How to Locate Your Ford Explorer V8 Oxygen Sensor

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What Is an Oxygen Sensor?

Ne​w cars, and vehicles companies sold after 1980, have an oxygen sensor. Designed to increase the engine's efficiency, the oxygen sensors sends important information to the car's internal computer. The oxygen sensor helps the car run more effectively and reduces emissions.

​Gasoline-powered engines burn fuel when there is oxygen. The ideal ratio of gas to oxygen is 14.7:1. If there is less oxygen than that, there will be excess fuel after. If there's more oxygen, it can cause performance issues or even harm your engine. The oxygen sensor helps modulate this process and ensures the car is using the correct ratio.

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Location of the Oxygen Sensor

 In today's cars, the oxygen sensor is in the exhaust pipe. The sensor is essential; without it, the car's computer cannot adjust for variables like altitude, temperature or other factors. If the oxygen sensor breaks, your car will continue running. But you may experience issues with drive performance and end up burning through fuel more quickly.

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The Ford Explorer V8

When it comes to the Ford Explorer V8, fuel efficiency and oxygen sensors are especially important. The Ford Explorer is a large SUV and can seat seven people comfortably. With the seats folded flat, you have over 80 cubic feet of cargo space, so it's plenty big enough to haul gear for the weekends. And when outfitted with the tow package, the Ford Explorer can handle large loads. It can tow up to 5,000 lbs. It's a powerful vehicle, with over 280 horsepower.

​But all that power needs fuel. It gets 17 miles per gallon during city driving, and 24 miles to the gallon on the highway. So that you don't have to stop for gas every couple hours, the oxygen sensors need to work perfectly. Otherwise, your gas bill will skyrocket and your Explorer's performance will be hurt.

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Diagram: Ford Explorer and V8 Oxygen Sensor Locations

M93/Flickr

Above is a diagram showing the location of the Ford Explorer's oxygen sensors.  

If your engine is showing a code like PO153 "Upstream heated O2 sensor circuit slow response Bank 2," you'll need to find your oxygen sensor locations to replace the bad unit.

The diagram also shows which side of the engine holds Bank 2 and Bank 1. Bank 1 is the side of the engine with Cylinder 1. It displays the Ford V8 numbering system for O2 sensors.

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How to Fix the Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is the most common cause for the check engine light to come on. And taking the time to fix it early on can save you money, time and trouble.

​You likely will need to take your car to a repair shop to get it fixed. They will plug your car's computer into their system to see what code comes up. From there, you can find out what's wrong and decide how to proceed. Sometimes the oxygen sensor will signal something else is wrong with the car, but the sensor itself can wear out over time. Replacing them is a relatively cheap fix that can help your car run more efficiently.