P0138 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

Code P0138 Definition

O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1, Sensor 2)

What Does P0138 Mean?

Oxygen sensor 2 is the downstream oxygen sensor in relationship to the catalytic converter. It measures the amount of air and fuel coming out of the catalytic converter to ensure the catalytic converter is functioning properly. If the voltage is high (approx. .9V) there is an excess of fuel in the mixture. If the voltage is low (approx. .1V) then there is an excess of air in the mixture. Therefore, the downstream oxygen sensor (sensor 2) should produce a steady voltage of approximately 0.45 volts. When trouble code P0138 is set, this indicates that there is a high voltage (steadily above .9 volts) for more than 10 seconds indicating a lack of oxygen in the exhaust stream and an abundance of fuel at sensor 2 on the bank 1 of the engine.

What Are the Symptoms of Code P0138?

  • Check Engine Light
  • Engine runs rich
  • Lower fuel economy
  • Rough idle
  • Strong fumes

What Is the Cause of Code P0138?

  • Faulty O2 Sensor
  • Short to battery voltage in O2 sensor signal circuit
  • Corroded wiring
  • Fuel pressure too high
  • Engine coolant temperature sensor

How Serious Is Code P0138? – Moderate  

It is okay to drive a vehicle with P0138 for a short period of time, but driving with this code for an extended period of time can damage the catalytic converter(s).

Code P0138 Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Replacing the O2 sensor without checking to see if the vehicle is running rich due to another problem.

Tools Needed to Diagnose Code P0138:

How to Diagnose and Repair Code P0138:

Difficulty of Diagnosis and Repair – (2 out of 5)

  1. Check the wiring at O2 sensor for damage; if damaged, repair or replace affected harness.
  2. Check voltage at the O2 sensor; if the voltage is steadily high (.9V or higher) the O2 sensor may be faulty. Before replacing, check the following:
    1. Verify coolant temperature is reading properly (consult vehicle manual for specification)
    2. Verify fuel pressure is within spec.
  3. If the O2 sensor is reading high voltage and the fuel pressure and coolant temperature are within spec, replace the bank 1 downstream O2 sensor.

Estimated Cost of Repair

For error code P0138, one or more of the below repairs may be needed to solve the underlying issue. For each possible repair, the estimated cost of repair includes the cost of the relevant parts and the cost of labor required to make the repair.

  • Oxygen sensor $200-$300
  • Fuel pressure regulator $200-$400
  • Engine coolant temperature sensor $150-$200

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Comments 17

Dale R Stein

September 6, 2018

I’ve replaced my o2 sensors and am still having problems. Now I know to check the entire system.

Ernest C Herzberg

October 13, 2018

I have fixed the problem thanks

Antonio

November 4, 2018

How?

Tyrone

January 17, 2019

How did you fix the problem if I may ask

Howie

April 4, 2019

What you do to fix the problem. Please share..

James Reinheimer

October 13, 2018

Had cat replaced 30 days ago,no ck engine light ever came on. Now ck engine light came on bank one sensor 2. I replaced that o2 sensor. Now light came back on.same code

Fred Bracaglia

January 10, 2019

Any update on fix .I have 2010 mazda3 and getting same code.

Christina

January 25, 2019

Check or replace the pcv valve.

alex

July 15, 2019

Fred, I have same car, year and same problem. did you fix yours?

Antonio P

November 4, 2018

The Code has constantly been coming on I’ve replace the O2 sensor four times now and had a smoke test done and checked the wiring and everything came back negative still don’t know what the problem is. Please help

Adam Young

November 27, 2018

Having same issue with my 2012 rav 4. Replaced the O2 sensor downstream, check engine light came back 1 day later. Was recommended that I replace the upstream O2 sensor because it could be causing a false reading on the 2nd O2 sensor. That may be my next step, will post update.

Steve Levy

January 21, 2019

Did you see an i.provement?

Byron Freeman

December 19, 2018

How much should this repair cost? Thanks.

Tom

February 24, 2019

I purchased an O2 isolator- casot about 5$- it screws into the O2 port then you screw the O2 sensor into it- Cleared the codes and the engine ran smoother than ever and no more codes or CEL.
I had replaced the O2 sensor but it did not change until the isolator was installed.
Amazon has them.

Doug

April 30, 2019

Tom, Feb 24, 2019/ Seems a good place to ‘start’, using the O2 isolator. They are on Amazon. Thanks for the tip.

Bernie

July 17, 2019

Can you provide the exact part I should order? Do you have an install guide i could follow? Thanks!

ken west

October 1, 2019

I have this code P0138,but the check engine light isn’t on and my jeep won’t turn over,but I can roll start it

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