Keep Your Car Prepared

Simple Car Tips: How To Check And Replace Your Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is a vital part of your vehicle. It is responsible for several functions involved with the operation of your vehicle, including calculating the mixture of air and fuel. But what happens when it goes awry and needs replacement? The following guide will help you diagnose and fix a faulty oxygen sensor.

Signs of a Bad Oxygen Sensor

The following signs will help you find out if you have a bad oxygen sensor:

  • As mentioned earlier, this little sensor helps your car take in the right amount of fuel and air. So a faulty sensor may cause your car to take in too much fuel at a time.
  • You might experience engine pings due to a faulty oxygen sensor. This happens when your oxygen sensor is in-line with your ignition system. The sensor will feed too much or not enough air into your system, causing the combustion gases to ignite at the wrong time. This improper timing is what causes your engine to ping.
  • As you can imagine, your engine will run roughly if the timing, combustion, and air to fuel mixture is off.

Remember that you may be working with the fuel lines, so make sure you are comfortable with the following steps. As always, you can have the issue resolved with your auto care specialist.

Replacing Your Faulty Oxygen Sensor

Replacing the oxygen sensor or O2 sensor will require the following:

  • Clean rags
  • An adjustable wrench or a set of crescent wrenches
  • Blocks of wood or any other sturdy object to keep your tires from moving
  • Flashlight
  • A good car jack
  • Jack stands to support your vehicle
  • Your identical but new oxygen sensor
  • Working gloves

To replace your oxygen sensor, just follow the steps below:

  1. Park your car on a level street, and put your brakes on. Be sure to let your car cool down completely before you start working on it.
  2. Place the wooden or sturdy blocks behind your tires.
  3. Raise your vehicle using your jack; then lower it slowly onto the jack stands. Do the first side; then you can jack up the second side. Be sure to use the designated areas where you can jack up your vehicle. Refer to your owner's manual to locate these reinforced spots under your car.
  4. Use your manual to locate the sensor. Remember that your car may have two sensors. The sensor is usually located between the motor and the exhaust. The second sensor may be on the other side of the exhaust by the catalytic converter. 
  5. Carefully disconnect the wire from the sensor. Use your wrench to dislodge the sensor.
  6. Clean the surrounding area using your rag.
  7. Replace the sensor with your new sensor.
  8. Use your wrench to tighten your new sensor, and reconnect the wire.

That is how easy it is to replace your oxygen sensor. Consider taking your car to your auto care specialist (such as those from Automotive Specialties) should this procedure fail to solve your vehicle's problems. You could have problems with your throttle system or your injectors (to name a few), which may need a closer look.