Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

P0030 Code — What it means, how to fix

Learn what a P0030 code means, the most likely causes, and how to diagnose and fix the problem

A P0030 code is defined as an HO2S Heater Control Circuit (Bank 1 Sensor 1). This is a generic code, as opposed to a manufacturer-specific code, and it pertains to the heater circuit for the upstream oxygen sensor. The upstream oxygen sensor is located before the catalytic converter and is used to monitor oxygen in the exhaust stream, as opposed to the downstream oxygen sensor which monitors catalytic converter efficiency.

Why the oxygen sensor heater is so important

An oxygen sensor can’t properly report oxygen content in the exhaust stream until it reaches an operating temperature of around 700°F. Early oxygen sensors didn’t have a heater and relied on the exhaust gas temperature to heat the sensor. That worked in warm weather, but not in cold weather. So carmakers added a heater to keep the sensor at operating temperature in all weather conditions.

Oxygen sensor in manifold

Upstream oxygen sensor in the exhaust stream

Typical Heated oxygen sensor circuit

The oxygen sensor heater receives power from either the PCM or from a fuse. The PCM monitors the voltage drop on the heater circuit to determine if the heater is operating properly. For example, in a properly operating heater circuit that’s drawing power, the PCM expects to see almost a complete voltage drop to prove that the heater is consuming power. If the PCM instead sees full voltage, it’ll set a P0030 code to indicate a possible problem between the PCM and the oxygen sensor, a bad heater, a problem in the electrical connector to the sensor, or a fault in the ground return.

How to diagnose the code

DIYers make a common mistake of replacing whichever part is listed in the trouble code without performing any diagnostics. A P0030 code is easy to diagnose. All you need is a DVOM meter

Disconnect the electrical connector to the upstream oxygen sensor.
With the key in the RUN position, test for power coming into the oxygen sensor heater
Test for good ground for the oxygen sensor heater.
If both are good, the sensor is bad.
If you don’t find power or ground, the problem is in the wiring harness, connector, or at the PCM power supply


Heated oxygen sensor circuit

How to test for a P0030 code

What are the most common causes of a P0030 code

Failed heater in the oxygen sensor — Replace the oxygen sensor
Fault in the power supply to the oxygen sensor heater — Check the fuse and wiring providing the power
Fault in the ground circuit of the oxygen sensor heater — Check the connector and ground
Corrosion in the electrical connector that’s causing the PCM to get the wrong voltage drop reading on the heater circuit. Remove corrosion and retest


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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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