Estimates Trouble Codes P0131

P0131: O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 1)

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What is P0131?

Diagnostic trouble code P0131 is defined as “O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage Bank 1 Sensor 1.” It indicates a low voltage signal from the front oxygen sensor, which monitors the oxygen concentration of the raw exhaust gas. 

DTC P0131 implies a fault in the heated oxygen sensor (HO2S) located near the exhaust manifold on Bank 1, before the catalytic converter (Bank 1 is the engine side with cylinder #1.)

The P0131 code is triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) or Powertrain Control Module (PCM) detects a low voltage condition or an unbalanced air-fuel ratio. 

A low voltage signal means more oxygen in the air-fuel ratio (that is, the engine is running lean.) So, the ECM or PCM compensates for the issue by adjusting the fuel trim values. But while this attempt at fuel control may seem like a fix, it can lead to performance inefficiencies.

Common symptoms

A P0131 trouble code or faulty oxygen sensor circuit may be accompanied by signs such as:

  • Poor Engine Performance: Aside from low power, the engine may also stutter or die while running due to the reduced fuel delivery. This may manifest as rough running, engine misfires, or the occasional hard starting.  
  • Increased Exhaust Emissions: A higher oxygen concentration during combustion leads to greater nitrous oxide emissions. Moreover, a bad air-fuel mixture will result in black emissions with a strong odor. 
  • Illuminated Check Engine Light: When the ECM detects a fault in the voltage signal of the heated oxygen sensor, it triggers the Check Engine Light on the vehicle’s dashboard.

Note: If another fault code is present in addition to the P0131 code, there may be different or additional symptoms.

Can I still drive?

Yes, your vehicle may still function (for a while) with a DTC P0131. However, this trouble code is a serious issue and should be addressed immediately. 

Extended driving with a low voltage signal from the oxygen sensor circuit can lead to:

  • Engine stalling
  • Engine damage
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Emission test failure
  • Catalytic converter damage

If you don’t address the issue, the problem will only worsen with time, and the repair costs will drastically increase. So, get this Check Engine Light code addressed as soon as possible.

P0131 causes

Here are the potential causes of a code P0131: 

  • Faulty O2 sensor or Mass Airflow sensor (MAF sensor) 
  • High resistance in the oxygen sensor circuit
  • Erroneous HO2S signal voltage 
  • Short or open circuit in the heated oxygen sensor output line
  • Short circuit in the ground wire of the O2 sensor harness connector
  • Damaged wiring or a loose O2 sensor connector
  • Worn out wiring harness insulation
  • Engine running lean creating the low voltage output
  • Malfunctioning engine coolant temperature sensor
  • Exhaust leak or vacuum leak
  • Low fuel pressure
  • Engine Control Module or Powertrain Control Module issues (rare)


Here are steps a mechanic would take to diagnose error code P0131:

  1. They’ll plug the OBD-II scan tool to pull the code, save the freeze frame data, and clear the code. Then take a test drive and see if the Check Engine Light is still flashing or if the code is still triggered.  
  2. The mechanic will inspect the oxygen sensor wiring and harness connector for damage or corrosion. 
  3. They’ll check the HO2S voltage and resistance with a multimeter. The sensor voltage should be under 1V, and the resistance should be within the manufacturer’s specification.

Some additional checks the mechanic may do include a review of coolant temperature sensor issues, low fuel pressure, and vacuum or exhaust leaks.

A complete diagnosis can help prevent unnecessary replacements, saving costs on your repairs. For example, engine misfires could also lead to improper O2 sensor readings, which means the O2 sensor isn’t faulty and it’s something else that needs a fix.

Possible repairs for P0131 & Costs

Here are some possible repairs related to code P0131:

  1. Repair the loose O2 connector, corroded wiring harness, and any other wiring damage. 
  2. Repair the short circuit, open circuit, or high resistance in the O2 sensor circuit.  
  3. Repair the vacuum or exhaust leak and replace the faulty engine coolant temperature sensor. 
  4. Replace the faulty or old Bank 1 Sensor 1 oxygen sensor with a new sensor. 
  5. Replace the catalytic converter if damaged.

Note: If any other codes are present with trouble code P0131, the mechanic will resolve them before this O2 sensor code to prevent a misdiagnosis.

Repair Costs:

Since this fault code can be triggered for several reasons, a mechanic will need to conduct a full diagnosis to identify the issue and potential repair costs. The diagnosis may cost between $75-$150, depending on your mechanic’s labor rate.

Here are estimates for replacing relevant parts (including the cost of labor):

  • Oxygen Sensor: $200-$300
  • Fuel Pressure Regulator: $200-$400
  • Vacuum Leak: $100-$200
  • Exhaust Repair (Welding): $100-$200
  • Fuel Pump: $1300-$1700

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