How to Drive With a Bad O2 Sensor

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Automotive O2 sensors determine in real time if the air fuel ratio of your vehicle's engine is lean or rich. They make electronic fuel injections and emission control possible. Sensors typically last from 30,000 miles to more than 100,000 miles. Driving with a bad O2 sensor is like avoiding going to the dentist. You will cause damage to your car, just as you would cause damage to your teeth by avoiding the dentist. The only issue is how much damage you are willing to endure before you replace your O2 sensor.

  • Drive the speed limit at all times. Do not speed. Your gas mileage and catalytic converter are already in jeopardy due to the bad O2 sensor. The harder you drive, the more damage you will cause to your catalytic converter.

  • Accelerate slowly. Slamming on the gas to achieve quick acceleration will exacerbate any damage being done to your vehicle.

  • Brake often. Again, the slower you drive, the better. Leave at least three to five seconds of time between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.

  • Plan out your trips before you leave your home. If you plan ahead of time, you will avoid backtracking and any unnecessary driving.

  • Limit driving as much as possible. If you can wait to mail that letter to your grandma, wait. If you can walk to any spots you need to go to, do so. Walking is good exercise and it will limit wear and tear on your car.

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