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Q: Warning lights on the dash are always lit up

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I keep having random lights pop up on the dash of my 2007 Toyota RAV4. Even though I just barely passed 30,000 miles in the car, the O2 sensor keeps sending out bad signals or something and makes me think something has broken. Even if I know the problem, if the check engine light is always on, I won’t know if something else has gone wrong! I replaced the sensor once and the last thing I want to do is spend the money to replace it again only to have it go bad. What can I do?

The O2 sensors on on this vehicle are a known issue, and generally speaking when the O2 sensors go bad they affect the Stability control system. There have been multiple instances of these sensors failing on Toyota’s between 60-70K miles. The general life expectancy of an average O2 sensor is around 100k miles depending on usage of the vehicle. You can reference Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) T-SB-0398-09 to help with identifying which O2 sensor is bad based off of the diagnostic code. Please also be aware that sometimes even though a system is showing as defective it may not always indicate the part is bad, just that the system the part is included in is having an issue. It could be wiring, bad fuel or a combination of these items. If you continue to have issues with the malfunction indicator light (MIL) light coming on, consider having a expert mechanic service, such as Your Mechanic, come out to diagnose and replace your oxygen sensor if needed. Additionally, if you take your vehicle to a dealership and provide your VIN, they can give you a list of recalls and TSB’s that affect your particular vehicle, one of which may also address the issue you are having.

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