Tips for Installing Oxygen Sensors

Installing oxygen sensors is not much more difficult than replacing sparkplugs. An oxygen sensor is a crucial component of your car's emissions system and can rob you of performance and fuel efficiency when they become worn. You'll need to consider replacing them at about 60,000 miles, or if your car has emissions of performance issues.

Oxygen Sensor Replacement Tips

  • Get bookish. Make sure to consult a service manual for your vehicle before attempting to replace an oxygen sensor. The location of oxygen sensors varies greatly by model, year and engine configuration. A service manual will help this repair go quickly and smoothly.
  • Factory finish. When ordering an oxygen sensor, make sure to get one that has the specific electrical connections for your car. "Universal-fit" parts can require cutting and crimping wires-these can be frustrating tasks in the tight quarters where oxygen sensors lurk.
  • Down below. Typically, you'll need to work underneath the car to replace an oxygen sensor. Make sure to use jack stands rated for your vehicle and to chock any wheels left on the ground.
  • Safety first. Use caution when working around the exhaust system, some parts remain hot for extended periods. Also, be sure to wear protective eyewear, as exhaust parts tend to send metal flakes flying on contact.
  • Make life easy. A shot of penetrating lubricant will take the sting out of removing the old oxygen sensor. The good news? New oxygen sensors come pre-coated with an anti-seizing compound to make future removal easier.
  • A wrenching decision. Although most oxygen sensors can be removed and installed using a standard flared or box-end wrench, some units require a special socket with a slit designed to accommodate a unique wiring mount. Your service manual can tell you if this special tool is required.
  • Easy does it. Like a sparkplug, there's no need to over-tighten an oxygen sensor. A quarter or half turn beyond hand tightening is usually sufficient.
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Read articles about oxygen sensor, signs of a bad oxygen sensor, oxygen sensor location, replace an oxygen sensor and installing oxygen sensors.

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