Temporary Fix for Bad O2 Sensor – Detailed Guide

The O2 sensor is a very critical part of our car engines. Especially for modern cars, it is a very important part that we need to check and consider. And some faults can take place in the oxygen sensor. In here, you can find detailed information about the temporary fix for bad O2 sensor of your car. We will give some different ways how to fix it temporarily. And also, you can find information about how to detect and what are the symptoms of a bad o2 sensor.

What is an O2 Sensor?

Temporary fix for bad O2 sensor.
Image Source: Top Gear.

First of all, we need to understand the general purpose of the oxygen sensor that all modern vehicles have. As you understand from its name, the general purpose of the oxygen sensor is, to measure the amount of oxygen that comes with the exhaust fumes. The sensor measures the level of oxygen inside the exhaust fumes and sends this information to the ECU system of your car. The ECU system adjusts the level of the fuel that is provided to the engine to optimize the air-fuel mixture for better performance and better emission control.

  • Car performance: So in terms of the performance of the engine, the O2 sensor is the very important part. It directly adjusts the best level of fuel inside the engines according to the burning performance. And mileage increases with an optimum and well-working sensor.
  • Emission control: Also for emission control, the sensor is a very important part. It reduces the harmful gases that are released into the environment which saves the environment. If you are an environmentally-conscious driver, it will be very important to consider the well-working O2 sensor.

Where the O2 Sensor is Located?

O2 sensor location.
Image Source: Auto Success Online.

To fix the bad O2 sensor temporarily or completely, we need to know where the O2 sensor is located. In general, you can find the O2 sensor beneath the car. At the passenger-right wheel side, you can see the protrusion that you can easily remove it. It is the oxygen sensor.

And in most cars, it is located right after the catalytic converter. Because it measures the level of oxygen inside the exhaust fumes.

General Symptoms of Bad O2 Sensors

Bad O2 sensors generally give different kinds of symptoms that we can also face with other kinds of symptoms. So, you need to take care of these symptoms when you hear them in general.

Problems with Fuel Efficiency

This is one of the most common symptoms that you can face. You will understand that your car consumes much higher fuel than before. This is because the O2 sensor does not work properly. It does not send the O2 level information to the ECU system to adjust the optimum amount of fuel for your vehicle. So, fuel efficiency will be affected in a very bad way.

Engine Performance Drop

As we stated above, the O2 sensor is a very important part of the engine’s performance. It allows adjusting the optimum level of fuel consumption according to the terrain and different driving conditions. Think about that there is no system that adjusts the fuel accordingly. You will feel a huge drop in engine performance.

Engine Noise Because of Bad O2 Sensor

Engine noise is also another common symptom of a bad O2 sensor. The general cause of the noise is irregular combustion takes place because of the bad mixture of air and fuel. These sounds can be knocking sound, pinging sound and rattling sounds in general. You can be suspicious about the bad O2 sensor if you are hearing the sound.

Black Fumes in Exhaust

Actually, black fumes are a common problem of the various kinds of problems with the vehicle engine. But also it is a problem of the bad O2 sensor in general. The general reason for the black fumes is the unburnt fuel that comes from the exhaust. The unburnt fuels create black fumes which means the air-fuel mixture is not efficient enough.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you take a bad smell from your exhaust, you can consider a temporary fix for the bad O2 sensor. The rotten egg smell comes because of the different chemicals that are created by burning actions that did not take place accordingly. The cause of the rotten egg smell is because of the sulfur dioxide. The cause of this problem can be both a bad O2 sensor and a bad catalytic converter.

Engine Overheating Problem

Around the symptoms of the bad O2 sensor, engine overheating problems can be the main cause. The main reason is, that the bad air-fuel mixture in the engine, the fuel is burnt excessively inside the cylinders. Because of this excessive burn, engine overheating can be the symptom that you can see.

Bad Emissions

As we stated above, the O2 sensor is a very important part of the emission control for your engine. And if your car does not pass the emission controls and checks, you can have a problem with the O2 sensor. Because the ECU does not get the O2 value from the exhaust fumes to adjust the level of O2 according to it.

