P0160 code definition

Trouble code P0160 is set when no activity is detected on the bank 2 sensor 2 oxygen sensor circuit. Bank 2 refers to the side of the engine opposite of cylinder number one. Sensor 2 means that it is the second sensor in the exhaust, which is usually after the catalytic converter to monitor its efficiency.

What the P0160 code means

This code means that the powertrain control module has detected a fault in the circuit for the oxygen sensor for bank 2 sensor 2. The Check Engine Light will illuminate to let the owner know that there is a problem with the emissions system.

What causes the P0160 code?

Trouble code P0160 sets when the engine management computer does not detect any activity on the oxygen sensor circuit for bank 2 sensor 2. Generally, an oxygen sensor’s voltage will vary up and down.

The first sensor in the exhaust varies voltage very quickly and the voltage variance is greater. The second sensor varies slower and the voltage variance is smaller due to the catalyst in the exhaust.

When the computer detects that there is no activity or variance in the voltage it sees this as a problem and sets this error code.

What are the symptoms of the P0160 code?

  • The main symptom for this code is that the Check Engine Light will come on.

  • There are no drivability problems typically presented when this code sets other than a potential reduction in fuel economy.

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0160 code?

  • As with any oxygen sensor code, I recommend performing a visual check of the oxygen sensor harness to check for any obvious signs of damage. They are under the vehicle and are susceptible to damage by road hazards.

  • Next, they will check the terminals of the connector for any signs of corrosion or water intrusion. These will cause the voltage readings to be incorrect and will result in an error code.

  • After, they will check the resistance of the oxygen sensor itself and make sure it is within specifications.

  • If the oxygen sensor’s resistance checks out okay, you need to measure the reference voltage from the powertrain control module.

  • If all of these checks turn out okay, it is most likely a faulty oxygen sensor. A quick way to check for this is to monitor the voltage of the sensor with a scan tool and either introduce a vaccum leak or an extra fuel source to the vehicle.

  • This should change the voltage reading to one extreme or the other for the sensor. If there is no change this confirms that the sensor is not reading correctly.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0100 code

  • The most common mistake would be replacing the oxygen sensor without performing any diagnostics and then you still have a problem.

  • The next common problem would be be replacing the wrong sensor. Depending on the engine configuration it is possible to get the cylinder banks confused if you do not consult the service information for the vehicle you are working on.

How serious is the P0160 code?

There is no need for concern with the trouble code. There will be no drivability concerns related to this trouble code. However, this trouble code will cause you to fail an emissions test if their test equipment connects to the engine computer to check for codes. If they run your car on a dyno there is a possibility that your car may pass the test as long as there are no other issues.

What repairs can fix the P0160 code?

Need help with a P0100 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as P0160 OBD-II Trouble Code: 02 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 2) and was authored by Evan Clay.


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