Staying on top of regular car maintenance can save you a lot of hassle and money down the road. Even with diligent maintenance, however, there are still some common car problems that can arise. One of the most common car parts that need to be replaced is the oxygen sensor. By having a better idea of what your car's oxygen sensor does and how to know when it needs replacement, you can better maintain your car and keep it running for many more miles to come.
What Is an Oxygen Sensor?
A car's oxygen sensor is a small but important part; its job is to monitor the oxygen that comes in and out of the car's catalytic converter and determine how much oxygen is present. Ultimately, this information can be used to measure the mixture of fuel and determine whether the fuel has the right levels of oxygen to run the engine smoothly.
Most cars have two oxygen sensors installed: one that measures oxygen going into the catalytic converter and one that measures oxygen coming out. It is unlikely that both sensors will fail at the same time. However, if one fails, it's generally a good idea to have them both replaced at once.
Signs an Oxygen Sensor Needs Replacing
How can you determine whether your car's oxygen sensor needs to be replaced? There are a few "warning signs" to watch for. One of the most common signs of a failing oxygen sensor is a sudden drop in fuel efficiency. Sometimes, this will be accompanied by rough idling or strange noises coming from the engine--especially when you're stopped at a red light or stop sign. In some cases, a bad oxygen sensor might even cause your spark plugs to misfire, which can lead to jerky acceleration and stalling. If you live in a state that requires vehicle emissions testing, a failing score here can also indicate a bad oxygen sensor.
What to Expect
If your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced, you can generally expect to spend between $20 to $100, depending on labor costs and your car's exact make and model. The good news is that replacing this part is usually pretty quick, so you shouldn't be without your vehicle for too long. And of course, finding an experienced and reputable auto repair shop to handle the replacement can give you the peace of mind in knowing the repair is done correctly.
For more information, contact auto repair services.