Bosch Oxygen Sensors

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Nearly 30 years ago, Bosch introduced its first oxygen sensors, a breakthrough that helped revolutionize the auto-manufacturing world. Whereas once oxygen sensors were mere add-ons, today they're standard features in both foreign and domestic vehicles. The funny thing is, the majority of drivers, at least in the U.S., don't even know they have them.

One reason for this is that Bosch oxygen sensors reside in the "guts" of your car or truck. Unless you're a professional grease monkey, you probably don't spend time pulling apart your emissions systems, so it's understandable that you might not even know where to look. Hint: check your engine's exhaust manifold--you'll be surprised at what you discover.

The Function of Bosch Oxygen Sensors

Bosch oxygen sensors are the eyes and ears of your car's emissions system. It is their role to determine whether your air-fuel mix is ideal for maximizing combustion, which it seldom is. When it the balance is off, the sensor emits a signal that tells the car to increase either its fuel or oxygen intake and restore the ideal ratio of one element to the other.

Mixtures that are deemed "rich" contain disproportionately high concentrations of fuel, while "lean" mixtures are high in oxygen. Either scenario is enough to throw your engine off kilter and contribute to idle and acceleration problems (among others). Fortunately, your Bosch sensors are rigged to your vehicle's computer, which in turn is linked to your engine's intake manifolds, so correcting such imbalances is fairly straight-forward.

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