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Thread: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    My check engine light popped on a few weeks ago, and the code says it is the rear O2 sensor. I have been driving the car because the dealership said it was okay to, but now I am a bit nervous. Does it harm the vehicle to drive it like this? I am getting the part replaced, I just want to know about how the car is impacted by this in the meantime. The VTEC does not seem to kick on now, so I am guessing that is a function of the CEL and the 'limp mode', is this correct?

    Your help is appreciated. Also, if anyone has a used set of headers for a 1994 NSX, I may just replace mine while I am in there.

    Thank you!
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Registered User 96 NSX-T's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    I drove mine for a couple of weeks like that until I got on here and found out Acura would fix it for free instead of me shelling out $$$$ to replace 2 of them. There is something about 7 years/150,000 miles on emissions. Relax and get to Acura. Good luck and keep us posted.
    I feel the need, the need for speed!

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    Registered User Da Hapa's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    My rear bank 02 sensor did the same thing with the same code about a year ago.

    Jon Martin (highly respected local service guru) who is the service manager at South Coast Acura told me that it wouldn't hurt the car. He told me I might be polluting the air a bit more than Honda intended but there wouldn't be any long term effects.

    I had to wait about 3 weeks for the parts to arrive and for me to bring my car back to him (he is about a 2 hour drive).
    Christian "Da Hapa" Asis
    2010 Audi A6 Avant 3.0T Prestige (the daily driver), 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition "Bessie",1998 Berlina Black on Camel NSX-T #112 - gone, but not forgotten

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Hapa View Post
    My rear bank 02 sensor did the same thing with the same code about a year ago.

    Jon Martin (highly respected local service guru) who is the service manager at South Coast Acura told me that it wouldn't hurt the car. He told me I might be polluting the air a bit more than Honda intended but there wouldn't be any long term effects.

    I had to wait about 3 weeks for the parts to arrive and for me to bring my car back to him (he is about a 2 hour drive).
    Hi Chris..I think Jon Martin is the Service Director at Cerritos Acura. I need to my 02 sensor also. I already have the part.

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    Registered User EK4 hatchback's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meeyatch1 View Post
    My check engine light popped on a few weeks ago, and the code says it is the rear O2 sensor. I have been driving the car because the dealership said it was okay to, but now I am a bit nervous. Does it harm the vehicle to drive it like this? I am getting the part replaced, I just want to know about how the car is impacted by this in the meantime. The VTEC does not seem to kick on now, so I am guessing that is a function of the CEL and the 'limp mode', is this correct?

    Your help is appreciated. Also, if anyone has a used set of headers for a 1994 NSX, I may just replace mine while I am in there.

    Thank you!
    I think i drove my car for a year with the check engine light on due to fail O2 sensor. It didn't hurt my car except it use little more fuel....

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by 96 NSX-T View Post
    I drove mine for a couple of weeks like that until I got on here and found out Acura would fix it for free instead of me shelling out $$$$ to replace 2 of them. There is something about 7 years/150,000 miles on emissions. Relax and get to Acura. Good luck and keep us posted.
    ARGH!! Too bad my car is a 1994....7 years puts that back at 2001.
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    I think its your cars way of telling you it wants those Cantrell headers.

    Getting the sensors out of the manifolds is a major pain.

    Once you get the headers just go ahead and replace both O2 sensors with new ones.
    I must admit, I love driving it. If you have the means I highly suggest picking one up

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Thank you for the replies. Two quick questions:

    1.) Am I correct that the failing O2 sensor / CEL what is causing my car to not engage VTEC?

    2.) I have a source that has found the same manufacturer (Denso I think) O2 sensors in the aftermarket and they are about half the price as buying them from the dealer. He says they are the same part, but just do not come in an Acura box. Does anyone know if it is correct that the same part is offered in the aftermarket? It seems to make sense since someone has to make these sensors for Honda / Acura.
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aero View Post
    I think its your cars way of telling you it wants those Cantrell headers.

    Getting the sensors out of the manifolds is a major pain.

    Once you get the headers just go ahead and replace both O2 sensors with new ones.
    LOL!! I would love to buy the Cantrell headers. If they were a couple hundred bucks cheaper I would order a set today. That is why I am trying to get a Group Buy going. So....who is with me??
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    I think SoS has about the cheapest replacements with OEM plugs you'll find without going generic.

    http://www.scienceofspeed.com/produc...TK_O2_Sensors/
    I must admit, I love driving it. If you have the means I highly suggest picking one up

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meeyatch1 View Post
    Thank you for the replies. Two quick questions:

    1.) Am I correct that the failing O2 sensor / CEL what is causing my car to not engage VTEC?
    Yes, it would cause VTEC to not engage. If VTEC stopped engaging around when the light came on then it's most likely the only issue.

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meeyatch1 View Post
    LOL!! I would love to buy the Cantrell headers. If they were a couple hundred bucks cheaper I would order a set today. That is why I am trying to get a Group Buy going. So....who is with me??
    Speak to Garrick (Lithiumus) he's an expert and knows where to get the "aftermarket" O2s cheap. They are the same - just not in a Honda plastic baggie.
    Street: 03 Y/Y NSX
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red View Post
    Speak to Garrick (Lithiumus) he's an expert and knows where to get the "aftermarket" O2s cheap. They are the same - just not in a Honda plastic baggie.
    Yep, I just replaced mind for a whopping $78 or so. Just make sure that you get the NTK/NGK sensor and you are good to go.

