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If you've ever cracked open the owner's manual of your car, you'll find there are 'recommended intervals' for certain maintenance actions. The basics include:
• Rotating tires
• Repacking wheel bearings
• Replacing oxygen sensors.
An oxygen sensor tells the fuel injection system how much unburned oxygen remains in the exhaust. By knowing this ratio, the car can richen or lean out the mixture depending on ambient humidity, throttle position, speed, etc.
If your oxygen sensor goes south, your car suddenly has no way to meter fuel and it goes into 'limp home' mode. To avoid getting stranded or embarrassed, make sure you replace your oxygen sensor with a high end sensor, like a bosch oxygen sensor, when the manual calls for it.