The Effects Of A Bad Oxygen Sensor On Your Vehicle

In order to take care of your car, you need to understand how everything works. Your car is comprised of multiple sensors that keep everything running. One of the most important sensors to know about is the oxygen sensor.

Most vehicles have at least two oxygen sensors, which are located near the exhaust pipe as well as the catalytic converter. The main job of the oxygen sensor is to measure how much oxygen is in your exhaust and convey this information to your vehicles emission control system. The information that your oxygen sensor sends to the emission control system helps the system adjust how much fuel and oxygen the engine needs to achieve the optimal fuel/air mixture for your vehicle.

A Bad Oxygen Sensor Can Set Off Your Check Engine Light

When an oxygen sensor goes bad, your vehicle will give you several different signs. One of the most obvious signs is your check engine light coming on. If your check engine light comes on, you can take it your an auto repair mechanic and they can hook up their computer system to your vehicle in order to find out what is causing your light to be on. 

A Bad Oxygen Sensor May Cause You To Get Poor Gas Mileage

Your vehicle may also give you a few other signs that your oxygen sensor is going out. If you have recently noticed that you are getting fewer miles to the gallon, the oxygen sensor may be the culprit. Since the oxygen system works in conjunction with the emission control system, when it is off, the emission control system may send more fuel than it needs to your engine. This can result in lower gas mileage.

A Bad Oxygen Sensor Can Cause Your Vehicle To Fail An Emission Test

If you have to take your vehicle in for an emission test, as is required in many states, you may fail it if your oxygen sensor is bad. That is because the fuel and air mixture inside of your engine is off since the emission control system is not getting the information it needs to work correctly. This can result in your engine burning too much fuel.

A Bad Oxygen Sensor Can Throw Off The Timing Of Your Engine

It is also possible for a bad oxygen sensor to throw off the engine's timing. You may notice that your engine is not running as smoothly as it once was. You may also hear sounds such as knocks and pings coming from the engine because the combustion process is not working properly.

Do not ignore the signs your vehicle is giving you. It does not cost very much nor does it take a lot of time to replace an oxygen sensor. If you fail to replace your oxygen sensor when it goes out, you can cause serious damage to the catalytic converter within your fuel system, which is much more costly to replace. If you want to get great gas mileage and keep your engine running smoothly, pay attention to your car and replace the oxygen sensor when it trips your check engine light.