Rough Idling

Even at the idling of your engine, you can feel the problem of a bad O2 sensor. The general cause of the rough idling problem of your engine is very bad combustion takes place in cylinders because of the poorly adjusted air-fuel mixture. So, you can be suspicious about your O2 sensor.

How to Diagnose Bad O2 Sensor in Your Car?

OBD2 scanner for bad O2 sensor.
Image Source: Tom’s Guide.

First diagnosing that you have a bad sensor is a professional thing to consider. Because there are different kinds of symptoms that you can face. And these symptoms can be the symptoms of other problems with parts in your engine system. So, you need to have a professional approach while you are diagnosing your engine.

First of all, the bad O2 sensor will give a check engine dashboard signal. If you get that signal and you have some kinds of symptoms above, you can be suspicious about the O2 sensor that you have.

But the direct diagnosing comes with the OBD2 code reader. Probably you do not have this device. If you connect this device to the ECU system of your car, you will get an error signal that shows you have a problem with the sensor.

It will be better to bring your car to the mechanic or service if you do not have this device.

Temporary Fix Methods for Bad O2 Sensor

Actually, there are two different ways to fix the bad O2 sensor that you have. First of all, we need to check if the O2 sensor is working well.

First Method: Temporary Fix for Bad O2 Sensor

The first method includes the method you clean the sensor that you have. Cleaning this sensor actually is very basic. You just need to follow these steps to clean it.

Before these steps, you need to be sure about the problem with the sensor. After that, you can start to apply these steps in general.

Step 1: Take Safety Precautions

Safety is the most important thing for occupational health. You need to take some serious safety pğrecausions.

  • Wear safety glasses. Protect your eyes from any ejecting part that could come to your eyes.
  • Wear safety gloves. There are safety gloves that you can wear to protect your hands from cuts and injuries.
  • Wear safety clothes. Protect your body from harmful external conditions while working.

Step 2: Elevate Your Car

Elevating car for temporary fix for bad O2 sensor.

You need to elevate your car to remove the oxygen sensor beneath your car. We explained the place of the oxygen sensor. To reach this point, you need to elevate the car.

There are different methods that you can use. The first one is you can use big hydraulic lifters. This will provide much better operation than your car. And in terms of safety, it will be much better lifting.

Also, you can use hydraulic jacks to lift your car. It will be better to place the hydraulic jacks near to tires in terms of safety. The working area will be narrow with this one. If you are taking care of your car by yourself, you will probably use hydraulic or mechanical jacks. Be sure that the jack application can lift your car.

Step 3: Remove the Bad O2 Sensor

You can see the sensor protruding right after the catalytic converter. You can remove the sensor by using a socket wrench. Attach the socket wrench and gently turn counterclockwise. And you will be able to remove the bad O2 sensor like this.

Also, you need to gently remove the electronic sockets that send the O2 information to the engine. There are plugs that you need to remove completely.

Step 4: Remove the Dirt

Probably, the O2 sensor problem was caused by the dirt that accumulated on the O2 sensor that looks inside the exhaust fumes. You can see that it converted to black color because of the grime and dirt accumulation.

You need to scrub gently on the O2 sensor with a toothbrush. Be sure that you removed all the rough grime on it. After that, place this side into a pack of fuel. And leave it for a day. You will see that the fuel removes all the dirt and grime inside the little holes and little places of the O2 sensor.

After that rub your sensor and dry it thoroughly.

Step 5: Attach and Test It

You can attach the sensor to the system again. Attach the electronic plug and the mechanical attachment with the use of a socket wrench. Take the same safety precautions while attaching it.

Run the car engine and see if you are facing with the same problem. If you don’t, you probably solved the problem that you are facing.

But if the problem is not solved, the O2 sensor does not work.

Second Method: What if O2 Sensor Does Not Work?

This is another possiblity of the O2 sensor does not work. You understand that you need to change the oxygen sensor.

Buy a fake oxygen sensor that you can attach instead of the O2 sensor that does not work. So, you can replace it with a fake one that will solve the problem that you are facing with the bad O2 sensor. They have some connections like the original one.

Cost of a New O2 Sensor

After replacing the old one with the fake one, do not forget that it is a temporary solution to your problem. You need to look for an original oxygen sensor for your car.

