What is an Oxygen (Lambda) Sensor?

What is an Oxygen (Lambda) Sensor?

The oxygen sensor located on the exhaust of the engine measures the amount of unburned oxygen from the passing gases and provides information to the ECU about the air fuel mixture.

The oxygen sensor, developed by Volvo in the 70s, can be found one or more after the exhaust manifold in injection vehicles. The oxygen sensor starts working at a certain temperature. In older generation cars, oxygen sensors do not have heater circuits. It works effectively when heated to about 316 degrees Celsius. For those without a heating circuit, it starts to work effectively within 1 or 2 minutes with a delay. Sensors measure the amount of unburned oxygen passing through the exhaust and provide information to the ECU. The air fuel mixture is adjusted through the information. In new generation cars, there is a heater circuit in the lambda sensors. These circuits, which work with 12v, allow the sensor to heat up faster and transmit signals to the ECU quickly.

In vehicles with two oxygen sensors, one of the sensors is usually located after the exhaust manifold and the other after the catalytic converter. 1. The next one measures the amount of oxygen on the exhaust gases. 2. The next sensor checks whether the catalytic converter is performing its duty. If there is no decrease in the amount of unburned oxygen, the catalytic converter may not be performing its function. That's why emission values increase.

Oxygen sensors have an average lifespan of up to 90,000 miles. But in case of malfunction, some factors may shorten these values.

If we talk about oxygen sensor malfunction situations;

Not every fault code indicates that the oxygen sensor is faulty. The sensor's heater circuit may be faulty. There may be a problem with the plumbing. The sensor may be dirty. The vehicle may be running on a lean or rich mixture.

In case of sensor failure, the vehicle may encounter problems such as power loss, irregular operation and excessive fuel consumption. If the engine fault warning is on, the fault must be diagnosed with a diagnostic device and intervention must be made accordingly.

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