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Six Signs Your Car’s Oxygen Sensor Is Going Bad

Also called the O2 sensor, the oxygen sensor performs the crucial task of keeping track of the amount of oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust. On average, an oxygen sensor will last anywhere from 96,000 kilometres to 145,000 kilometres. When the oxygen sensor goes bad, it will either fail completely or send skewed data to the engine control module. In either case, Central Auto Care advises that you will notice one or more of the following signs listed below.

Black Exhaust Smoke

If the oxygen sensor is sending skewed data to the engine control module, it may increase the amount of petrol in the combustion chamber unnecessarily. When this happens, your automobile’s engine has no choice but to burn off the excess petrol. You may end up with black exhaust smoke coming out of your tailpipe as a result.

Check Engine Warning

Usually, when the oxygen sensor goes bad, it sends an error code to the engine control module. When the engine control module receives this error code, it turns on the check engine light to let you know that your engine is having problems. In this case, the problem is a malfunctioning O2 sensor.

Engine Performance Trouble

Depending on whether you have too much air or too much fuel in the combustion chamber, your engine will experience performance issues. When there is excess air in the chamber, your acceleration will lag and your engine will stutter. It might even stall. When there is excess petrol in the chamber, your engine will surge forward and buck like a bronco.

Petrol Efficiency Loss

In either case, you will notice a reduction in your vehicle’s petrol efficiency. You won’t get as many miles per litre as you normally do because the engine is either burning away excess petrol or it is working too hard due to petrol starvation.

High Vehicle Emissions

Another problem with the malfunctioning oxygen sensor is an increase in your vehicle’s emissions. When the engine is burning away excess petrol, you will end up with excess carbon in your vehicle’s exhaust. This can cause it to fail any emissions test it might take until such time as you replace the oxygen sensor.

Rotten Egg Smell

Finally, excess petrol can also cause problems with the catalytic converter. As the catalytic converter tries to convert the excess carbon monoxide, it will eventually get clogged and fail. Consequently, you will smell sulfur, which many describe as smelling like rotten eggs, in your vehicle’s engine and/or exhaust.

Call Central Auto Care in Okotoks, AB, today if you suspect that your oxygen sensor is going bad. We can replace the O2 sensor if it needs it.

Photo by Nottpossible from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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