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What is a lambda sensor and how does it work?


The lambda sensor measures the oxygen content in the exhaust gas stream and transmits the information in the form of an electrical voltage to the engine control unit. This can then adjust the fuel-to-air ratio for the combustion chamber to achieve optimum combustion and thus the best possible engine performance. In its measurement, the lambda sensor compares the oxygen content from the exhaust gas with the content of the ambient air. If the oxygen content is higher the fuel mixture is too thin, then there is more air in the combustion chamber than is necessary for the fuel. If the value is below the reference value, then the mixture is too thick, i.e. not enough air is present to completely burn the fuel. If the mixture is correctly adjusted, the pollutants that are released into the environment are minimized. In addition, the control sensor ensures an ideal initial value for the exhaust gas purification in the catalytic converter. Only when the exhaust gas mixture has the right ratio can the catalytic converter achieve the best result. Last but not least, a lambda sensor also reduces fuel consumption.

The lambda sensor is generally located in the exhaust manifold or directly in front of the catalytic converter. Then the lambda sensor is also called a control sensor. In addition, there may be a wide lambda sensor after the catalytic converter. This is also called a diagnostic probe and serves mainly as a control probe. It performs the same measurement. Smaller deviations can be compensated for by the engine control unit. In the case of larger deviations, an error is signaled. At the bottom of the page, we describe why a lambda sensor can go defective and what to look for when buying a lambda sensor.

How can a lambda sensor become defective and what are the symptoms?
What to consider when buying a lambda sensor?

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BOSCH 0258003165 Lambdasonde VOR Kat VW Corrado 1.8 G60 2.0i 16V Golf 2 1.8 GTI G60

Item No.: UNI564W008
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 003 165
???item.ean.code???: 3165142470931
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 610
Leiteranzahl: 3
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
64375388: 100000
Verwendung: Lambdawert
57,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

2x BOSCH 0258003477 Lambdasonde VOR KAT für BMW E46 320-330i E39 E60 E61 E38 E65

auch für X3 E83 X5 E53 Z3 Z4 | BMW OE Nr. 11781742050

Item No.: PKT872W385
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 003 477
???item.ean.code???: 3165142800189
Delivery:

  • 2x Lambda Sensor Piece - BOSCH 0 258 003 477
91,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

BOSCH 0258007308 Lambdasonde VOR Kat PORSCHE 997 3.6 Turbo + 3.6 GT2 / RS

Baujahres-Abgrenzung beachten | PORSCHE: 997 606 128 02

Item No.: A09564W530
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 007 308
???item.ean.code???: 4047024851368
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Einbauseite: beidseitig
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 735
Abgasanlage: vor Katalysator
64375388: 250000
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Anzahl_Der_Leitungen: 5
Verwendung: Lambdawert
103,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

BOSCH 0258006825 Lambdasonde NACH Kat für PORSCHE 911 (997) 3.6/3.8 Carrera / S

bis Baujahr 05.2008 | PORSCHE OE: 997 606 177 01

Item No.: A09564W509
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 006 825
???item.ean.code???: 4047024181489
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Einbauseite: beidseitig
Abgasanlage: nach Katalysator
Anzahl_Der_Leitungen: 4
64375388: 250000
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Verwendung: Lambdawert
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 580
47,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

NOx-Sensor Lambdasonde OPEL Zafira Tourer C 1.6 CDTI 855608 / 55487677

vom OPEL Erstausrüster

Item No.: A16214W585
Manufacturer: OPEL
part number: 55501897
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Baugruppe: Abgasanlage
Verwendung: NOx-Wert (Harnstoffeinspritzung)
instead of 495,06 EUR 267,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

BOSCH Lambdasonde Regelsonde 0281004148 für Audi Porsche Seat Skoda VW VAG TDI

entspricht VAG OE-Nummer: 1K0 998 262 AD

Item No.: A18564W507
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 281 004 148
???item.ean.code???: 4047024377004
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 750
Leiteranzahl: 5
64375388: 250000
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Verwendung: Lambdawert
75,54 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

BOSCH 0258010145 Lambdasonde NACH Kat PORSCHE 997 Carrera S/GTS 9A160617701

Item No.: A09564W533
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 010 145
???item.ean.code???: 4047024816343
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Einbauseite: beidseitig
Abgasanlage: nach Katalysator
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 830
Anzahl_Der_Leitungen: 4
64375388: 250000
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Verwendung: Lambdawert
67,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

Diagnosesonde Sonde Lambdasonde NACH KAT OPEL Astra G H Corsa D Meriva A 1.2/1.4 855405

vom OPEL Erstausrüster | auch für Combo + Tigra Twintop

Item No.: A16564W589
Manufacturer: OPEL
part number: 93177450
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Abgasanlage: nach Katalysator
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Verwendung: Lambdawert
instead of 275,57 EUR 42,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

