Lambda sensors play a very special role in many cars. They are responsible for creating a correct air-fuel mixture, which is necessary for the ignition of the vehicle and thus for its operation. Damage to the lambda sensor is usually very quickly and clearly noticeable. We will show you how to recognise damage and defects in the lambda sensor, how to replace the lambda sensor and what you should always pay attention to when replacing it.
The lambda sensor and its function in detail
A lambda sensor is installed in the exhaust system of the engine and is exposed to both heat and moisture.
The lambda sensor fulfils an important function. It controls the composition of the air-fuel mixture for the engine and thus ensures its smooth functioning.
If the lambda sensor becomes defective, it can no longer fulfil its task. The entire engine system is thrown out of balance. If the damage is not repaired, the engine system may be damaged in the long run. For this reason, you should take measures in the event of a defective lambda sensor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of a defective lambda sensor
There are some symptoms and indications that show a defect in the lambda sensor. It is important to know that some of these symptoms may also occur with other types of damage. Therefore, you should look for a combination of the individual symptoms or check not only the lambda sensor but also the other possible sources of the fault, to be on the safe side.
The symptoms include:
– The vehicle accelerates significantly worse than usual.
– The vehicle jerks when you accelerate.
– The performance of the vehicle decreases above a certain speed.
– When idling or driving, you may notice a considerable increase in exhaust emissions.
– The vehicle’s engine jumps into emergency mode under load.
– The fuel consumption of your vehicle has increased significantly.
– The exhaust emission values of your vehicle are beyond normal.
– The check engine light on your dashboard lights up.
If only one of these symptoms occurs, this may be attributed to chance at first. However, if the symptom remains permanently present or is accompanied by other signs, there are many indications of a defective lambda sensor in your vehicle.
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Defective lambda sensor should be repaired as soon as possible
If the lambda sensor is defective, you should repair the damage or have it repaired as soon as possible. Because of the incorrectly composed air-fuel mixture, your vehicle will no longer show its full potential.
Furthermore, damage to the engine may occur in the long term, which will also require expensive repairs.
All in all, the replacement of the lambda sensor does not involve much effort, so there are no arguments against a quick and prompt change. However, remember that the new lambda sensor is quite sensitive. So do not unpack it until the old sensor has already been removed. This way you can avoid unintentional damage.
Workshop or do it yourself: Which is better?
- Basically, removing and replacing a lambda sensor does not require a great deal of effort.
- However, this may vary from vehicle to vehicle and from type to type. A specialist workshop can often carry out the replacement in a very short time.
- But if you like to work on your vehicle yourself and have the necessary tools at hand, there is no reason not to carry out the replacement yourself. Technically speaking, the replacement is not associated with any difficulties.
- Still, rust may form very quickly on the lambda sensor due to its position. The older the vehicle and the longer the sensor has been in service, the more likely it is that problems will arise during removal. A little patience and effort are important in such a case.
Is lambda sensor a wearing part?
Actually, lambda sensors are not wearing parts, because there is nothing to wear out on them.
However, the sensors are installed in the vehicle’s exhaust system and are exposed to both constant moisture and high heat. Therefore, damage to the lambda sensor is not that rare. Still, there are no guidelines as to when the lambda sensor should be replaced. Lambda sensors are those components that should only be replaced if defective.
These tools are needed for the replacement:
– A jack with a safety device or a lifting platform
– A 1/4-inch ratchet
– A 1/4-inch extension
– A size 10 socket
– If necessary, a side cutter
Changing the lambda sensor: step by step
|– First, the vehicle is lifted with a lifting platform.
– Alternatively, the combination of jack and safety device works just as well.
– Now remove the black connector protection cover.
– Use a 1/4-inch ratchet, a 1/4-inch extension and a size 10 socket for this.
– Both M6 nuts should now be unscrewed.
– Now loosen the plug of the lambda sensor.
– The lambda sensor itself is usually very tight.
– Use a ring spanner to loosen the lambda sensor. For this, detach the connector.
– If the lambda sensor is loose, it can be removed.
– Remove the transport protection of the new lambda sensor.
– Screw in the new sensor and fit the connector.
– Refit the cover.
– Finally, delete the fault memory of the car or have it deleted.
Pay attention to the following when replacing the lambda sensor
– Do not apply force. The sensor and the associated holder must be handled with care.
Costs to be considered
|When all you need is a new lambda sensor, the costs are straightforward. Depending on the vehicle type, manufacturer and model, the prices for a new sensor range between 60 and 160 pounds. Only in very rare cases are prices beyond 200 pounds for a lambda sensor. However, these are only the costs for the spare part. If you have the replacement done in a workshop, the work costs will be added too. Still, the sensor can be replaced in a few minutes if there is no severe rust formation. Therefore, expect workshop costs of 80 pounds on average for the replacement. Yet, these costs are not only due to the replacement. For this price, most workshops also carry out direct testing and cleaning, and the check of the fault memory and its clear up. This means that your vehicle will have no error message after the workshop visit.
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