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About MX-5 Bitz

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MX5Bitz - General Lambda sensor information

Why are Lambda Sensors so expensive ?
The technology is unfortunately expensive on these spark plug sized sensors but they are a critical part of your vehicle's engine management system. All I can say is that you will not find a direct lambda sensor and guaranteed, insured next day delivery cheaper than ours.

What lambda sensors are fitted to my car ?
If your vehicle has no catalytic converter and was registered before 1992 the chances are it has no lambda sensor. Vehicles with catalytic converters but manufactured prior to the introduction of OBD2 (onboard diagnostics 2), generally manufactured 1992 - 2000, will be fitted with one, or possibly more precat lambda sensors. Cars with OBD2, generally built after 2000 will have one or more precat lambda sensors and one or more post cat lambda sensors.

Why should I replace my Lambda sensor ?
A failed lambda sensor will add 10% - 25% to fuel consumption before your vehicle typically starts to demonstrate running problems. It is also very likely to fail an MOT on emissions, show an engine check light on the dashboard and potentially lead to catalytic converter damage.

How long do Lambda Sensors last ?
This does vary between vehicles but typically a lambda sensors has a useful working life of 60 - 80000 miles. Ideally lambda sensors should be electronically performance tested every 25 - 30000 miles.

Why do Lambda Sensors fail ?
There are two usual reasons for lambda sensor failure. The most common is the sensing tip gets lazy and the signals sent to the vehicle's ECU (electronic control unit) arrive too slowly creating a time lag between receipt of information from the sensor and fuel adjustment. This causes an increasingly rich fuel mixture. The other common reason for sesnor failure is a breakdown of the lambda sensor's internal heater mechanism.

Aren't all Lambda Sensors the same ?
Absolutely not ! Apart from the number of wires, wire length and electrical plug(s) present, there are a number of sensor fittings and types, including zirconia, titania, thick film, planar and thimble. It is very important to choose the correct sensor for your vehicle.

What about confusing Lambda Sensor position terminology ?
There are a number of terms used to describe the type and position of lambda sensors on a vehicle. Precat or upstream sensors are positioned in front of the catalytic converter(s) towards the front of the vehicle. Post cat or downstream sensors are positioned behind the catalytic converter(s) toward the rear of the vehicle.
Diagnostics systems cause further confusion by describing the sensor and cylinder bank. Sensor 1 is for precat and sensor 2 for post cat. Normally vehicles have only one group of cylinders, described as bank 1. If a vehicle has multiple groups of cylnders e.g V8, these will be known as bank 1 and bank 2. Bank 1 always relates to the first cylinders ie. 1 - 4 in a V8, Bank 2 relates to cylinders 5 - 8.
Lambda sensors referred to as right or left hand are positionally located when you are sat in the vehicle driver's seat facing forward.

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