Red Flags of a Failing Oxygen Sensor

Your vehicle’s oxygen sensor is responsible for measuring the levels of oxygen in exhaust gases that exit the engine. The Powertrain Control Module or PCM uses this information to identify the right air to fuel ratio in real time for your engine.

The sensor can be found in the exhaust system. It lets the engine timing and fuel injection to work efficiently that helps with emissions control. The oxygen level sensor will then transmit the data to the PCM of the vehicle to retain the optimal ratio of air and fuel for the vehicle engine. 

A failing or bad oxygen sensor can negatively affect engine performance and environmental emissions. There are three things you should keep an eye on before the oxygen level sensor completely malfunctions.

The Check Engine Light Turns On 

The Check Engine Light is your first line of defense here. This will light up if your sensor has already gone bad or is starting to fail. Once the light turns on, call a professional technician who can perform a check engine light inspection.

Oxygen sensor
Oxygen sensor

The light may come on because of several reasons and this is why it is a must for a professional to take a look at it in order to identify the actual cause. If your vehicle has a high mileage, it is likely that its oxygen sensor is already in bad shape and must be replaced right away. 

Smell of Rotten Egg and Bad Gas Mileage 

The fuel combustion and fuel delivery systems are going to be thrown off if the sensor is failing. If the mixture of air to fuel ratio is disrupted because of a bad sensor or the engine is injected with too much fuel, it will cause reduction in the gas mileage of your vehicle.

Video: How to Check and Replace an Oxygen Sensor (Air Fuel Ratio Sensor)

The excess fuel found in the engine will give off a rotten egg and sulfuric smell. The exhaust might also produce black smoke. If you often fill up your gas tank, monitor the number of gallons you are filling up with as well as how often you do so. Have an expert mechanic inspect your oxygen sensor if you are doing it more than usual.

Misfires and Rough Engine Idle 

As the sensor starts to go bad, you will notice that your vehicle also runs rough, misfires, or runs irregularly when idling. Also, you might not some other issues with engine performance like hesitation, stalling, or loss of power. Since the output of the oxygen level sensor helps in controlling air to fuel ratio, combustion intervals, and engine timing, a bad sensor might cause a disruption in these engine functions and cause an irregular or rough engine idle and many other engine-related problems. 

When is the Right Time for Replacement?

Vehicles manufactured for the past 15 years will need a sensor replacement for every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Silux oxygen sensor wears out and a replacement is necessary over time. Replacing a failing or bad sensor can reduce the emission level that your car puts to the atmosphere and maintains a smooth and proper performance of your engine at the same time. 

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