Repeated Oxygen Sensor failure

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I recently had both oxygen sensors replaced on my Buick Skylark -- 1998 V6 3.1L with 122,000 miles. The Check Engine light had come on and my mechanic said the O2 sensors were the trouble codes.

After 3 or 4 weeks, the Check Engine light came on again. Again, the trouble code was the oxygen sensor, but just one this time. I persuaded the parts store to sell me a new sensor (A/C Delco) and then I returned the failed one for a credit.

After only 2 weeks after the second installation, the Check Engine light is on again. I haven't had it tested yet, but I really think the trouble code will be the oxygen sensor again.

Am I running into a string of bad sensors or is my mechanic doing something incorrectly? Not a dealership, just a nice guy trying to make a living with a small repair shop. OR, is there something else wrong in the car that's causing the sensor to go bad?

posted by  Beth G.

my friend has a 02 civic ex wid 36k milage, my other friend has a 01 galant with 58k milage, both are automatic and both of my friends have that "check engine" light on... they just ignore it.. im not saying its nothing to worry about, but im curious my self... what is the deal with that light?

posted by  Ki2AY

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First off...Welcome Beth! I'm sorry not to have an answer for you right now, but I had to reply to the question below.



The light is self-explanatory! Take it to someone with an OBDII reader and your friends will find out what the problem is. When it comes time for emissions testing, they wont even hook up the car until that light is off.
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posted by  BavarianWheels

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Ok...I've done some looking around. Here's what I find.

It sounds like you may have a faulty fuel pressure regulator allowing raw fuel into the engine or possibly a leaking fuel injector.

This was not specific to your car, but the symptoms were the same. I hope it helps.
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posted by  BavarianWheels

what is raw fuel?

posted by  Ki2AY

I'm guessing fuel that hasn't been mixed with air...

As I said above, that was an answer I found. I'm no car expert.
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posted by  BavarianWheels

raw fuel is exactly that, it gets no simpler. Raw fuel is gasoline uncombusted.

posted by  cmeseadoin

Hey, thanks for the info! At least it gives me a angle to pursue with my nice-guy mechanic.

Incidently, I didn't realize it at first, but the car was getting terrible gas mileage around town. I didn't realize it until I started driving our diesel pickup instead and am spending a lot less on fuel!

The car goes to a dealership for a factory recall repair on Friday. I'm sure they'll comment on my Christmas-tree dashboard and want to fix the O2 sensor problem as well as the failing ABS unit!

posted by  Beth G.

At least. :wink2:
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posted by  BavarianWheels

Make sure the O2 wiring is good between the O2 sensor and the ECM.

O2 sensors usually last 60k - 70K miles or longer and don't go bad that often. .... unless some one smeared anti-sieze on the tip instead of the threads, used too many fuel additives, ran contaminated gas,

The other reason is much as Bav said - the car is running rich (this should set a bunch of codes) and you need to find out why.

I would like to know exactly which trouble codes are/were thrown

posted by  tbaxleyjr

assuming a factory original catalytic convertor, i wouldn't be too suprised if it was a cat efficiency code, in which case the problem would continue to return as described. unfortunately, some mechanics don't try to find the cause(s) of the problem, rather they replace the effected parts. In any case, good luck with it and hopefully you won't have to keep buying O2 sensors that may not be bad.

posted by  Sick88Tbird

exactly - the other codes will reveal some things which may lead in an entirely different direction

A problem the auto industry has been plagued with over the past several years is there are fewer true mechanics. Many so called mechanics are really parts replacers who throw their customers money @ a problem by replacing parts instead of figuring out what is wrong. Of course @ a billing rate of $60 to $75 per hour most people are not willing to pay for much diagnostic time and most flat rate books only allow .50 to 1 flat rate hour for that anyway.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Ok,

So I have down possible faulty fuel pressure regulator, possible leaking fuel injector, and check wiring between the oxygen sensor and the ECM (what is that anyway?). I'll mention all these things when I get it in to the mechanic again. And I'll find out the specific trouble codes too. Anything else?

I've been pretty fortunate so far. Since I'm dealing with locally-owned parts store that knows my husband well, I wasn't charged for the second sensor. Not sure if I can get a third one though!

And the nice-guy mechanic hasn't charged for hooking it up to the diagnostic machine and didn't charge me (except for a 18-pack of Coors!) to install the second sensor. I think he'll appreciate the suggestions on what might be wrong -- just increases his knowledge base.

posted by  Beth G.

