Common symptoms of a faulty vehicle oxygen sensor are inclusive of the Check Engine Light that comes on, additional bad gas mileage, and a rough idle too.
The oxygen sensor in your car measures the level of oxygen in the exhaust gases leaving the engine. This information is then made use of by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to know the correct air to fuel ratio for your car engine in real time. The sensor is found in the exhaust system and let the fuel injection and engine timing to operate efficiently, which assists with emissions control. The oxygen sensor then transmits the data to the car’s PCM to keep the optimal air to fuel ratio for your car engine. A bad or failing oxygen sensor will have a negative implication on environmental emissions and engine work, so there are a 3 things to check out for before your oxygen sensor entirely fails.
1. The check Engine Lights
The first direction of defense is the Check Engine Light. The Check Engine Light will come on if you have a bad or failing oxygen sensor. As soon as this light comes on, meet a professional automotive technician for a check engine light check. This light can illuminate on for many different reasons, so it is vital to have it looked at by a professional who can correctly check the exact cause. If you have high a mileage car, there’s a good chance it has a bad oxygen sensor in need of change.
2. Bad gas mileage and smell of rotten egg
If the oxygen sensor that is going bad, the fuel-delivery and fuel-combustion systems will be thrown off. If a bad oxygen sensor affects the air to fuel ratio mixture, or too much fuel is passed into the engine, your car’s gas mileage will be lowered. This excess fuel in the engine can generate a sulfuric, rotten egg smell, and may even create black smoke from the exhaust. If yourself filling up your gas tank more often, maintain a record of how many gallons you fill up with and how often you do so. If it is more than usual, have a professional mechanic check out your oxygen sensor.
3. Rough engine idle that misfires
As your oxygen sensor is becoming bad you may observe your vehicle is running rough, misfiring or running irregularly while idling. You may also observe other engine performance problems, such as loss of power, hesitation, or stalling. Since the oxygen sensor output helps control engine timing, combustion intervals, and the air to fuel ratio, a bad sensor can disrupt these engine functions, causing a rough or irregular engine idle and other engine-related issues.
When to change the sensor
If your car was manufactured within the past 15 years, the oxygen sensor should be changed every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. This sensor does wear out and will require replacement over time. Change of a bad or failing oxygen sensor will lower the level of emissions your car puts into the atmosphere while keeping your engine running smoothly and normally. As soon as you observe your Check Engine Light, poor gas mileage, or an irregular engine idle, get an appointment to have your oxygen sensor changed. This will make sure your car is running smoothly, efficiently, and will assist prolong the life of your car engine.