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When Should the Oxygen Sensor Be Replaced?

When Should the Oxygen Sensor Be Replaced?

Oxygen sensors are small but vital components in your car. You may have visited a mechanic and been told that you need to replace this component inside your vehicle. Sensors are frequently replaced, and thankfully they are not as expensive as many other automotive component replacements. This minor repair will have a significant impact on the overall health of your vehicle.

Why Oxygen Sensors Go Bad

Typically, around the 100,000-mile mark of your vehicle, you can anticipate that it is time to replace your oxygen sensors. Unfortunately, there are some who may experience problems before this point. Because the oxygen sensor is in the exhaust system stream, it can become contaminated. A couple common causes of oxygen sensor contamination include:

  • An excessively rich fuel mixture condition or oil blow-by in an older engine.
  • Engine coolant being burned in the combustion chamber due to a gasket leak.

More commonly, over time, the sensor will become coated with a byproduct of your combustion engine. Lead, sulfur, carbon, and fuel additives are examples of byproducts.

How To Prolong the Life of Your Oxygen Sensor?

Other components of the vehicle’s exhaust system, such as the air filter and spark plugs, influence oxygen sensors. These components should be checked on a regular basis and, if necessary, replaced to ensure the health of your oxygen sensor. This is due to the possibility of more grime accumulating within your exhaust system if these are not checked and replaced. Another way to expedite the failure of your oxygen sensor is to use fuel that is not recommended for your vehicle or fuel that is of poor quality.

Maintaining routine checks on your vehicle is the best way to ensure your oxygen sensors are performing optimally.

How Do You Know Your Oxygen Sensor Is Bad?

The check engine light is the simplest way to tell if you need to replace your oxygen sensor. You can expect it to be activated right away when something is wrong. Another way to tell if your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced is if your vehicle fails the smog/emission test. This would indicate that the oxygen sensor is not working properly.

Furthermore, the oxygen sensor has the capability of indicating other issues that may be present in your vehicle. Consider it a messenger relaying critical information from your exhaust system to the main computer within your vehicle. It can trigger the check engine light due to a problem with the vehicle’s catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is the last line of defense against the toxic emissions produced by your vehicle’s exhaust system, and it works to catalyze the toxic compounds with the precious metals contained within it.

Recycling Oxygen Sensors

Did you know that oxygen sensors contain small traces of platinum? It is inevitable that the oxygen sensor in your vehicle will need to be replaced at some point during its lifetime. These scrap oxygen sensors are frequently disposed of in landfills or mixed in with scrap steel, with the precious metal platinum remaining on the sensor and never being used again. Ask your local auto mechanic shop what they do with their scrap oxygen sensors while you’re there. They are most likely unaware that they can sell these scrap oxygen sensors to us and help recover the platinum for future essential components.

References:

  1. Writer. “O2 Sensors 101: What They Are And Why They Go Bad.” O2 Sensors 101: What They Are And Why They Go Bad, Rivergatemuffler.com, 21 November. 2018, https://rivergatemuffler.com/2018/11/o2-sensors-101-what-they-are-and-why-they-go-bad/.
  1. Sensors: When To Replace Them | KnowYourParts.” Know Your Parts, Www.knowyourparts.com, 27 March. 2013, https://www.knowyourparts.com/technical-resources/electrical/sensors-and-when-to-replace-them/.

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