Positioned at the exhaust area of your car, the BMW oxygen sensor keeps an eye on the amount of oxygen contained by the exhaust gas. It sends a signal to the computer system of your BMW whenever the oxygen and fuel mixture is too rich or too lean. The computer system, subsequently, controls the air and fuel mixture to lessen your BMW’s emissions.
Why is It Important to Avoid Lean and Rich Air-Fuel Mixture?
The BMW oxygen sensor is one of the indispensable automotive components that help execute an effective combustion for your BMW. Combustion is the process of burning gasoline. This is a vital process that enables your vehicle to run efficiently. Oxygen is an element the BMW engine can’t do without. If there is no oxygen, gasoline will not be burned. If there is too little oxygen, the combustion will not be complete. Insufficient amount of oxygen leads to a rich air and fuel mixture, which is definitely a cause of pollution. On the contrary, having too much oxygen in the engine during combustion will bring about a lean mixture of air and fuel. This kind of mixture also negatively affects the operation of the gas engine.
Until When Can the BMW Oxygen Sensor Last?
In the long run, the quality of your BMW oxygen sensor will decrease. Of course, like other auto parts, the oxygen sensor is exposed to impurities resulting from the gas burning process. This causes the oxygen sensor’s performance to eventually dwindle. Its fast capacity to act in response to the alterations in the air and fuel mixture decelerates. In addition to this, the output voltage of your BMW oxygen sensor may plummet in due course. This will result to flawed assessment of the condition of the air and fuel mixture.
At the same time, the sensor’s output voltage may not be as high as it once was, giving the false impression that the air/fuel mixture is leaner than it actually is. The result can be a richer-than-normal air/fuel mixture under various operating conditions that causes fuel consumption and emissions to rise.
When Must You Replace BMW Oxygen Sensor?
Since your oxygen sensor’s quality is reduced as it is constantly used, it is important to replace it. The question is…WHEN? When is the time to change old oxygen sensor? How do you know that your BMW oxygen sensor needs to be replaced? Here are two options:
- Check out the light that indicates oxygen sensor change. This is rather easy for vehicle owners whose automobiles have a defective-o2sensor-warning light. But unfortunately, most cars are not equipped with such kind of indicator. So if this is your case, just try Option # 2.
- Observe the output voltage of your BMW oxygen sensor. If your output voltage matches up with the condition of your air and fuel mixture, then your oxygen sensor is still functioning well.
Remember: High output voltage = rich mixture Low output voltage = lean mixture
Once you discover that your BMW oxygen sensor is not working properly, replace it immediately. Do not wait for it to totally break down. Oxygen sensor replacement as maintenance should be done within appropriate mileage intervals:
- Unheated oxygen sensors on 1976 to early 1990s vehicles
Recommended Mileage Replacement Interval: Every 30,000 – 50,000 miles
- Heated (1st generation) oxygen sensors on mid-1980s to mid-1990s vehicles
Recommended Mileage Replacement Interval: Every 60,000 miles
- Heated (2nd generation) oxygen sensors on mid-1990s and newer vehicles
Recommended Mileage Replacement Interval: Every 100,000 miles
Source: Autohaus Arizona