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Oxygen Sensor Malfunctions Create the Following Problems

Swing by MD Auto Repair if your vehicle is having any of the problems listed below. These problems are signs that your oxygen sensor, also called the O2 sensor, is malfunctioning. This can happen at about 100,000 miles in newer automobiles and sooner in older automobiles.

Illuminated Check Engine Light

One of the first things that will happen with a malfunctioning O2 sensor is your check engine light will turn on. The sensor reports an error to the engine control unit or ECU when it malfunctions. The ECU cannot replace the oxygen sensor, so it illuminates the check engine light to alert you of a problem.

Poor Engine Performance

Your vehicle needs the O2 sensor to measure the exhaust oxygen level. The O2 sensor notifies the ECU of this level so it can make sure there is plenty of air and fuel in the combustion chamber. A faulty O2 sensor may cause the ECU to make adjustments to the air and fuel that will cause poor engine performance, such as sputtering, or surging engine performance that picks up speed by itself.

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

These engine performance problems will reduce your car, truck, or utility vehicle’s fuel efficiency because the engine will burn more fuel under both conditions. Even if the engine is sputtering and lagging, it is still burning more fuel as it tries to run with too much air in the chamber.

Increased Hydrocarbons

When the engine surges, this means the ECU has put too much fuel into the chamber. Unfortunately, as the engine burns away the extra fuel, it releases more hydrocarbons in your vehicle’s exhaust. The catalytic converter may struggle to treat these hydrocarbons as it will be overloaded.

Black Exhaust Smoke

One sign that the catalytic converter was unable to convert the hydrocarbons is black exhaust smoke flowing out of the tailpipe. This is an indication that the engine has too much fuel in the combustion chamber. Again, this can be indirectly caused by a faulty O2 sensor.

Rancid Odors in the Exhaust

Another sign that the catalytic converter is malfunctioning because it’s being inundated with hydrocarbons is rancid odors in the exhaust. Specifically, your exhaust will smell like rotten eggs because the converter is getting clogged with sulfur deposits. Replacing the dead O2 sensor can restore the balance in the combustion chamber, your engine’s performance, and your fuel economy.

MD Auto Repair in Kansas City, MO, is here to help, so give us a call today to set up a service visit so we can test the oxygen sensor and replace it if necessary.