Remove A Stuck Oxegen Sensor on a Any Car

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It's not too uncommon that you'll go to remove an old oxygen sensor and it'll be straight up stuck in the exhaust. It sucks, but you're going to need a few tools and some know-how to get it out so you can be back on your way.

This exact thing happened to me last time we were upgrading the O2 sensor on my buddy's GMC Typhoon to install a PLX Wide-band sensor for more accurate readings.

Try Using a Slotted O2 Socket

If your Oxygen sensor hasn't been used for too long, you may be able to use conventional methods. They make these special sockets for o2 sensors with a slit on the side so the wire has some place to go. Give one a try.

They won't work in tough cases because the end will open up and slip.

Image 6578 from Remove a Stuck Oxegen Sensor on a Any Car

Our first secret tip is to add a band clamp onto the open end of the socket in an attempt to keep the socket from opening up. Tighten it super tight and try to remove the sensor.

We cracked the socket trying this so we moved on to the more advanced methods below.

Try Using Heat To Loosen the Oxygen Sensor

Use a torch to heat the bung around the o2 sensor. Get it nice and hot. Don't forget it's crazy hot afterwards or you'll burn yourself (the socket will get hot too!)

Try using your slotted socket/band clamp combo on the hot oxygen sensor. If you're lucky the heat will be enough.

Still Stuck? Cut it Down to Use a Normal Socket

Ok, all bets are off.


Cut the top off the sensor.

Just chop it right in half so it's short enough to fit in your conventional socket.


Heat the exhaust bung around the O2 sensor again, we're going to use all the tricks at our disposal this time.


Slip the 6 point socket on and remove the O2 sensor with a long breaker bar.

Chase the Oxygen Sensor Threads


Check to make sure you didn't damage the exhaust piping around the threaded o2 sensor bung. With that much force, sometimes the welds or exhaust piping can give way before the sensor does.

In our case, the threads were pretty gouged up.

Most of the time, if your o2 sensor was that hard to remove, the threads are going to be a mess. Chase them with the appropriate oxygen sensor thread tap.

All Done, Install Your New O2 Sensor

Add some anti-sieze to the threads and screw in your new oxygen sensor.

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If you have access to the downstream sensor, don't waste time rounding off the nut with regular 22 mm sockets which have a gate/slit for the wiring. If it's going to be sticky, but you don't want to cut wires or destroy the sensor, soak with penetrating oil overnight, get a secure, maximum strength grip with vise grips, (strong wrist required) and use a cheater bar (piece of pipe) on the end of the vise grips to get leverage. That's what worked for me. A hot exhaust and freeze spray on the sensor might help. Good luck.

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