Virtually every car produced since the early 1980s contains a sensor that regulates oxygen flow to your engine. The oxygen sensor works by sending information to your vehicle’s engine management system to help your car fun efficiently as well as to reduce noxious emissions. When an oxygen sensor fails your vehicle will run less effectively and devour more fuel. Thus, when oxygen sensor failure has been determined the sensor must then be replaced, a costly proposition if you rely on a garage to do the work for you. However, replacing an oxygen sensor is a task that you can do yourself, thereby saving you precious time and money. Let’s take a closer look at just what an oxygen sensor does and the steps you can take to do the work yourself.
As a backgrounder, your oxygen sensor works like this: placed inside of your exhaust pipe, the oxygen sensor detects the ratio of air and gasoline your engine is fed. If the mixture is too rich or too lean than the oxygen sensor adjusts the amount of fuel entering your engine accordingly. The wrong mix of gasoline and oxygen can increase pollutants that exit your vehicle – thereby harming the environment — as well as potentially causing your catalytic converter to fail or even damage your engine. So, a properly working oxygen sensor is a must for any vehicle.
There are some clear signs that your oxygen sensor is no longer functioning. They can include:
–A rotten egg odor emitting from the exhaust.
–A reduction in fuel economy.
–Your catalytic converter fails unexpectedly.
–Exhaust emissions reach undesirable levels.
–Your engine surges or hesitates.
You can diagnose the problem yourself if you have access to the right tools including a digital voltmeter, an oxygen sensor socket, and a propane enrichment device. These specific tools, along with a proper Haynes or Chilton manual by your side, should be all that you need to determine if the oxygen sensor is no longer working. If it has failed, than consider ordering your replacement part online through a reliable wholesaler such as the Oxygen Sense shop to obtain a high quality OEM part at discounted prices. Once your part has arrived than all you will need is one or two automotive wrenches to accomplish the job. Again, reference your car’s manual for exact instructions.
With the abundance of sensors and technical gadgetry on today’s vehicles it can seem fairly intimidating to do the work yourself. Fortunately, an oxygen sensor is one of the easier parts to replace, so if you do the work yourself you will save time and money as well as gain an important sense of achievement. Go ahead you weekend mechanic, you can do it!