How to Remove Stuck O2 Sensor? (Explained!)

Well, perhaps you are wondering how you can remove the stuck oxygen sensors and thinking if it’s simple or not. 

Cleaning and removing the stuck oxygen sensor is vital because they stop reading the exhaust gasses correctly when oxygen sensors fail.

If the stuck O2 sensor is not removed and fails, it can badly impact your car’s delivery systems and fuel combustion. In addition, it may lead the oxygen sensor to allow an excessive amount of fuel injected into the engine that can significantly affect lower gas mileage if it’s compared to your usual car gas mileage. 

On this page, you will be enlightened more about O2 sensors and instruct how you can remove them step-by-step.

How to Remove Stuck O2 Sensor

How to Remove Stuck O2 Sensor: Step-by-Step

Here’s the step-by-step guide to remove a stuck O2 sensor.

1. Apply Penetrating Oil   

Since the O2 sensor is positioned on the exhaust system, there’s a huge possibility for it to collect rust which may eventually result in getting stuck. So, it is highly advisable to use penetrating oil like a liquid wrench or PB blaster. 

Start spraying the penetrating oil on the O2 sensor. Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes or so. You can also leave it overnight. Then, break loose the O2 sensor with the O2 sensor socket.

In some instances, you might need to use a regular wrench because of the tight space. There are several common wrench sizes, including 22mm and 27mm, or 7/8″. In addition, a short wrench might be useful in tight spaces.

2. Heat Up The Engine

The next thing you’re going to do is to heat up the engine. Whenever the exhaust is hot, removing the oxygen sensor is much easier. The metal expands when heated, making it easier to remove the oxygen sensor.

Additionally, this method works only in an open area that is easily accessible and where the oxygen sensor is located; otherwise, you risk a burn. The exhaust system and the catalytic converter should be heated for about 20 minutes after starting the engine. Install lifts or jack stands to support the vehicle.

3. Use Propane Torch 

Last but not least, use a propane torch. Propane is an excellent way to quickly heat O2 sensors. 

If you’re working in an open area, make sure you’re using propane in open spaces. Make sure the vehicle is on jack stands or a lift. Avoid using the propane torch near flammable materials.

Spend at least 30 seconds heating the oxygen sensor. It is vital to let the O2 sensors and exhaust systems naturally cool.

You should never throw water on the O2 sensor as this could cause damage to the exhaust system when it is cooled too fast. Instead, use a suitable O2 sensor socket wrench and then remove the O2 sensor. 

Are Stuck O2 Sensors Hard to Remove?

Well, it depends. When the oxygen sensors aren’t rusted, and easy to access, replacing or removing them is easy because a rusted oxygen sensor can be challenging to remove once it has become corroded.

What Happens When You Unplug O2 Sensor?

If the O2 sensor is being unplugged, your ECU will be unable to calculate how much fuel to inject. If this happens, the ECU will revert to its default value and inject the same amount of fuel every time. 

Consequently, either performance would suffer or fuel economy would suffer.

Can I Use WD40 to Remove Stuck O2 Sensor?

Yes, you can use WD40 to remove a stuck O2 sensor. First, of course, you have to unbolt the O2 Sensors, but it is so easy even then, and yes, WD40 is safe to use.

Can You Remove O2 Sensor Without Socket?

Yes, you can also remove the O2 sensor without using the sensor socket. In fact, you can easily remove it without a special tool, although nothing beats the right tools for the job.


In summary, removing your O2 sensor is quite vital for better car conditions, but it isn’t complicated to do it. 

The steps are straightforward: you can simply do it yourself without professional help, although you have to be very careful in every step so you won’t mess up the entire process.

Also Read:


Image credits – Canva

Share on:

My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more