Oxygen (O2) sensors play a vital role in maintaining peak engine performance. If you think your oxygen sensor is malfunctioning, there are a few factors to consider. Continuing to drive while your O2 sensor is not performing correctly can cause a 15% decrease in mileage. That can really add to your cost at the gas pump!

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What is the function of the O2 Sensor?
The O2 sensor is mounted in the exhaust manifold to monitor how much unburned oxygen is in the exhaust, as the exhaust exits the engine. Monitoring oxygen levels in the exhaust is a way of gauging the fuel mixture. It tells the computer if the fuel mixture is burning rich (less oxygen) or lean (more oxygen).

How long does an O2 Sensor typically last?
An oxygen sensor can last anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending on type and vehicle. When the O2 Sensor malfunctions your “Service Engine Soon” light will come on and a diagnostic trouble code(s) will be stored.

There may be multiple codes stored for a sensor. A fuel delivery malfunction can be the reason for an oxygen sensor to fail. A fuel injector malfunction could be the root cause for the sensor failure. Just replacing the sensor may not be a long-term solution.

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center can help!
Bring your vehicle by any of our 4 Full Service vehicle repair and tire stations around the Reno area. One of our technicians can check your engine codes to see if there are any issues and provide solutions to get you back on the road quick.

Don’t try smog your vehicle with a malfunctioning O2 Sensor
A malfunctioning O2 sensor will not pass a smog test.

Also, if your vehicle runs from a main computer and you have just replaced your O2 sensor, your computer codes have been reset. This means that now you need to drive 50 – 75 miles without turning your vehicle off, before your computer will log any new data. After the new data has been logged, then you should proceed with a smog check.

If you go to a smog check station, typically you will be charged a fee (sometimes smaller fee than a regular smog check fee) even if your vehicle does not pass the smog test.

So, save yourself the hassle and get your vehicle looked at if you suspect your O2 sensor is not functioning properly. Visit SierraCarCare.com for locations and more information.

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