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Friday, January 21, 2011

Oxygen Sensor

All cars now have oxygen sensors, newer cars are beginning to have AFR (air-fuel ratio) sensor. The oxygen sensors were created in order to reduce pollution and increase fuel economy in a car. Oxygen sensors are the most important sensors in your car, they reduce the pollution that is emitted from your vehicle. They ultimately tell your cars computer how much fuel to use and are always working to make your car as fuel efficient as possible while emitting less pollutants. It is one of the sensors that is often overlooked and not serviced. Depending on your car you may have 2 or more oxygen sensors in your car. They are located before and after the catalytic converter.  The oxygen sensors live in  a harsh environments, overtime they accumulate carbon soot, they will become "sluggish" which takes it longer to operate, and their performance will deteriorate.
Bottom view of the oxygen sensor before the catalytic converter.
Top view of the oxygen sensor before the catalytic converter .
Oxygen sensor after the catalytic converter.

For cars after the 1990's, the oxygen sensor needs to be replaced every 100,000-150,000 miles. Having this sensor ignored can lead to big $$$ problems and your car to run poorly. The problem may not be noticed at first because it is a gradual process.  It will have less power, hesitate, run rich(meaning it will use more fuel than necessary), will emit more pollutants and spend hundreds on related problems.  Replacing the oxygen sensor is relatively easy and costly job to do, but it will return your cars engine peak performance. If you plan on keeping your car for years, this is as good investment that can save big $$$ on the future, save you gas and your car will run smooth and efficient. You can expect to spend around $50-400 depending on the number of oxygen sensors your car has. You will also need an oxygen sensor removal tool. You can find a cheap oxygen sensor removal tool online. I will walk you through these steps if you are do-it-yourself person and feel comfortable working on your car. Depending on the location of your oxygen sensor this can be a difficult or easy job. You may have to remove other parts to reach the sensor or  you can have an easy reach. To avoid any complications, ask  the attendant if the sensor already comes with wires, otherwise you will spend more time cutting wires and guessing where each wire goes. Before you begin, it is important that the engine is cold otherwise you can burn yourself. Ive been burnt myself and its not pretty.

1. Buy the proper tools at your local auto store.
2. Disconnect the negative battery terminal in order to avoid any possible electric shocks.
3. Locate you oxygen sensor and use the special tool to remove it. It may be difficult to remove  the sensor, so it does require some elbow-grease (strength). If the sensor is "stuck" turn on the engine long enough to warm the surrounding area of the oxygen sensor in order for the metal to expand and loosen the threads.
3. Re-insert the new oxygen sensor and apply anti-seizing grease on the threads. Tighten the sensor all the way, but dot use excessive force to tighten it.
4. Reconnect the wires to their original socket.
5. Connect the negative battery terminal.

Oxygen can very pricy. To get the cheapest price I would recommend Amazon.com because they can offer you the lowest price for an oxygen sensor. I received both of my oxygen sensors for 100 US dollars. If I would have gone to my local auto store I would have spent around 170 US dollars. Good luck!

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