A bad oxygen (O2) sensor can make it difficult to drive your automobile. This sensor is located in the tailpipe and its primary job is to keep track of the oxygen that is being released through your vehicle’s exhaust. The average lifespan of an O2 sensor is anywhere from 60,000 miles to 90,000 miles. If you have higher mileage than that on your automobile and you’ve never replaced the oxygen sensor, Padron Automotive warns that the O2 sensor is going bad, possibly, if you notice any of the following problems.
Black Engine Exhaust
If the O2 sensor sends incorrect readings to the engine control module, you may end up with too much fuel in your combustion chamber. This will cause black exhaust to flow out of your tailpipe because the engine has no choice other than to burn away the excess fuel.
Check Engine Light Warning
You may also end up with the check engine light warning on the dashboard. This is because the oxygen sensor has sent an error code to the engine control module to alert it that the O2 sensor is in trouble. Once the engine control module receives the error code, it turns on the check engine light until you get the oxygen sensor replaced.
Your engine and acceleration may hesitate if the O2 sensor is bad. Again, when the O2 sensor sends incorrect readings to the engine control module, it is forced to make what it thinks are much-needed corrections to the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Too much air in the chamber will cause your engine and acceleration to hesitate. Too much fuel will cause both to surge.
Fuel Efficiency Reduction
Another sign that you have a bad oxygen sensor is a reduction in your vehicle’s fuel economy. The oxygen sensor is just one of many parts that helps your vehicle run as efficiently as possible. When it begins to malfunction, your engine loses a majority of its efficiency and it will burn through diesel fuel or gasoline much faster.
High Emissions Levels
Consequently, this also causes higher carbon levels in your vehicle’s exhaust. As a result, your vehicle will not pass an emissions test. The only way to resolve the problem is to replace the malfunctioning O2 sensor so that the air and fuel mixture balance in the combustion chamber returns to normal.
Rotten Egg Smell
Finally, excess carbon can also damage your vehicle’s catalytic converter. If this happens, you will smell sulfur in the engine bay and in your vehicle’s exhaust. Sulfur smells like rotten eggs.
Call Padron Automotive in Topeka, KS, to schedule an appointment for your automobile if you suspect the O2 sensor is malfunctioning.