Volvo lambda sensor replacement, made easy

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How much does a lambda sensor replacement cost for Volvo cars?

A typical Volvo lambda sensor replacement in the UK costs around £170 - £367. Depending on your Volvo model and engine, and whether you live in a big city or a small one, the price of a lambda sensor replacement on your vehicle can be higher or lower. We computed prices for some of the best-selling Volvo cars in the UK in order to give you an idea of how much a lambda sensor replacement costs.
Car modelFixter price range
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo XC60£184 - £289
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo XC90£205 - £323
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo V40£170 - £267
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo XC40£177 - £278
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo V60£170 - £267
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo C30£170 - £267
Lambda sensor replacement for Volvo V50£234 - £367

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Our expert insights into lambda sensor replacement

What does a lambda sensor do?

In simple terms, a lambda sensor measures the amount of oxygen in your exhaust fumes, to ensure your engine is burning fuel correctly. They are fitted in both petrol and diesel vehicles.

What are the symptoms of a malfunctioning lambda sensor?

Below are the top three symptoms that could indicate you need to replace your lambda sensor:

  • Your engine performance will suffer—often misfiring, cutting out or not starting at all

  • When your engine is idling, or just ticking over, it will feel rough and lumpy compared to normal

  • Fuel consumption is higher than normal

What happens when we do a lambda sensor replacement on your car?

Our certified mechanics will:

  • Read the ECU for possible fault codes related to the lambda sensor.

  • They will inspect the sensor and ancillaries (like the electrical connectors).

  • If necessary, the mechanic will replace the lambda sensor.

  • The mechanic will advise if other components need to be replaced as well.

  • They will check the sensors again.

  • The mechanic will test drive the car, and make any final adjustments.

Daniel, from LondonDaniel, from London

Hey Fixter, what are the signs of a bad lambda sensor?

If your lambda sensor is failing, your engine performance will suffer, often misfiring, cutting out or not starting at all. You may also experience higher fuel consumption and a rough engine idle.

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Want to learn more about Volvo lambda sensor replacement?

What does a lambda sensor do?

Lambda sensors measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust fumes emitted from your vehicle, to ensure your engine is burning fuel correctly. Fitted in both petrol and diesel vehicles, they help to reduce the number of harmful emissions, primarily gases such as carbon monoxide, and pollutants, produced by your car.

The sensors are designed to work within government exhaust gas legislation. Due to the role they play in the operation of your car, they are also widely known as oxygen sensors or O2 sensors.

Your lambda sensor converts the amount of oxygen present in your exhaust into an electric signal and sends the signal to the computer that controls your engine operation. The ECU (engine control unit) processes the readings and sends the information back to the engine. The engine then makes compensations of how to mix fuel and air to get the ratio back to where it needs to be.

Volvo

Volvo Cars is a Swedish luxury vehicle manufacturer, established in April 1927, over 90 years ago.

With around 645k cars on the roads in the UK today, Volvo is a considerable contributor to the UK motor industry.

With a steady rise in status from the boxy estate models popular in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Volvo now produces a strong, executive range of luxury, performance vehicles.

Luxurious executive saloons, estate cars and SUVs

Sticking to the market they understand best, Volvo produces a small range of estate cars and a selection of bang-on-trend SUVs, complimented by 2 luxury saloon models. In other words, Volvo makes cars for ‘grown-up’ drivers where it knows its customers inside out.

Volvo: Exceptional aims for in-car safety

One of Volvo’s key visions is to provide a level of unrivalled safety inside their vehicles and has proven to be a dedicated leader in the field. Their current vision is that nobody should be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car by 2020.

Pursuing perfection through Volvo technology

The ethos behind Volvo reaches further than just selling units and making a profit. By putting their customers first, they have committed to creating vehicles where ownership gives quality time back to their drivers, are environmentally efficient and exceptionally safe.

Using modern technology and striving to develop the systems to lead the field, is something they take very seriously. After all, this is the company that brought drivers:

  • The 3-point safety seatbelt

  • The Lambda Sond emissions detector responsible for reducing harmful fumes by 90%

  • Side impact, whiplash, and roll-over protection

  • Blind spot systems

  • City safety scanning

  • Pedestrian detection

  • Auto-braking

How often should a lambda sensor need replacing?

Several things can affect your sensor's lifespan, but typically you should replace your lambda sensor every 50k-100k miles. Your sensor should be checked periodically, to ensure its correct operation.

Due to the nature of their operation and their position in an extremely hot and dirty environment, the lambda sensor will wear out over time. In addition, vibrations or damage to connectors and/or wires can also cause failure. Another common cause of premature failure is contamination, which will most likely require a replacement sensor to be fitted.

The law, vehicle regulations and your MOT

A faulty lambda sensor is often flagged up during an MOT test. The current MOT test includes an emissions check, so any unusual emission results will be reported, and an advisory will be given on what work needs to be done.

Remember, it is advisable to check the sensor regularly, to ensure it functions well. It could save your car from failing an MOT, and improve your car’s fuel consumption, saving you money down the line.

What causes a lambda sensor to break?

Due to the nature of their operation and their position in an extremely hot and dirty environment, your lambda sensor will wear out over time. Damage to the heater element of the sensor is the most frequent fault associated with lambda sensors. In addition, vibrations or damage to connectors and/or wires can also cause failure. Another common cause of premature failure is contamination from debris, dust and carbon.

When should a lambda sensor be replaced?

Several things can affect your sensor's lifespan, but typically, it should last anywhere between 50k and 100k miles.

In the past sensors didn’t have a heating element, so required the exhaust temperature to reach a specific heat to operate. Nowadays modern sensors are fitted with a heating element, taking a lot of the pressure off the sensor. These newer sensors have a much longer lifespan.

Your sensor should be checked periodically, to ensure its correct operation.

What are the signs of a bad lambda sensor?

Usually, there a few signs you can look for:

  • Your engine performance will suffer—often misfiring, cutting out or not starting at all

  • When your engine is idling, or just ticking over, it will feel rough and lumpy compared to normal

  • Fuel consumption is higher than normal

  • Your car has failed an emission test

  • The engine warning light will illuminate on your dashboard

What happens during a lambda sensor replacement?

During the repair our certified mechanics will:

  • Read the ECU for possible fault codes related to the lambda sensor.

  • They will inspect the sensor and ancillaries (like the electrical connectors).

  • If necessary, the mechanic will replace the lambda sensor.

  • The mechanic will advise if other components need to be replaced as well.

  • They will check the sensors again.

  • The mechanic will test drive the car, and make any final adjustments.

What is the average life of a lambda sensor?

Several things can affect the lifespan of your lambda sensor, but typically, it should last anywhere between 50k and 100k miles. The sensor may have to be replaced sooner if it becomes damaged or corroded.

Can you drive with a broken lambda sensor?

Technically you can drive with a faulty lambda sensor, however we don’t recommend it. You'll want to change it as soon as possible, because otherwise, you'll be spending more money on fuel and you risk having to splash out on a new catalytic converter as well.

What happens if you don't change the lambda sensor?

A broken or faulty lambda sensor will lead to the ECU not being able to regulate the fuel / air mixture correctly which can result in the engine running lean or rich. In turn the car will likely have poor fuel consumption, it might also cause the car to fail an emissions test.

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