The advent of the 80's has seen the introduction of another important automobile innovation - the oxygen sensor. This gadget forms part of a vehicle's emissions control system and is also responsible for feeding data to the engine management computer. It does this by checking the exhaust hundreds of times per minute. In a nutshell, the car oxygen sensor helps maintain optimum engine performance and lower a vehicle's smoke emissions.
The oxygen sensor is strategically located in the exhaust pipe. As such, it can easily detect the presence of rich and lean mixtures. Most O2 sensors also contain a mechanism that produces a chemical reaction that generates voltage. Knowing the amount of voltage present is critical to determine whether the mixture is rich or lean. The engine's computer then makes the necessary adjustment to the volume of fuel going to the engine.
Among the types of oxygen sensors currently available are the single wire oxygen sensor and the heated oxygen sensor. The latter has a built-in heating ingredient designed to maintain an engine's ideal operating temperature. Four factors should also be considered to extend the longevity of the oxygen sensor: good electrical connections, outside air supply, proper operating temperature and the use of unleaded gasolines.
Engines rely on the oxygen sensor as the amount of oxygen it can pull depends on various factors like altitude, engine temperature, air temperature, engine load, barometric pressure among others. A malfunctioning car oxygen sensor prevents the engine computer from reading the correct air/fuel ratio. When this happens, a vehicle tends to perform poorly and ends up wasting more fuel.
Oxygen Sensor Buyer's Guide
- Oxygen sensors work by monitoring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust pipe. An oxygen sensor sends a signal to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to adjust the amount of fuel injected in the combustion chambers.
- The three most common types of oxygen sensors are: Zirconia 02 Sensors, Titania 02 Sensors, and Wide Band 02 Sensors
- Faulty oxygen sensor signs: rotten egg smell from exhaust pipes, irregular engine idling, and poor gas mileage.
- It is important to have a faulty oxygen sensor replaced because not only does it cause harm to the environment, but it’s also vital to your vehicle’s overall performance
Car pollutants cause long-term damage to the environment. However, car owners can reduce the amount of harmful substances emitted by their car’s exhaust system with the help of an oxygen sensor. Apart from helping the environment, oxygen sensors also play a role in keeping your car engine’s health at its best.
What is an oxygen sensor and how does it work?
The wrong mixture of oxygen and gasoline can do more damage to the environment than it already does. Oxygen sensors work by monitoring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust pipe. Too much or too little oxygen is not good for the engine’s health. The oxygen sensor helps create a balance by sending a signal to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to adjust the amount of fuel injected into the combustion chambers.
Oxygen sensors can either be installed in the front or rear of the car. A front oxygen sensor is installed at the front exhaust pipe near the catalytic converter or at the exhaust manifold. It is responsible for keeping the air-fuel ratio at an ideal level. In some cars, an air-fuel ratio sensor is sometimes used instead of a front oxygen sensor.
A rear oxygen sensor is mounted right after the catalytic converter. It is usually mounted in the exhaust itself. The rear oxygen sensor is usually used to monitor the performance of the catalytic converters.
Volvo was the first to use oxygen sensors in the1970s. The first oxygen sensors were made from Zirconia, with only one or two wires on it. Older vehicles were only equipped with one oxygen sensor.
Over the years, the demand for oxygen sensors has changed. Today’s vehicles can have up to eight oxygen sensors, depending on capacity. Cars with 4-cylinder engines usually have two oxygen sensors installed, while other vehicles with V6 and V8 must have at least four oxygen sensors installed.
What are the types of oxygen sensors?
There plenty of oxygen sensors available today. These can be classified into three: Zirconia O2 Sensors, Titania O2 Sensors, and Wide Band O2 Sensors.
Zirconia Oxygen Sensors
Zirconia oxygen sensors are the most common type of O2 sensors. This type of oxygen sensor can further be classified into unheated and heated zirconia oxygen sensors.
