How to Locate Your Ford Explorer V8 Oxygen Sensor

Sensors help keep engines running smoothly and efficiently

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New cars and other vehicles sold after 1980 have oxygen sensors. Designed to increase the engine's efficiency, these oxygen sensors send important information to the car's internal computer, helping the car to run more effectively and reducing emissions.

Gasoline-powered engines need oxygen to burn fuel. The ideal ratio of gas to oxygen is 14.7:1. Less oxygen than that can result in excess fuel left over in the wrong place. More oxygen than that can cause performance issues or even harm your engine. The oxygen sensor helps modulate the combustion process, ensuring that the engine 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 such as altitude, temperature, and other factors. If the oxygen sensor breaks, your car will continue running, but you may experience issues with driving 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 that can seat seven people comfortably. Folding the back seats flat yields more than 80 cubic feet of cargo space, which is certainly enough to haul gear for the weekends. When outfitted with the tow package, the Ford Explorer can tow large loads—up to 5,000 pounds. It's a powerful vehicle, with more than 280 horsepower.

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

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Ford Explorer V8 Sensor Locations

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Diagrams showing the location of the Ford Explorer's oxygen sensors are available online, as are videos

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

Bank 1 is the side of the engine with Cylinder 1. The diagrams display the Ford V8 numbering system for O2 sensors.

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Fixing the Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is the most common cause for the check engine light to come on. Taking the time to fix the issue 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. This will tell them and you what's wrong, and you can 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 it is a relatively cheap fix that can help your car run more efficiently.