April 17, 2013 - You might be thinking…what in the world is an air fuel ratio sensor? No problem. I understand. This is not just a normal, run-of-the-mill car part that everyone would think about or know about. Most people at least know a car has things like an air filter, oil filter, and such; but most people wouldn’t have a clue about an air fuel ratio sensor.
So…let’s talk about this little piece of magic that could be your best friend or one of your worst enemies. I say one of because you may have bigger concerns than your car’s fuel efficiency. But, in this day and age of soaring gasoline prices, you might not have a worse enemy.
Nonetheless, the air fuel ratio sensor is a very smart and intricate part of your fuel system.
This little sensor can be the difference between 30 miles per gallon (MPG) and 35 mpg or more. Here’s how it works. The air fuel ratio sensor measures the oxygen in your car’s exhaust. It then sends a voltage signal to the engine control module (ECM). The ECM can then appropriately regulate the fuel needed. This well-running system accomplishes several things.
- Improved fuel efficiency
- Saves gas money
- Improves emissions
- Saves the environment
- Improves the life of engine components
You can see from this that the air fuel ratio sensor is kind of important. Many people never know about the sensor until it’s acting up. That brings up a good question. How would you know when an air fuel ratio sensor is going or gone bad?
First of all, these don’t usually totally go bad all of a sudden. They usually go bad over time gradually. So you may begin getting less miles per gallon without really even knowing it. Unless you are a stickler for your gas mileage, then you might be one of the lucky ones who catch it early.
So here’s the best advice on knowing when to replace your air fuel ratio sensor OR at least when to have it checkout out.
- If you notice you aren’t getting as good of gas mileage.
- If your vehicles seems to be having performance problems.
- If that ever present nuisance “engine light” lights up on the dashboard.
- Replace according to manufacturer’s recommendations. This could range from every 45,000 to 65,000 miles or so depending on the make and model of your car.
So the moral to this story of the air fuel ratio sensor is when in doubt check it out and replace if the above symptoms are present. It’s a relatively cheap part to fix and could save you lots in fuel costs and engine wear and tear.