Unheated oxygen sensors rely on heat to send signals to the ECU. One drawback is that it takes a lot of time for the exhaust to heat up and the signal may not be sent the signal at the right time. This may confuse the ECU, causing it to go back to its default setting and releasing the wrong amount of fuel to the combustion chambers.
Heated oxygen sensors are more advanced because it has a heater circuit installed. This automatically heats up the sensor when starting the car, making it more efficient than unheated oxygen sensors. It decreases the possibility of error by sending timely, accurate signals to the ECU.
Titania Oxygen Sensors
What makes this type unique is that it is made of a ceramic material rather than the usual zirconia. It also uses a different process in sending signals to the ECU. Titania oxygen sensors are usually found in limited edition vehicles only.
Wide-Band Oxygen Sensors
This is a new type of oxygen sensor which is not yet widely used. This type of sensor creates a higher level of voltage than a zirconia oxygen sensor, making it more efficient in balancing the air-fuel ratio in the engine’s exhaust pipes.
What are the things to consider in buying an oxygen sensor?
An OEM replacement oxygen sensor is usually priced at $20 to $100. Take note that price will really depend on the model and make of your car. Some are priced more than the estimates. Aftermarket oxygen sensors are also available.
An oxygen sensor is usually sold individually. They come in 1-wire, 2-wire, 3-wire and 4-wire variants.
When is the right time to replace an oxygen sensor?
It is important to have a faulty oxygen sensor replaced because not only does it cause harm to the environment, it is also vital to your vehicle’s overall performance.
A car’s engine should be checked as soon as the “check engine light” illuminates. If you notice an unusual smell, similar to rotten eggs, coming from your engine’s exhaust; it is time to contact your trusted mechanic. There is a high probability that something is wrong with your engine’s oxygen sensor. Other signs to look out for are irregular engine idling and poor gas mileage.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Oxygen Sensor
Want to install efficient oxygen sensor in your car? Then find quality replacement oxygen sensors. Get also an Oxygen Sensor tool or oxygen sensor bung.
Leaving out your oxygen sensors is like a throwback to the primitive stages of coal and the toil of manual labor. The oxygen sensor is a very important component of every modern car as it performs a very crucial job. Without it, your car will turn into one nasty, stinking smog machine.
Now that is not an exaggeration because as the name implies, the oxygen sensor is a tool that detects the amount of oxygen in the mixture of exhaust that has just passed through the catalytic converter. This is a very critical task because by determining the oxygen content, a special engine management computer can then determine the balance between your car's gas and exhaust.
ch fuel in your car's internal combustion system causes pollution because the combustion system can't burn all of it. It turns into harmful black air pollution when it comes out to your car exhaust. On the other hand, too much gas can cause compromises the engine performance until it eventually fails. The oxygen sensor tool looks like a spark plug and it is easy to install, especially when you use an oxygen sensor bung with it. If you want to find out more about oxygen sensors, just read on here in our website.
Oxygen Sensor: Just the Facts
Extending the use of a faulty oxygen sensor is one thing you should never do. Doing so can lead to many other serious problems-your gas mileage will suffer, the catalytic converter will be damaged prematurely, and finally, your vehicle's performance significantly deteriorates. For you to avoid all those, it' s important that your vehicle's oxygen sensor is in tiptop shape. The oxygen sensor works by detecting the air-fuel ratio in the engine's exhaust gases. The sensor sends the information to your vehicle's engine control module (ECM), which in turn adjusts the engine's fuel intake according to the sensor's readings. So when the sensor fails and sends the ECM false signals, the engine isn't fed a mixture with the correct air-fuel ratio. This causes the engine to run less effectively and, sometimes, consume more fuel. So if you don't want the hassle, replace the oxygen sensor whenever necessary. And to get the best replacement at a much cheaper price, shop only here at CarParts.com!
• Detects the air-fuel ratio in the exhaust stream
• Helps reduce harmful exhaust emissions
• Comes with instructions for easy part installation