Signs My Oxygen Sensor Is Malfunctioning

The main computer chip in your automobile is called the engine control module, and it relies on the oxygen sensor to report how much oxygen is in your vehicle’s exhaust. The module uses this information to make sure there is always the right balance of air and fuel in the combustion chamber. If the oxygen sensor malfunctions, the module may make unnecessary adjustments to this balance. Let’s talk more about this below.

Illuminated CEL

Also called the O2 sensor, the check engine light is going to come on if the sensor goes bad. The reason why is that the sensor reports its own error to the engine control module. The O2 sensor does not have a dashboard warning light, so the module turns on the check engine light. Unfortunately, this light will remain illuminated until you replace the oxygen sensor.

Poor Performance

As we mentioned above, the module may mess with the balance of air and fuel in the combustion chamber if the O2 sensor is malfunctioning. Consequently, you will end up with sketchy vehicle performance that includes lagging or surging. This indicates that there is a lean or rich fuel mixture in the cylinders, respectively. As such, your engine will struggle.

Reduced Economy

Unfortunately, the performance issues are also going to reduce the gas mileage that your vehicle gets. This is a huge problem for many people these days because gas is so expensive. You may not have the bandwidth in your budget to head to the service station more often.

Rotten Egg Odors

A faulty O2 sensor can also cause problems with the catalytic converter. If there is a rich fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, the converter will be tasked with treating more hydrocarbons. Consequently, these carbons and sulfur will build up inside the converter and clog it. Consequently, the converter will start to release rotten egg odors in your vehicle’s exhaust.

Black Exhaust Smoke

Another sign that the converter is being overworked or that you have a rich fuel mixture in the cylinders is black exhaust smoke. When the engine burns excess fuel, it creates black exhaust. You may feel as if you are driving a diesel automobile even though you have a gasoline engine.

High Emissions Levels

Finally, the rich fuel mixture is also going to mess with your emissions levels. As such, you may end up with a failed emissions test until you replace the malfunctioning O2 sensor.

Do not worry. We can do that here at our shop. Give us a call today to set up a service appointment.

Photo by BirdKportfolio from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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