Lambda sensors, or oxygen sensors, are responsible for determining the optimal air-fuel ratio and ensure complete fuel combustion. They help to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
What are the types of lambda sensors?
Zirconia dioxide sensors.
Wideband zirconia dioxide sensors.
They can be also heated and unheated. The first ones feature a longer lifespan, a quicker start and they also do the calculations faster.
What are the symptoms of bad lambda sensors?
Poor fuel economy. If your lambda sensor is failed, the air-fuel ratio is incorrect, so the mixture might be rich. That means your car will consume more fuel than it is necessary. Replacing a faulty device can reduce fuel consumption by nearly 40%.
Rough idle. It is an early sign that your sensor is going to fail soon. While standing at a stop sign or traffic lights, you might get the impression that your vehicle is eager to surge ahead or, vice versa, there might be a delay after the accelerator pedal has been applied.
Light indicator on the dashboard goes off. When your sensor fails, you might see a corresponding warning light on the dashboard. If the OBD tests are likely to display either P0134 or P0131 error codes.
A rotten egg smell. If the air-fuel mixture is lean, oxygen may remain in the catalytic converter when you switch off the engine. There, in the catalytic converter, oxygen goes into the reaction with exhaust gases. When the engine starts again after a while, bad smell of a rotten egg may appear.
Catalytic converter failure. If the air-fuel mixture is too rich, the temperature in the exhaust system rises. The ceramic monolith when exposed to extreme heat starts melting thus obstructing the passage. In case of severe damage, the engine power may fall dramatically.
Exhaust emission increase. Bad sensors can not ensure the reduction of exhaust emissions. Which means your car is going to the fail emission tests.
What causes lambda sensor malfunctions?
Exposure to vibration, extremely high temperatures or damage.
Various kinds of contamination: fuel, anti-freeze, engine additive, oil or lead.
Whether you’re experiencing the problems listed above or not, it is necessary to replace your lambda sensors (modern cars usually have two of them) once in 161 000 km. There are a lot of trusted companies which have lambda sensors in their product ranges: Bosch, Denso, NGK, BluePrint, Febi Bilstein, Hella, etc.
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