Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

Description:

How does a P0420 code trigger the check engine light? This code will trigger the check engine light as follows:
1996-newer (OBD-II) vehicles use oxygen sensors and a catalytic converter to reduce emissions. There is one O2 (oxygen) sensor in front of the catalytic converter (called upstream), and one behind it (downstream). When the engine is warmed up and running normally the upstream oxygen sensor reading fluctuates and the downstream one is fairly steady. In the case where both readings are fairly steady, a P0420 check engine light code is set.

Possible Causes:

Oxygen (O2) sensor not working correctly
Damaged or leaking exhuast (pipe, manifold, catalytic converter)
Damaged catalytic converter

Diagnostic Help:

To diagnose a P0420 trouble code we begin by checking for exhaust leaks under the vehicle. Then use an oscilliscope to check the waveforms of both upstream and downstream O2 sensors. The front reading should vary, the rear should be steady. Replace as necessary. Check the rear Heated O2 Sensor. Check the catalytic converter, replace if necessary. If necessary, check for wiring and component concerns. See our article “Automotive Circuit Testing 101”, if you need more assistance with this. Remember to refer to an model-specific repair manual for proper instruction.

System Too Lean – Bank 1

Description:

How does a P0171 code trigger the check engine light? This code will trigger the check engine light as follows:

The adaptive fuel strategy in the vehicle’s computer constantly monitors the fuel delivery system to make sure the engine is running at an optimum air to fuel ratio, which is 14.7:1. The computer adjusts injector pulse width to regulate the amount of fuel going into the engine. The oxygen sensors relay information to the Powertrain Control Module (computer), informing it of the oxygen content in the exhaust. This information is translated by the computer, and used to determine if more or less fuel is needed. The computer will then adjust fuel flow (and possibly other related engine operating characteristics), to keep the correct air fuel mixture. This loop continues as long as the engine is running. Please refer to our article Oxygen Sensor Code Diagnosis for more info on this system. A P0171 check engine light code is set when the computer has reached a rich calibration limit and can not add enough fuel to maintain the correct mixture.

Possible Causes:

Refer to our Oxygen Sensor Code Diagnosis article for a list of all possible causes. The following is an overview of P0171 check engine light code possible causes.

Fuel System:

Leaking or faulty fuel pressure regulator
Plugged or dirty fuel filter or lines
Fuel pump weak or defective check valve
Injectors leaking or faulty
Low fuel pressure or running out of fuel
Leaking EVAP system components
Faulty FRP (Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor)

Air Intake System

Vacuum leaks
Contaminated, damaged or faulty Mass Air Flow sensor
PCV valve leak or stuck open
Air induction turbulance caused by wrong filter
Oil dipstick not seated
Air leaks after the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
Oil coated aftermarket air filter

Exhaust System

Any exhaust leak before or near the oxygen sensors

EGR System

Vacuum line disconnected from EGR System Module (ESM)
EGR valve, tube or gasket leak
EGR vacuum regulator valve leaking

Secondary Air Injection System

Mechanically stuck secondary air injection valve

Downstream O2 Sensors Swapped Bank To Bank

Description:

How does a P0041 code trigger the check engine light? This code will trigger the light to come on under the following condition:

The Heated Oxygen Sensor Monitor, a strategy built into the computer, determines if the Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S) signal response for a change in fuel trim corresponds to the correct engine bank. If a response from the Oxygen Sensor being tested is not indicated, a trouble code will be set and the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) will illuminate.

Possible Causes:

Crossed Heated Oxygen Sensor harness connectors
Wiring swapped from one Oxygen Sensor connector to the other
Wiring changed at the computer connection or in the related harness

Diagnostic Help:

This check engine light code is caused by swapped wiring or connectors of the downstream Heated Oxygen Sensors. This would have to be the result of a previous repair, so be sure to check the vehicle history. You may also use the “Get Help” link if you need specifications or have any other related questions. Remember to refer to an appropriate manual for specific instructions.

Downstream O2 Sensors Swapped Bank To Bank

Description:

How does a P0041 code trigger the check engine light? This code will trigger the light to come on under the following condition:

The Heated Oxygen Sensor Monitor, a strategy built into the computer, determines if the Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S) signal response for a change in fuel trim corresponds to the correct engine bank. If a response from the Oxygen Sensor being tested is not indicated, a trouble code will be set and the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) will illuminate.

Possible Causes:

Crossed Heated Oxygen Sensor harness connectors
Wiring swapped from one Oxygen Sensor connector to the other
Wiring changed at the computer connection or in the related harness

Diagnostic Help:

This check engine light code is caused by swapped wiring or connectors of the downstream Heated Oxygen Sensors. This would have to be the result of a previous repair, so be sure to check the vehicle history. You may also use the “Get Help” link if you need specifications or have any other related questions. Remember to refer to an appropriate manual for specific instructions.

Upstream O2 Sensors Swapped Bank To Bank

Description:

How does a P0040 code trigger the check engine light? This code will trigger the light to come on under the following condition:

The Heated Oxygen Sensor Monitor, a strategy built into the computer, determines if the Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S) signal response for a change in fuel trim corresponds to the correct engine bank. If a response from the Oxygen Sensor being tested is not indicated, a trouble code will be set and the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) will illuminate.

Possible Causes:

Crossed Heated Oxygen Sensor harness connectors
Wiring swapped from one Oxygen Sensor connector to the other
Wiring changed at the computer connection or in the related harness

Diagnostic Help:

This check engine light code is caused by swapped wiring or connectors of the upstream Heated Oxygen Sensors. This would have to be the result of a previous repair, so be sure to check the vehicle history. You may also use the “Get Help” link if you need specifications or have any other related questions. Remember to refer to an appropriate manual for specific instructions.

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