We need to state that, you need to look for both OEM and aftermarket parts. Compare the prices and decide to buy a new one.

In general, you can find the original oxygen sensors that have prices between $20-50 according to the brand and the cost of the car that you have. And as you see above the replacement costs are not high because it is a very basic thing. You can do it on your own. But if you need a service that will do this replacement, it will take around $50.

Keeping Driving with Bad Oxygen Sensor

It is not recommended thing by most mechanics and car gurus. You can understand from the symptoms above, it will be a very bad idea to drive with an oxygen sensor.

  • Engine malfunction danger: The combustion inside the inside cylinders will not be efficient and good. So, eventually, you can face engine malfunction problems because of a very basic problem that you can solve only for $50.
  • Reduced fuel economy: Also, fuel economy will be reduced because of the very bad fuel-air mixture. After a while, you will spend much more money on fuel than the expense that you will make on the bad sensor.
  • Not environmental-friendly: It is not environmentally friendly that releases lots of high emissions because of the bad air-fuel mixture rate. You will harm nature much more because of a very basic problem that your car has.
  • Reduced engine performance: Remember the good old times when you are taking the best performance with your car. So the engine performance will reduce because of the very bad combustion and not optimum fuel consumption.

How Many Miles Do You Have To Drive with One Oxygen Sensor?

Most of the authorities and both OEM and aftermarket sensor manufacturers are stating that the general lifespan of the oxygen sensors is 50 to 100 miles. So, if the mileage of your car is very high enough and you never changed this sensor, you can consider changing it if you are taking these symptoms in general.

Conclusion on Temporary Fix for Bad O2 Sensor Problem

As you see above, the problem that you are facing with your O2 sensor is a very basic thing to solve. And it will be very big outcomes if you will not solve it properly. Because a basic sensor has a very big effect on your car engine. So, you need to apply the solutions that we state above.

Actually, it will be worth it to completely solve this problem if we think about the general problem that would arise with a bad O2 sensor.

If you have additional comments and questions about the bad O2 sensors, please leave them below. You can also find other similar topics about car maintenance on;

Ceramic Seal for Paint Protection of Your Car

Battery Acid Neutralizer – Why and How to Use?

Hydraulic Kits for Cars – Features, Pros, and Cons

Radiator Transmission Cooler Systems – Explanation

Steering Speed Sensor – Features and Uses

FAQs About Temporary Fix for Bad O2 Sensor

How can I temporarily fix my O2 sensor?

It is a very basic process you need to take important safety measures first. You need to remove the oxygen sensor beneath your car. Remove the electrical connections of this oxygen sensor. After that, clean the grime and filth that accumulated on your sensor. You can use a toothbrush and gasoline for detailed cleaning of it. And then, attach the sensor to your car and check if it is working. If it is not working, you just need to replace it with a new one. Or you can attach a temporary fake sensor.

Can you clean the O2 sensor?

Yes, you can clean the O2 sensor. You just need to rub the sensor side that you detached from the catalytic converter. Probably, the sensor side turned into a black grime because of the exhaust fumes. You need to gently rub to remove this rough grime with a toothbrush. After that, you can use gasoline to intrinsically clean the bad O2 sensor that you have. Be sure that you cleaned thoroughly and dried it before attaching it to the engine.

Will the check engine light go off after replacing the O2 sensor?

After replacement, you need to drive for several miles. The car will work much more efficient way after the attachment of the O2 sensor. After ECU starts to adjust the air-fuel mixture to the optimum levels, the check engine light will go automatically.

Can you run an engine without an O2 sensor?

Yes, you can run. But you will feel rough idling, different sounds coming from the engine, and black fumes at the exhaust. It is not advised thing to run an engine without these sensors.

Uğur Uygun

Hello everyone, I am Uğur. I am a mechanical engineer who has experience in different R&D departments of HVAC companies. With my best friend, I decided to build this website to share out knowledge and experience. And also, I am interested in automotive. So, I am writing about automotive and automotive-related articles here. Sharing my knowledge and experiences on these topics is a very big pleasure for me. I am willing to answer all of the questions people have about these topics.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button