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BMWs have advanced and computerized engines, which enable them to carry out high-performance functionalities. This advanced system works on data obtained from various sources, including multiple sensors located within and outside the vehicle’s engine. In this article, we will discuss one of the most vital sensors within the engine and the various replacement services available for this critical component in BMWs.

What Is the Work of Oxygen Sensors?

Oxygen sensors (pronounced “oh-two sensors”) are one of the management sensors located in the engine which carry out a range of functions. This particular sensor is mounted within the exhaust system, with the main purpose of detecting the amount of unburned oxygen leaving the engine. The sensor feeds this data into your vehicle’s computers, allowing it to either increase or decrease the amount of fuel mixture output in order to maintain peak levels of performance.

The Causes of Oxygen Sensor Malfunctions

The oxygen sensor, like other parts of a vehicle’s engine, deteriorates over time and eventually leads to a significant drop in functionality or a total malfunction. Contamination from substances in the vehicle’s engine, such as oils and coolants, is also a common cause of oxygen sensor malfunction. This happens when the sensor is constantly exposed to them, resulting in a buildup of carbon deposits on the carbon sensor and reducing its efficiency.

When Does the Oxygen Sensor Need Replacement?

When the oxygen sensor in your car’s engine malfunctions, insufficient or inaccurate data is sent to the computer, causing a lot of miscalculations which ultimately lead to a drop in performance over time. Although it is possible to drive around with a busted oxygen sensor, your vehicle will likely fail emission tests, which check the amount of unburnt oxygen given out by the vehicle. You will also experience hesitations and jerks while driving, coupled with a lit-up check engine light.

What Services Are Available for Oxygen Sensor Malfunctions?

It is impossible to repair a faulty oxygen sensor due to the technology involved in making it, so the only services available are maintenance and replacement.

Regular maintenance reduces the possibility of a malfunction and prolongs the lifespan of your BMW’s oxygen sensor. Have a qualified mechanic inspect the oxygen sensor and other components of the vehicle’s exhaust emission control system. This helps identify any contaminations early on and have them rectified before they cause serious damage. You, as the owner of the vehicle, will also need to adopt some practices, like avoiding prolonged idling, in order to maintain the efficiency of the sensors.

Replacing the oxygen sensor, which is located deep in the engine, requires specific tools and knowledge and should only be carried out by experienced technicians. The replacement process involves removing the entire oxygen sensor assembly, which comprises the actual oxygen sensor, a wiring harness, and a connector. The replacement, which should be an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) from a trusted auto shop, should be threaded into place and secured with the right set of tools and equipment. Confirm the replacement process by checking if the engine light comes on when you start the vehicle.