ensure the timely detection of problems with oxygen sensor cleaning, repair, or replacement, ensuring stable performance.

Read more: ECM vs PCM vs ECU what are the differences?

As a side note, we must remember that oxygen sensors do not get dirty unless the engine is in a state of serious trouble such as bad fuel injectors, broken spark plugs, or cracked ignition coils.

How to Clean the 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor in 6 Steps

Some of us may wonder “Can we clean the O2 sensor ourselves?” Most of us are not sure whether cleaning the oxygen sensor and then reinstalling it can be effective when the O2 sensor has a problem. With this question, mech4cars’ answer is “When we see the symptoms of a broken oxygen sensor. Mech4cars doesn’t recommend you clean it, replacing it as a set can be a good solution. Because oxygen sensors are fragile and very sensitive. It can be completely damaged if we don’t use suitable chemicals to clean it.”

When inspecting the O2 sensor, however, if there’s no damage, you’ll want to save a little money. You can clean the oxygen sensor to ensure its longevity and smooth and efficient functioning of the oxygen sensor.

The first step: Prepare the tool

The tools we need to clean oxygen sensors include;

  1. Wrench or SST for disassembling the oxygen sensor.
  2. WD-40, gasoline, or carburetor cleaner are solutions to help effectively remove and clean the oxygen sensor.
  3. Soft brush to remove “stubborn” dirt.
  4. Soft cloth: dry the sensor after we clean the oxygen sensor.
  5. In addition, we also have to prepare extra gloves and glasses so that gasoline and cleaning solutions don’t get caught in them.

Step two: Locate the oxygen sensor

Next, we need to take the car to a large location with sufficient lighting. After that, we can also jack up the car to make it easier to find the oxygen sensor. Next, locate the oxygen sensor. So read the user manual for the exact position of the sensor. Note that it is necessary to disconnect the power (battery) before affecting the sensor, to avoid damage we don’t want. Typically, cars with 1NZ-FE engines have at least two oxygen sensors: one located in front of the catalytic converter and the other located behind the catalytic converter.

Step Three: Remove the oxygen sensor

After locating the oxygen sensor, spray the WD-40 evenly, and wait for 10-15 minutes. This solution has a lubricating effect, making it easier to disassemble the sensor. Then use a wrench to remove the oxygen sensor from the vehicle being careful not to damage the other components.

Fourth step: Clean the oxygen sensor with a special cleaner

Using gasoline to clean the oxygen sensor is relatively simple. We only need to put all the sensors into a barrel or basin, using plastic or stainless steel, then fill it with gasoline. Then cover and soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Gasoline will clean the plaque and dirt on the oxygen sensor.

Step five: Clean the oxygen sensor with a soft brush

After immersing the oxygen sensor in gasoline. If there are still stains, we can use a soft brush to scrub gently to remove plaque that has been attached for a long time. Drivers should pay attention to gentle scrubbing, ensuring that dirt is completely removed. And should not use too much force because it can cause damage to the sensor.

Sixth step: Dry and reassemble the sensor

After completing the cleaning process, use a paper towel or soft cloth to dry the oxygen sensor. Next, install the sensor in its original position, and use a wrench to tighten the bolts, so that the installation does not loosen causing problems when the vehicle is operating.

Conclusion – How to Clean a 1NZ-FE Engine O2 Sensor in 6 Steps

In this article, we can draw several conclusions:

  1. The oxygen sensor is an important sensor in the 1NZ-FE engine. With this sensor working properly, it is one of the guarantees that the engine can work optimally.
  2. There are at least one or two sensors in every car with a 1NZ-FE engine.
  3. It is very easy to clean the 1NZ-FE engine O2 sensor and it will help the engine run properly all the time.

For this reason, knowledge of oxygen sensors is very important and it will support the work of cleaning the oxygen sensor as a whole.

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