P0061 code definition
P0061 announces that the vehicle’s computer detects an unusual resistance level with oxygen sensor bank 2 sensor 3. An oxygen sensor is used to monitor the the amount of oxygen and harmful exhaust elements exiting the engine. The computer of the vehicle will use the readings of the oxygen sensor to adjust the performance of the engine by changing the air, fuel ratio, and ignition timing.
What the P0061 code means
This trouble code indicates that there is an abnormal resistance detected with the bank 2 sensor 3 oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensors are located on the exhaust pipes and are used by the vehicle’s computer to monitor the amount of fuel being consumed by the engine, as well as the levels of pollutants being created by the engine.
The sensors however are only accurate when they reach a hot temperature of about 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The exhaust pipes themselves would take about 15 minutes of operation to reach such temperatures, but an accurate reading of the oxygen sensor is needed long before that time period. This is why internal heaters were added to the oxygen sensors. The computer will interpret the temperature of the oxygen sensor by reading the resistance of the sensor. If the resistance of the oxygen sensor is out of range, that indicates to the computer that the temperature of the sensor is out of operating range as well.
What causes the P0061 code?
A short in the wiring, wiring harness, or connectors of bank 2 sensor 3
An open in the wiring, wiring harness, or connectors of bank 2 sensor 3
Worn internal heater element
Faulty power control module
What are the symptoms of the P0061 code?
- Idle stumbles up and down
- Check Engine Light or service engine light will soon illuminate
- Loss of power or acceleration
- Engine stall
How does a mechanic diagnose the P0061 code?
Back probes the wiring of the oxygen sensor to measure the resistance and voltage levels
Separates the oxygen sensor from the exhaust to verify that the sensor itself heats on its own
Inspects the wiring and electrical connections related to the oxygen sensor for an open, short, or loose connection
Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0061 code
Replacement of the wrong sensor by the misidentification of sensor 1, sensor 2, or sensor 3
Not cleaning the oxygens sensors connector(s)
How serious is the P0061 code?
It may be very harmful to the atmosphere because the computer of the vehicle will not be able to track the the amounts of pollutants. The computer relies on the readings of the oxygen sensor to determine if any adjustments need to be made.
These adjustments decrease harmful pollutants, but will also increase the performance, lifespan, and reliability of the vehicle.
What repairs can fix the P0061 code?
A replacement of the oxygen sensor (bank 2 sensor 3) will usually repair the issue.
At times there can be a dirty, open, or shorted connection causing the trouble code.
Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0061 code
Check that all of the related connectors and wiring are free from dirt, oil, corrosion, and fray.
Need help with a P0100 code?
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This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as P0061 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Resistance (Bank 2 Sensor 3) and was authored by Blake Griffin.