Now that is a rocket scientist for you. Probably a woman too...no offense to ANY woman in here that shows brains and have a clue, this one obviously does NOT! The car tells you "CHECK ME NOW" and you just IGNORE IT. Nevermind the fact you might screw up various parts of the emissions system, but you might also be visiting the gas pump more frequently too as you suck more of that "raw fuel" we discussed. Then they'll come into this forum after driving with an MIL illuminated for 8 months and have about 10 other issues going on at that time, wondering why and what to do. :screwy:

Intelligence seems premo with this friend you have,Ki2AY, and it also seems to be premo with you. You ask lots of questions that are pretty much self explanatory. IE) the raw fuel one that I went into SUCH detail on. If you don't know what "raw fuel" is, please do us all a favor and stay away from automobiles as you have no business working on one nor chatting with people in here as you might hurt someone else. Might that be why you defend stupid people and morons on this site as well only to dumb it down a little more? You seemed to chime in so quickly in that other thread that I was being mean and an ass*ole to others for, "like, omg, no reason." If you hang with people that have no brains, you probably don't have any either. Seems a wise intuitive thought to me. Too bad the other posting got closed before I had a chance to write my response back to you. Check out the "people leaving" posting where I found the topic that pretty much addresses all this and I left some comments there since the other thread was locked/closed. I am just SURE you'll be able to comprehend all my thoughts. :screwy: :screwy:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Beth, you've received some pretty good advice from people on this matter. Either you are experiencing a wiring issue to where the o2's are being blown, or you dealing with a raw fuel issue where that is prematurly burning up the o2's OR you are experiencing a cat converter issue. Whatever the problem is, you are seeing the results downstream IE) downstream of the engine. Take it in and have the electrical system checked and also the catalytic converter.

Has the computer been scanned for DTC? Diagnostic Trouble Codes? If so, we'd need to know those codes. ALWAYS scan the computer when you have a problem, computer data can be extremely useful.

Perhaps you should just deploy the scientific strategy that Ki2AY's friend did, just ignore it, surely it will go away right!!?? God knows it is not on for a reason. HAHAHA :screwy: :banghead: :orglaugh:

posted by  cmeseadoin

I hope to get the car checked again later this week. The diagnostic codes from before were both O2 sensors and then later, just the one. I don't remember the specific numbers though. I think Buicks often have wiring/electrical issues.

Ok, even I had to laugh at Ki2AY's posts and cmeseadoin's replies -- and I'm a woman! There's no crime in being ignorant -- only not doing anything about it! :laughing:

posted by  Beth G.

.... yeh thx... that is the reason why i am in this forum... you have any more things to say????????????????????????????????????????????? go on ahead and show the rest of the forum who the bad guy is in here. matter fact, why dont you go on and make some more insulting remarks to all the people that have something stupid to say. i cant believe the moderators in here donsnt do anything about this.

its no question why the good respectfull people in here always leaves the forum.

posted by  Ki2AY

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Let's put the off subject topic into the other thread about People Leaving (http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=4351) and lets leave this one for Beth G. to receive help with her car problem.

Thx.
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posted by  BavarianWheels

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Edit by Bav. -- See post No. 19, this thread.
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posted by  Ki2AY

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Edit by Bav. -- See post No. 19, this thread.
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posted by  cmeseadoin

Beth, sorry you have to read all this extraneous BS, but this is what those of us who come in here to try and help people out always end up dealing with. Thanks for working with us! :thumbs: If you can get the codes, let us know. Otherwise, I still say have the electrical wiring checked, the fuel system and make sure to get the computer scanned. Something is causing premature wear on the o2's, BUT if only one went out, don't write it off that it could not just be a bad o2 sensor and one HECK of a coincidence. :-) Let us know.

posted by  cmeseadoin

Thanks, cmeseadoin. :thumbs:
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posted by  BavarianWheels

That's no good, post what we typed over in the OT section on the thread that's been going all day. I know you only edited those because they were not RM material, they belonged on the OT section. :thumbs:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Too late... :doh:
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posted by  BavarianWheels

:doh: :doh:

posted by  cmeseadoin

The reason I am curious about the codes is there are 38 different generic OBDII codes pertaining to O2 sensors and only a hand full of these codes will lead to an immediate diagnosis of replacing the O2 sensor without further investigation.

If you have the car checked again, if you think the folks you are dealing with have no clue what they are doing, ask around until you find someone with a good reputation (ask around) or use a GM dealership service department (check their reputations too - they are like any one else some being outstanding, others should be shut down)

posted by  tbaxleyjr

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