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How To Replace Your Oxygen Sensor

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Does Your Oxygen Sensor Need Replacement?
An illuminated CEL may mean repairs are needed.

The repair bill classic, the Check Engine Light

photo CC Licensed by Dinomite
Is your Check Engine Light haunting you from the dash like a tiny, orange, burning ember? If it is, there's a fairly good chance that a bad O2 sensor is causing the problem. These sensors go bad all the time. Some experts say that new fuels with higher ethanol content are causing parts of our cars, including the O2 sensors, to go bad prematurely. Whether this is the case or not, if your CEL (Check Engine Light) is on you won't be on the road much longer thanks to most states' inspection programs.

Of course before you go replacing an O2 sensor you'll want to be sure that's the problem. Even the parts are expensive, not to mention the labor if you're paying a shop to do the work for you. A Check Engine Light can mean a lot of things, and even though the oxygen sensor is often the culprit, there are hundreds of other possibilities.

How do you know if your car or truck needs a new O2 sensor?
The answer to this question is simple. Your Check Engine Light is on because the computer is "throwing a code." In tech speak this means that the computer has detected a malfunctioning system, and has produced an error message which caused the Check Engine Light to come on. With a code reader, you can read this error, called an OBD Code, and determine if the O2 sensor is the culprit. If you don't have a code reader, there's a free and easy way to retrieve that error message. Learn how.

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