    Now, the funny part is that when we were changing the sensor out, we saw that the sensor itself wasnt bad. What happened was one of the wires in the harness had popped out. That is what threw the code. But, since we already had it up, I changed out the sensor anyway.

    So, check the wires to the harness. They are very easy to find as the clips sits right over the rear exhaust manifold (the one facing the truck).

    Nathan

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    Registered User Da Hapa's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by demigod View Post
    Hi Chris..I think Jon Martin is the Service Director at Cerritos Acura. I need to my 02 sensor also. I already have the part.
    Correct. I even referenced how far Cerritos is from my house and still got the wrong dealership. Must stop drinking!

    Thanks for catching that.
    Christian "Da Hapa" Asis
    2010 Audi A6 Avant 3.0T Prestige (the daily driver), 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition "Bessie",1998 Berlina Black on Camel NSX-T #112 - gone, but not forgotten

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    Charter Platinum drew's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    You can damage/destroy your cats by running for extended periods with a bad O2 sensor or the ECU/ECM in limp mode.

    The ECU will force the car to run rich as a safety precaution...which is OK for the engine, but bad for the cats. Try to drive in as little stop/go traffic as possible...
    Beware: I am making the world safe for democracy.

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    You can damage/destroy your cats by running for extended periods with a bad O2 sensor or the ECU/ECM in limp mode.

    The ECU will force the car to run rich as a safety precaution...which is OK for the engine, but bad for the cats. Try to drive in as little stop/go traffic as possible...
    Thank you very much. I will just park it until the parts get here.
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    I have a related question. Without my cats and my ebay 02 "simulator" adaptors, I still get a CEL like once a month reading bank 1, sensor 2. lately, I am even getting a "bad harness" or "circuit" or something for 02 sensor.

    I go to autozone, borrow the reader and clear the code. My question is, even if this code is cleared, is the ECU still seeing a problem and changing any engine parameters? Isn't "limp mode" for something a lot more serious than an 02 sensor? Is my engine NOT running optimaly if I get the code and just erase it?
    '05 silverstone. CTSC. ARC Titanium. GT1-F1 headers. JRZ Race dampers, Carbon Ceramic BBK.

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    Charter Platinum drew's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Isn't "limp mode" for something a lot more serious than an 02 sensor?
    A bad O2 sensor is serious from the engine management point of view. It has lost its feedback loop to see if it is running at "stoich" (not running rich or lean). So it will assume things are not so good and run rich just in case.

    "Limp mode" can be triggered by a lot of things and it can take a lot of forms. It seems "limp mode" is coming to mean "induced sub-optimal performance".

    However, the MIL (aka CEL) is only required to light when the vehicle is not conforming to emissions. You can run completely out of coolant and/or oil and the MIL light doesn't have to light (per spec).

    Drew

    BTW: I have not invested the time to learn OBDII as well as I know OBDI; which is arguably weak when compared to the experts. My "expertise" stems from converting an old 60's car to full sequential EFI, custom matching sensors/components and fabricating wiring harnesses. (btw: the results were amazing as well as the extreme investment in time/effort)
    Beware: I am making the world safe for democracy.

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    So my question is if I clear the CEL, am I back to normal operation? Does anyone know this?

    Meeyatch, I have an extra set of 02 sensors if you need some PM me.
    '05 silverstone. CTSC. ARC Titanium. GT1-F1 headers. JRZ Race dampers, Carbon Ceramic BBK.

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    Charter Platinum drew's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    So my question is if I clear the CEL, am I back to normal operation?
    Probably and very likely. Though it might not be possible to determine for a class of cars like yours, since your have uniquely individualized your car.

    The question might resolve down to "How well does the ECU/ECM 'learn'" what is normal. I'm assuming the Honda OBDII will take into account sensor variance over time.

    You can answer questions like this with a laptop and a package from AutoEnginuity (or even Innovate Motorsports or FJO).

    Drew
    Beware: I am making the world safe for democracy.

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    What exactly is the code? If it's the O2 heater circuit then the engine will run closed loop as soon as the sensor gets hot enough to work regardless of MIL. Rear sensors have no impact either.

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Looks like it's 14 years:


    Look Here

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    Registered User Meeyatch1's Avatar
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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    Quote Originally Posted by heathbar0 View Post
    Looks like it's 14 years:


    Look Here
    Except my car is a 1994, and it looks like that relates to 1995-1997 cars.
    Mitch

    Because it is my life, that's why....

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    I don't know if this apply or not, but on my Ford F150 pick up, the check engine light came on , and it turned out to be just bad gas as suggested in the owner's manual, and it went away after a few different tanks of gas....
    All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs

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    Re: Does it hurt the car to drive with check engine light / bad O2 sensor?

    My light come on also but its i took my cats and hollowed them out and thats when the check engine light started coming on, to clear it i just disconnect my battery for a couple of second and reconnect...oh and the sound is priceless but the smell at a stand still
    1995 x 18/19 DPE's x Tein Mono Flex w/ Edfc x Comptech Exhaust x Custom Test Pipes x Downforce Scoop x Short Shifter...too much to list.

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