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An oxygen (O2) sensor monitors the O2 levels in the exhaust stream to help your vehicle’s engine perform efficiently while keeping its emissions in check. It’s also essential in diagnosing problems found in other systems and components.

If one or more O2 sensors have been damaged, your vehicle’s powertrain control module (PCM) may not be able to test other systems. On-board diagnostics may also log code P0160.

What Does the P0160 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0160 code stands for “O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 2).” On-board diagnostics may log this code if the PCM detects a defective or malfunctioning post-catalyst O2 sensor.

downstream oxygen sensor closer look
An oxygen (O2) sensor monitors the O2 levels in the exhaust stream to help your vehicle’s engine perform efficiently while keeping its emissions in check.

Code P0160 points to a problem with the downstream O2 sensor, which is already supposed to be lazier than the upstream sensor on a system where the catalyst is storing oxygen correctly. But if the HO2S 2/2 (downstream) sensor is inactive, this code will be stored.

HO2S 1/1 is always on the same side of the engine as cylinder 1. This will be different on a Chevy or Dodge than on a Ford. But even on transverse (sideways) engines, the same rule applies, so make sure you’re working on the proper O2 sensor before you start.

The O2 sensor on bank 2, position 2 monitors the catalyst efficiency of the catalytic converter on that bank. If the pre-catalyst O2 sensor sticks or switches between low and high voltage at a slow pace, code P0160 may be set. Pre-catalyst O2 sensors typically switch between low and high voltage one or two times per second.

Note: The definition of code P0160 may be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or database for the exact code definition.

What are the Possible Causes of the P0160 Code?

  • Defective bank 2, position 2 O2 sensor
  • Holes in the exhaust near the post-catalytic O2 sensor
  • Wiring problem, melted harness, or broken connectors
  • Faulty PCM

What are the Common Symptoms of the P0160 Code?

  • Illuminated malfunction indicator lamp (MIL)
  • Engine performance issues (rough idling, poor acceleration, etc.)
  • Decreased fuel economy

How to Diagnose the P0160 Code

If you have enough DIY automotive troubleshooting experience, you can try diagnosing P0160 using a scan tool record utility; otherwise, it’s best to let a mechanic look into the issue for you.

A P0160 engine code is a generic powertrain code for vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostics. However, note that the protocols for diagnosing this DTC and the appropriate steps in repairing the problems associated with it may vary depending on the vehicle’s year, make, and model.

If you still wish to diagnose P0160 yourself, check out these videos that may give you an idea of the different steps involved in diagnosing this DTC:

How to Fix Code P0160

If you’re planning to fix your vehicle’s P0160 code on your own, make sure you have the right tools and automotive know-how before proceeding. Consult credible repair manuals like Chilton or get an ALLDATA subscription for vehicle-specific repair information.

Otherwise, you may risk committing mistakes that can escalate the problem. To ensure your vehicle’s issues are addressed properly, it’s a good idea to have a licensed mechanic do the job for you instead.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : OBD-II Trouble Codes Tagged With :
Garage Essentials
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