Can I change my own oxygen sensor? Is it really worth the money I'd save?


I have a 2000 saturn SL2 with 83K miles on it. I have a slow responding oxygen sensor and a secondary air injection malfunction. A friend of mine was telling me how she and her dad fixed her 02 sensor, and I started thinking that I could too. It may have been the lack of sleep, but I am pretty much convinced that doing it myself will be fairly straightforward (I’ve read a bunch of things online that suggest this) and cost effective. The estimates I got for changing it were around 120. The part itself costs 50-60, and I could rent the tools from a parts store.

So any opinions? Am I tilting at windmills here?


It’s straight forward on brand new vehicles. It’s a plug in/screw in part.

It’s a royal pain in 7 year old vehicles. The parts permanently fuse themselves together. Divorcing them from one another often requires heat, penetrant, banging, skinned knuckles, and language that you don’t want your kids to hear.


On most cars it is extremely simple. You use an open-end wrench to unscrew the old one, screw in the new one. It’s that easy.

On some cars (including my Ddoge) it is a royal PITA because of its inaccessible location. I chose to take the car and the part to my mechanic who has a liftrack and a double-jointed left arm.

Locate the component, then decide for yourself.


I believe that is best if you let your mechanic do it. A long socket wrench will do it however they are usually in a location that there is no room, and without a lift…the greavance alone is woth every penny.


I have a double jointed left arm! And here I was thinking it was only good for the circus.


I agree with Steve F, locate the sensor first. If it is in an easily accessable location, give it a try. Auto Zone will usually walk outside and show you whwere it is located on the car. I have done a couple of easy ones and one on a '89 Cadillac that I would never try twice.