DELPHI Lambdasonde ES10792-12B1 NACH Kat für OPEL MERIVA A 1.6 105 PS Z16XEP

entspricht OPEL OE-Nummer: 55563403 / 8 55 519

Item No.: A16564W585
Manufacturer: DELPHI
part number: ES10792-12B1
???item.ean.code???: 5012759349564
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Laenge_mm: 340
Abgasanlage: nach Katalysator
Lambdasonde: beheizt
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
64375936: 4
Verwendung: Lambdawert
47,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

NGK NTK Lambdasonde Regelsonde SEAT Arosa Ibiza SKODA Fabia VW Lupo Polo 1.4 16V

NGK: 1774, VAG-Nr: 036906262G | Länge: 535mm, 5-polig

Item No.: A18564W504
Manufacturer: NGK
part number: 1774
???item.ean.code???: 87295117743
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Laenge_mm: 535
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Anzahl_Der_Leitungen: 5
Verwendung: Lambdawert
121,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

NOx-Sensor Lambdasonde OPEL Insignia A (G09) 2.0 CDTI / 4x4 170 PS 55500320

vom OPEL Erstausrüster

Item No.: A16214W583
Manufacturer: OPEL
part number: 55500320
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Einbauseite: Position 2
Verwendung: NOx-Wert (Harnstoffeinspritzung)
Baugruppe: Abgasanlage
instead of 692,48 EUR 325,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart

BOSCH 0258003564 Lambdasonde PORSCHE 993 Turbo / GT2 + 996 3.4 Carrera / GT2

entspricht PORSCHE OE-Nummer: 993 606 128 01

Item No.: A09564W521
Manufacturer: BOSCH
part number: 0 258 003 564
???item.ean.code???: 3165142391045
Mengeneinheit: Stück
Einbauseite: beidseitig
Abgasanlage: vor Katalysator
64375388: 160000
Anzahl_Der_Leitungen: 4
Baugruppe: Gemischaufbereitung
Verwendung: Lambdawert
Laenge_Ueber_Alles_mm: 580
57,95 EUR

incl. VAT, excl. shipping costs

available / 1-2 working days
add to cart
of 34

How can a lambda sensor become defective and what are the symptoms?

For a lambda sensor to work correctly, it must be at operating temperature. This is done with the hot exhaust gases. If the engine is still warming up, a heating element in the control sensor takes over the heating in newer vehicles. Only from a temperature of over 350°C, a control probe can make correct evaluations. This is precisely the first sticking point. If only short distances are driven, most of the heating power must be provided by the heating element. However, this is not designed for continuous power and can become defective if the load is too high.

The lambda sensor also becomes dirty over time, as the pollutants in the exhaust gases are deposited on it. This means that the control sensor can no longer measure correctly. If, for example, engine oil enters the combustion chamber due to damage to the cylinder head gasket or defective piston rings, and residues of this oil subsequently end up in the exhaust gases, this can also clog the lambda sensor upstream of the catalytic converter. Excessive exhaust gas temperatures above 950°C due to combustion malfunctions and the use of leaded fuel also cause faster wear. In addition, incorrect cleaning of the control sensor can poison the reference air, which also means that correct measurement can no longer be carried out. For this reason, a lambda sensor must not be cleaned with contact spray before the catalytic converter.

A defective lambda sensor can cause the following symptoms:

  • The engine power decreases
  • Increased fuel consumption occurs
  • The exhaust gases turn dark
  • The check engine light comes on

These symptoms do not always mean that the lambda sensor is defective. This can also be due to other causes. Therefore, the fault memory should be read out first. An additional visual inspection is also useful, because like spark plugs, lambda sensors have different wear profiles. A lambda sensor tester can also confirm whether the lambda sensor is really defective. Only then is it worth considering replacement. The diagnostic sensor, i.e. the lambda sensor after the catalytic converter, is usually less affected by wear. To be on the safe side, however, this should also be checked so that the wrong one is not accidentally replaced and the fault persists.

What to consider when buying a lambda sensor?

It is important before buying a lambda sensor to clarify at which point it should be replaced. Position 1 describes the lambda sensor before the cat (control probe), position 2 the lambda sensor after the cat (diagnostic probe). In addition, it can also be distinguished whether it is heated or unheated. In older vehicles, only unheated control probes are used, since the exhaust system there is not yet sufficiently developed. In addition, the number of lines and the type of connector connections differ for each vehicle, as does the length of the cable.

Therefore, if you want to buy a lambda sensor, it is recommended to first select the vehicle. Then the products are reduced to only suitable results. With the remaining offers can be selected from various well-known brand manufacturers. We carry high-quality spare parts from the following brand manufacturers:

They are all characterized by a high level of know-how and use only high-quality materials. Their products meet all the requirements of the vehicle manufacturer and can therefore be used without hesitation.

In addition to lambda sensors, this category also includes NOx sensors. NOx sensors function in a similar way to lambda sensors, except that they measure the proportion of nitrogen oxides rather than the oxygen content. Generally, NOx sensors are used in addition to the lambda sensor and are predominantly used in diesel engines. Their measurement is used, for example, to control the proportion of diesel additives such as AdBlue.

If you are unsure which NOx sensor or lambda sensor to purchase, please feel free to contact our customer service with the 17-digit chassis number.