Diagnostic Trouble Code P0141

P0141 “O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 2)”


What is code P0141?

Code P0141 stands for “O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 2)”. This diagnostic trouble code can show up for a number of problems related to the post-catalyst oxygen sensor. Therefore, it is important to have a qualified technician diagnose the specific problem that caused the code to be stored in your vehicle’s computer.

Get this checked out soon by a CarAdvise shop, where the work will be guaranteed, and one of our expert techs will review any repair orders.

What does code P0141 mean?

A code P0141 tells a technician that there is a problem with the oxygen sensor that is mounted in the exhaust system after the catalytic converter. The ECM (Engine Control Module) has detected the problem and turned on the check engine light.

No matter how finely-tuned your engine might be, it will still emit harmful greenhouse gasses when it is running. These gasses are a natural byproduct of the combustion process. Because of this issue, the federal government has required for many years that auto manufacturers install a device called a catalytic converter in the exhaust system to mitigate those harmful pollutants before they can leave the tailpipe.

The catalytic converter is sometimes called the “catalyst” due to the chemical reaction brought about by the components inside. It contains a matrix filled with platinum or other precious metal, such as palladium or rhodium. These metallic chemical elements serve as the catalyst for chemical reactions with the exhaust gasses that pass through. The result of these reactions is that harmful carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide are converted into carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen before being released into the atmosphere.

Because the function of the catalytic converter is so important, a pair of oxygen sensors (O2 sensors) are placed in the exhaust stream, one ahead of the catalytic converter and the other behind. Unfortunately, the downstream oxygen sensor does not provide an accurate reading until it heats up. It needs to get to somewhere around 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on driving conditions, that could take several miles while the engine and exhaust warm up the catalytic converter. So, a heating element is added to the oxygen sensor. The heater begins warming up the sensor as soon as you turn on the ignition switch. If the ECM detects a problem with the heater’s electrical circuit, it will store a code P0141 and turn on the check engine light.

What causes code P0141?

A number of causes can trigger a code P0141. That is why an accurate diagnosis is essential. Causes of this code include anything that causes a misfire. For instance:

Most likely

  • Bad oxygen sensor ($200-$500)
  • Faulty wiring to the oxygen sensor
  • Corrosion on the oxygen sensor or electrical connector

What symptoms are associated with this code?

Common signs associated with a code P0141 include the following:

How does a technician diagnose code P0141?

If a diagnostic scan of your vehicle indicates a code P0141, a technician will perform tests to pinpoint the problem. These tests include checking for any related trouble codes. The technician will also use the scan tool to read the live data from the oxygen sensors and check for problems with the wiring that leads to the sensors. Electrical testing of the sensor heater using a multimeter might also be done. The technician might even remove the oxygen sensor from the vehicle for testing.

How serious is this code?

A code P0141 will not cause immediate drivability issues. However, driving your vehicle with this code means that the ECM cannot accurately monitor the efficiency of the catalytic converter while it is warming up for the first few miles. This is unacceptable when trying to pass an emissions test, but it is not usually an inherent risk to the health of your engine. It is fine to have this code checked out in a week or so.

Get this checked out soon by a CarAdvise shop, where the work will be guaranteed, and one of our expert techs will review any repair orders.


Related Diagnostic Trouble Codes

P0132 “O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1, Sensor 1)”

P0137 “O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1, Sensor 2)”

P0138 “O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1, Sensor 2)”


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