'96 Volks Cabrio 02 sensor and idle problem related?

Got a 1996 Volkswagen Cabrio with around 125k miles. Recently the check engine light came on. Had the code pulled (P0133 02 Sensor Circuit Slow Response) and reset but it came back on shortly thereafter. I’ve also noticed that the car idles strangely, generally after it has warmed up a little bit. Basically it will idle rough and sound as though it might choke out but if you give it a little gas it goes back to a normal, even idle.

I only paid $1500 for the car so I don’t want to put much money in it but I also don’t want to damage it by not fixing what could be a small problem. Right now it’s getting around 20+ MPG average which seems a little low but I only purchased it 3 months ago so I don’t have much to compare it against.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that the plastic molding around where the gas nozzle goes in is cracked which makes it difficult to fill it up since it doesn’t make a good seal unless you position the gas nozzle just right.

Any thoughts on whether either of these problems might be related to the wierd idle?

How hard is it to change the front 02 sensor? Any rough ideas what a mechanic might charge?

Thank you!

Yes, the O2 sensor may well be causing the rough idle…and the poor gas mileage. However, since you just bought the car three months ago and have no knowledge of its history, it’s a stretch of faith to say it IS the cause. There are other possibilities, such as a simply tuneup (including filters) being long overdue.

In the long run you can save yourself money by

  1. replacing the O2 sensor, and
  2. having the car “gone over” and any questionable items serviced (brought up to date) and/or repaired.