How Much Does an Oxygen Sensor Cost?
The oxygen sensor is an important component of a car’s emission control system. Its function is to determine the level of oxygen in the exhaust so that the car’s computer system makes the necessary adjustments, resulting to better functionality. When the oxygen sensor starts to malfunction, it should be replaced immediately in order to improve driveability, extend engine life, and preserve the efficiency of the vehicle. Oxygen sensors started to be used in the 80’s as a way to control the emissions released from the car so there would not be such a negative impact on the environment.
How much does it cost?
- The oxygen sensor alone is going to retail anywhere from $20 to as much as $200, while the professional labor, including parts, can cost upwards of $220 to $350. If you bring the part into a local shop, most will charge around $40 to $75 to install it.
- At Prime Choice Auto Parts, the price of a replacement oxygen sensor will be anywhere from $20 to $120, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
- Edmunds.com cites a CarMD.com estimate stating that the cost to replace an oxygen sensor is $246 including labor. An actual replacement had a total sum of $260, comprising of $117 for the cost of a new sensor and $144 in labor.
What is going to be included?
- Most vehicles manufactured since 1986 contain at least one oxygen sensor while newer vehicles have two or more of these components. The oxygen sensor is usually located between the exhaust manifolds and the catalytic converter or in the exhaust manifold downpipes before the catalytic converter. Oxygen sensors come in several types: narrow band sensors (Zirconia dioxide and Titanium dioxide), wide band oxygen sensors, and NOx sensors.
- Each type of fuel has a perfect ratio of air and gasoline. According to howstuffworks, “If there is less air than this perfect ratio, then there will be fuel left over after combustion. This is called a rich mixture. Rich mixtures are bad because the unburned fuel creates pollution. If there is more air than this perfect ratio, then there is excess oxygen. This is called a lean mixture. A lean mixture tends to produce more nitrogen-oxide pollutants, and, in some cases, it can cause poor performance and even engine damage.”
What are the extra costs?
- Other items that may need to be obtained together with the oxygen sensor is an oxygen sensor harness ($55), an oxygen sensor fitting ($14), an oxygen sensor adapter ($18), an oxygen sensor gasket ($1 to $14), an oxygen sensor cable ($25-$62), and a relay ($11-$35).
Factors that influence the price:
- Parts. There are numerous brands and models of oxygen sensors and they are obtainable in a range of prices. There are different options to go through when purchasing an oxygen sensor. These include location, sensor type, and settings to ensure product fit. Most are sold individually. Additionally, oxygen sensors can be branded ones or they can be the less expensive counterparts.
- Labor. Replacing oxygen sensors can be done by a mechanic or, if you are knowledgeable on the task, you can perform the task yourself. Auto stores may charge for the service on a per-hour basis or they may charge a fixed amount. If you do the job yourself, you will not need to pay for labor fees.
- Shipping. When ordering an oxygen sensor and related items online, expect to pay shipping fees on top of the amount of the order. The shipping fees are usually waived if your order satisfies the minimum amount required or if the site offers free shipping on their items.
Tips to know:
- It is recommended that oxygen sensors need to be replaced every 80,000 kilometers. Experts recommend that if possible, all sensors must be replaced at the same time and changing them as pairs.
- Oxygen sensors are of different types, so expected service life can vary to a considerable degree. The following are the typical service life the different classes: 1 or 2 wire oxygen sensors – 50,000 km; 3 or 4 oxygen sensors – 80,000 km; and, planar type oxygen sensors – 150,000 km.
- When the oxygen sensors are being replaced, make sure to have them inspected and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals to ensure the efficiency of the vehicle.
- One of the main reasons that a “check engine” light is on is due to a faulty oxygen sensor.
- Failing to fix an oxygen sensor can lead to a reduction in fuel economy, sometimes up to as much as 40%. Not only is this bad for the environment, it will also cost you more in gas for your car.
How can I save money?
- When buying an oxygen sensor online, find the lowest price to save on overall costs. There are cases when buying the same component at an auto parts store can cost double of the price quoted online.
- Find online dealers that offer free shipping on items you need. If not, check the minimum order amount that needs to be complied with before shipping charges are waived.
- Consider purchasing the part yourself and bring it down to a local garage. As long as the part is the right one, most shops are more than happy to help.