Is your vehicle's check engine light on? Then you better get your hands on a diagnostic scanner or reader to figure out the problem. If the scanner has confirmed that an oxygen sensor is in need of replacing, you need to get a new one immediately. Keep in mind that driving with a faulty sensor can lead to a variety of engine and emission problems such as a failed emissions test and a drop in engine performance and fuel mileage. So before a bad sensor creates more trouble, replace it as soon as you can. Here's what you need to do:
- Jack stands
- Electrical tape (heat shrink type)
- Butt connectors
- Sensor removal socket and wrench
- Penetration oil or lubricant
- Screwdriver (flat blade)
- Diagnostic scanner
- Crimping tool
- Wire stripper
Step 1: Locate the oxygen sensor.
This sensor is usually located on your vehicle's exhaust pipe. If you see something attached to the pipe that looks like a spark plug, then you've found the sensor. You can also consult your car manual since the sensor's exact location depends on your vehicle's make and model.
Step 2: Disconnect the sensor's electrical wires.
Use screwdriver to pry the tabs that connect the sensor to your car's electrical system. Be careful not to nick nearby components.
Step 3: Remove the old oxygen sensor.
Get your hands on a wrench or a sensor removing socket to unscrew this component from the exhaust pipe. Most sensor types can be removed with an SAE 7/8-inch wrench, although it's best to consult your car's manual on what type of tool is best used.
Step 4: Check the new sensor if it has a built-in electrical connection.
If it comes with its own electrical connection, then you just have to reconnect it to your car's electrical system. However, if the new sensor is not equipped with its own electrical connector, you can reuse the old sensor's connector. You just need to cut out the connector from the old sensor, strip the wires, and attach it to the new sensor with butt connectors. To completely seal the connections, tape the wires up with strips of heat-sensitive shrink tape. Then take note of the manufacturer's instructions to know which wires should be tied together.
Step 5: Install the new oxygen sensor.
Screw the new sensor in place by using a wrench. Twist it counterclockwise to lock it in place. Make sure not to overtighten the sensor to prevent damaging the threads. Then plug the new or reused electrical connectors into your car's system.
Step 6: Clear the diagnostic code from your vehicle's ECU (engine control unit).
Once you've installed the new oxygen sensor, switch on the ignition so you could clear the code from the vehicle's ECU by using the diagnostic reader or scanner. After clearing the code, the check engine light will automatically switch off. Take your car for a test drive; you should be able to experience immediate improvements in your car's overall engine and emission performance.