P0053 Code: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes (& How to Fix It)

The engine consists of multiple parts and sensors. Whenever any of these sensors go bad, the engine sends a signal to the powertrain control module (PCM). Whenever the PCM notices any fault, it triggers a code. The DTC P0053 indicates an issue with your Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S). This article explains the meaning, symptoms, and causes of the P0053 code.

P0053 Code Definition

The P0053 code stands for “Heated oxygen Sensor (HO2S) Heater Resistance (Bank 1, Sensor 1).”

What does the P0053 Code Mean?

The P0053 code indicates that the powertrain control module (PCM) detects an issue with your pre-catalytic or upstream oxygen sensor heater circuit. 

P0053 code

In the definition of P0053, Bank 1 indicates the side of the engine that contains the cylinder number. 1 and “sensor 1” indicates the upstream oxygen sensor.

The oxygen (O2) sensors usually have a heating element to preheat the sensor during cold start situations. This heating element speed up the process of bringing the O2 sensor up to working temperature. In addition to the HO2S signal circuit, the HO2S has its own heater circuit.

When the temperature of your engine coolant falls below a certain temperature range, the powertrain control module (PCM) turns on the O2 sensor heater. Your PCM will continue to supply voltage to the heating element until it reaches closed-loop (automatic) operation.

When the engine warms up to a specific operating temperature, the PCM cuts power to the oxygen sensor heater circuit.

When the PCM determines that the resistance of the upstream O2 sensor heater circuit is outside of a certain range, a P0053 code will be stored. When this happens, the check engine light starts illuminating.

Causes of the P0053 Code

  1. Bad upstream oxygen sensor
  2. Bad MAF sensor
  3. Faulty catalytic converter
  4. Blown HO2 sensor fuse 
  5. The damaged or disconnected electrical connector at the O2 sensor
  6. Damaged wiring in the oxygen sensor heater circuit
  7. Low or excessive fuel pressure
  8. Excessive vacuum leak
  9. Faulty engine control relay
  10. Excessive exhaust leaks
  11. Bad PCM
  12. The fault in the vacuum hose

Read More: Exhaust Leak Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms of the P0053 Code

The symptoms of the DTC P0053 are:

  1. Poor engine performance
  2. Illuminated Check Engine Light
  3. Carbon deposits affect spark plug
  4. Black smoke from the tailpipe due to a rich cold start situation
  5. Engine stalling and unable to start
  6. Poor fuel economy
  7. Due to a lean cold start condition, you may face starting issues
  8. Irregular idling
  9. Oil dilution caused by extended overload

Read More: Symptoms and Causes of P0054 Code

Common P0053 Code Diagnosis Mistakes

  • Replacing the HO2S without inspecting other parts
  • Not cleaning the mass air flow sensor.
  • Replacing the Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S) without properly inspecting the air intake system for leaks.
  • No inspection of the fuel pressure regulator.
  • Improper diagnosis of the PCM.
  • Improper testing of the O2 sensor.
  • Insufficient inspection of the MAF sensor.

 How to diagnose the P0053 Code?

  1. Use an OBD-II scanner to find the code.
  2. Record all stored fault codes, along with all available freeze frame data. This information could be very helpful if an intermittent fault is diagnosed later on.
  3. Visually inspect the wirings connected to the bad sensor. Use the manufacturer’s manual to find the location, color-coding, function, and routing of all wires in the circuit, and check for broken, damaged, burnt, or shorted connectors and wiring.
  4. Examine the resistance across the wires of the HO2S, which should be about 8 ohms with a range of 7-9 ohms
  5. If the resistance is under the acceptable range, then the issue may be in your wirings. Properly inspect the damaged wirings or bad connectors caused by the proximity of the exhaust system.
  6. If the resistance is not within the acceptable range, it means that your sensor is bad, and you need to replace it.

What repairs can fix the P0053 Code?

  • Replace the Heated Oxygen Sensor
  • Replace or repair the damaged catalytic converter
  • Replace the damaged MAF sensor
  • Check for leaks in the vacuum system.
  • Repair or replace the blown fuse
  • Replace or repair the damaged wiring
  • Check and adjust the fuel pressure if needed
  • Repair or replace the connectors and the throttle control switch.
  • Clean the MAF sensor
  • Reprogram or replace the PCM
  • Fix the exhaust and vacuum leaks
  • Fix the fault in the vacuum hose

 P0053 Code Repair Cost

The repair or fixing cost of the P0053 code varies according to the vehicle model, labor cost, and the cause of the problem. To fix or repair the P0053 code, you may need one or more of the following repairs:

PCM replacement$1100 to $1300
Exhaust Leak repair$80 to $820
MAF sensor replacement$90 to $400
Oxygen Sensor replacement$150 to $510

FAQ Section

What is the heater resistance bank 1 sensor 1?

The code P0053 is set when the PCM detects a problem with the heater circuit of the upstream oxygen sensor in engine bank 1.

Bank 1 indicates the side of the engine that contains the cylinder number. 1 and “sensor 1” indicates the upstream oxygen sensor.

How serious is the P0053 code?

The P0053 code is a serious code. This code may trigger due to multiple reasons, but your car may operate normally. This code tends to confuse the PCM, leading to poor engine performance and fuel economy issues. If you do not fix this code on time, it may lead to drivability issues and damage to your engine.

What does a heated O2 sensor do?

The heated oxygen sensor contains an internal heater circuit that brings the sensor up to working temperature more quickly than an unheated sensor.

What is a bank 1 O2 sensor?

The bank 1 O2 sensor calculates the O2 content in the exhaust and delivers this information to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The PCM uses this information to determine how to adjust the air/fuel ratio.

How many miles do you have to drive to reset the oxygen sensor?

To rest your oxygen sensor, you should generally drive from 55 to 110 miles after clearing your vehicle’s computer. This will get rid of the check engine light once and for all.

Can I drive with a P0053 code?

Yes, you can drive your vehicle with the P0053 code. But it is recommended to fix this issue as soon as possible because it may lead to different engine issues such as poor engine performance and poor fuel economy.

Read More
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  2. P1148 Code Symptoms and Causes
  3. Bad MAF Sensor Symptoms and Causes
  4. P0017 Code Symptoms and Causes
  5. P0016 Code Symptoms and Causes

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