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P0141 Diagnostic Trouble Code

Technical description

There is a problem with the heating element on the front, or pre-catalytic converter oxygen sensor.

What P0141 really means

When the car is completely warmed up, what engineers call “closed loop,” the front oxygen sensor, or air/fuel ratio sensor, plays a large role in fuel management. Because closed loop emissions are much lower than when the car is warming up, oxygen sensors are equipped with heating elements to bring them up to operating temperature as quickly as possible. If the computer detects that too much time has elapsed between startup and oxygen sensor activity, the check engine light is turned on.

What are the symptoms of a P0141 code?

You probably won’t notice any change in the performance of your car. Normal operating temperature for an oxygen sensor will be around 600 degrees fahrenheit, whereas exhaust gas temperatures will be higher than this when the car has warmed up. Of course, the oxygen sensor will not work at peak performance, and you might see a dip in fuel economy. Carbon and other deposits will build up at a faster rate in the engine and in the catalytic converter. Oxygen sensors, when working well, help the engine run at peak efficiency.

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What is the severity of a P0141 code?

Minor. There is no immediate danger to the car, nor will this code leave you stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow. There is time to look for a good mechanic and plan a date to drop off the car.

What repairs are needed to resolve a P0141 code?

Replacing the front oxygen sensors. Though you will not be stranded on the side of the road, remember that the car is not running as efficiently, which will lead to more significant problems (and more money) down the road. Carbon build up in the engine and deposits on the catalytic converter could cost you far more money than even the most expensive sensors.

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What’s the cost to resolve a P0141 code?

  • Estimated part(s) cost: $150–$350
  • Estimated labor cost: $50–$300 (depending on vehicle)
  • Estimated total cost: $200–$650

Note: The front oxygen sensors are more sophisticated than the rear, and their price will be considerably higher. In some cars the sensors are easily accessible, and installation will be around $50. Some sensors are very difficult to access and installation could rise above $200.

Keep in mind, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. Save time and money by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment with a service center in your area.

Service article written by an ASE Master Technician

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