How Long Does an Oxygen Sensor Last?

Today’s automotive exhaust systems are much more complex than they once were. They must be in order to comply with much stricter environmental controls and the requirement to create less pollution. Your car’s exhaust includes many different components that must work in hand in hand to reduce emissions and enhance fuel economy. One of those is the oxygen sensor.

Depending on the make and model you drive, you could have one, two or even more oxygen sensors located throughout the exhaust system. This sensor does pretty much what the name implies – it measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust and sends this information to the car’s computer. The computer then determines if the engine is running too rich (too much gas) or too lean (too much air) and adjusts to compensate.

Your oxygen sensor (or sensors) fit into the exhaust pipe. The most common location is just ahead of the catalytic converter, but some also have a sensor in the exhaust manifold on the engine itself. No matter where it is located, the sensor is exposed to immensely high temperatures any time the engine is running (and the sensor operates as long as the engine’s running, even if you’re just parked and idling).

In addition to high heat, the sensor can be affected by other things, including contaminants in the exhaust, excessive amounts of unburned fuel in the system and more. Generally speaking, your oxygen sensor should last somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. However, if your engine is properly maintained, the sensor(s) may last much longer, up to the life of the vehicle. On the other hand, if the engine is not properly maintained, the sensor could fail well before that point and the sensor will have to be replaced.

If the sensor fails, you’ll experience a number of problems, ranging from rough engine operation to not passing your emissions test. Given the importance of this sensor, it’s vital that you know a few of the common signs to watch for that indicate it is either failing or has already failed. These include:

  • The Check Engine Light is on
  • The engine idles rough, or sputters when letting off the gas pedal
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Loss of power from the engine
  • Sluggish engine operation

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s important to have your car inspected and the oxygen sensor (or sensors) replaced if necessary.


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Recent Oxygen Sensor Replacement reviews

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1,451
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Jose

12 years of experience
49 reviews
Jose
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 V8-4.8L - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Front/Upper/Upstream, Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Moreno Valley, California
very knowledgeable and honest , professional and clean explain everything to me and answer all m,y question
Scion tC - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Sun City, California
Arrived in a timely manner, was very professional and knowledgeable about any questions. Would definitely recommend to anybody (family, friends, etc) looking for a mechanic!

Joel

11 years of experience
146 reviews
Joel
11 years of experience
Honda CR-V L4-2.4L - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Front/Upper/Upstream, Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Frisco, Texas
I have not seen a more sincere and hard working person than Joel. This, on top of his great skills and know-how of working with an automobile and a very friendly, likeable personality. Unfortunately, it took multiple attempts to fix the Check Engine light on my vehicle. The car needed O2 sensor replacement but due to a couple of reasons the problem was not getting fixed. So Joel would come, run the tests, fix the problem, do the test drive, and leave thinking the problem has been resolved only to find out from me later that the Check Engine light is back on. However, Joel followed up patiently with me over the course of couple of months to ensure that the problem was fully resolved, even if it took him a couple of visits. Well, he has my business from now on and full trust for my cars! Thank you, Joel!
Ford Expedition - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Front/Upper/Upstream, Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Denton, Texas
Joel showed up right on time. Replaced O2 sensors on my Ford Expedition. Ran a diagnostic as well & verified fuel trims etc. Was in and out within an hour. Ensured my driveway was clean when he left and did not leave any mess. I was very pleased with his professionalism. Definitely recommend Joel for auto repair.

James

30 years of experience
873 reviews
James
30 years of experience
Toyota Camry V6-3.5L - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Orlando, Florida
Mr. James dis an awesome job on my 2007 toyota camry. He was punctual and professional. He fixed the problem very quick.
Toyota Avalon - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Front/Upper/Upstream, Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Apopka, Florida
VERY WELL EDCUATED AND VERY SMOOOTH- I KNOW WHO TO CALL WHEN I NEED A SPARE HAND! LOL! AWESOME PERSON AND THANK YOU FOR SERVICES!

Shane

17 years of experience
217 reviews
Shane
17 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Front/Upper/Upstream) - Cedar Park, Texas
Shane is great. I will be calling on him soon on other vehicles I own. Thank you Shane for a great job.

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