Unless you drive a vintage automobile, your car, truck, or utility vehicle has an oxygen (O2) sensor. You will find the oxygen sensor at the beginning of your tailpipe because it is tasked with measuring the amount of oxygen there is in your vehicle’s exhaust. This measurement is important because it lets the engine control module know whether the engine needs more air or fuel. Mike’s Auto Service & Repair lists six signs below that your oxygen sensor is failing.
1. Black Exhaust Smoke
If the engine control module receives incorrect readings from the oxygen sensor, it will make adjustments to the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. These adjustments will be wrong because the oxygen sensor readings are wrong. If there is too much fuel in the engine’s combustion chamber, your vehicle will release black exhaust as the engine burns away the fuel.
2. Burning Sulfur Smell
This excess fuel will also overload the catalytic converter, and, as a consequence, it may die prematurely. One sign that the catalytic converter is failing is a burning sulfur smell that most people describe as rotten eggs. Because the catalytic converter changes the chemical structure of carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, it’s important you get any burning sulfur smells investigated right away.
3. Emission Test Failure
Another consequence of too much fuel in the combustion chamber is an emissions test failure. Your vehicle will not pass any smog or emissions test because the excess fuel is causing excess carbon to be introduced into your vehicle’s exhaust. A failing oxygen sensor can definitely cause this problem.
4. Engine Performance Trouble
Fuel imbalances can also make your engine perform sporadically. When the engine doesn’t have enough fuel, it will stutter and stall. When the engine has too much fuel, it will surge. It might also stall if the excess fuel is to the point that it is flooding the engine.
5. Low Gas Mileage
Either of the above conditions will cause your vehicle to blow through gasoline or diesel fuel. This is because the engine is either working too hard to accommodate what little fuel it has, or it is burning excess fuel that the engine control module is sending into the combustion chamber.
6. Warning Light
Finally, all of the above will also cause your check engine light to illuminate on your vehicle’s dashboard. This is the engine control module letting you know that there’s a problem in the engine that, in this case, can be traced back to an oxygen sensor that is going bad.
Mike’s Auto Service & Repair is the best auto shop in West Springfield MA. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for an oxygen sensor test.