Is Your Oxygen Sensor Going Bad? Here Are Signs That it Is!

Part of your vehicle’s exhaust system, the oxygen or O2 sensor measures the amount of oxygen your automobile is releasing through its tailpipe. Too much or too little oxygen can cause problems, including engine performance, fuel economy, and emissions issues. Advantage Auto Service can test your O2 sensor to make sure it’s working properly. Here are signs that the oxygen sensor is going bad.

Poor Fuel Economy

The oxygen sensor can affect how much fuel your vehicle’s engine burns. By measuring oxygen levels in the exhaust, the O2 sensor helps to ensure your automobile meters and delivers the correct amount of fuel depending on the demands you place on the engine. If the sensor’s readings are off, the engine might have too much or not enough fuel, both of which directly affect your vehicle’s gas mileage. If the engine is getting too much fuel, you may also end up with excess black exhaust smoke. If your car has suddenly become a gas guzzler, something is wrong and it could be the oxygen sensor.

Engine Performance Loss

Along with poor gas mileage, you might also notice engine performance issues if your oxygen sensor is going bad. If your car, truck, or SUV’s engine isn’t getting enough fuel because the sensor has reported the incorrect oxygen levels in the exhaust, you’ll notice your engine lagging and power loss rather than power gain when you try to accelerate. Your engine might also idle roughly or even stall. This could be because the fuel-to-air ratio is either too lean or too rich due to the misreading from the O2 sensor. It could also be a problem with the mass airflow sensor, carburetor, or fuel system.

Incorrect Vehicle Emissions Balance

All of the above can result in a vehicle emissions test failure, and the problem lies with the vehicle’s exhaust itself. When the oxygen sensor cannot measure the oxygen levels or is measuring the levels incorrectly, your exhaust is thrown off by too much or too little gasoline. For example, assume for the moment that the O2 sensor is causing a rich mixture, the exhaust will contain excess harmful gases that cannot be treated or burned before they are released through the tailpipe. The consequence is a failed vehicle emissions test until you replace the sensor to correct the underlying problem.

Let Advantage Auto Service in Marietta, GA, help. Give us a call today or stop by our shop.