Will My Engine Act Up if My Oxygen Sensor Is Going Bad?

Yes, your engine will act up if your oxygen sensor is going bad. Also called the O2 sensor, this exhaust system part lasts about 50,000 miles before it begins to malfunction. This being said, your car’s O2 sensor might last longer. One way to tell whether the O2 sensor is going bad is to pay attention to strange things your vehicle will do. East Coast EuroWerks lists those strange things below.

Black Exhaust Smoke

The oxygen sensor lets the engine control unit (ECU) know how much oxygen is in your vehicle’s exhaust. This is important data for the ECU, as it can tell from this data whether adjustments need to be made to the air and fuel combination in the combustion chamber. If the O2 sensor sends incorrect information, the ECU may boost the fuel level in the chamber and you’ll end up with black exhaust.

Engine Acting Up

This can also make your engine act up. If there is excess fuel in the chamber, your engine will buck and surge. You’ll feel as if you’re driving a bucking bronco. If the ECU adjusts the air incorrectly, your engine will sputter and stall. This is because there isn’t enough fuel in the engine and it’s trying to run on air, which it can’t. These conditions can be caused by a failing oxygen sensor.

Excess Engine Emissions

A failing O2 sensor can also create excess carbon in your vehicle’s emissions. When the engine has too much fuel in the combustion chamber, it burns it away. This is one reason why you end up with black exhaust. The excess fuel also releases excess carbons in your exhaust, which means if you have a bad oxygen sensor, your car, truck, or utility vehicle won’t pass the emissions test.

Fuel Efficiency Loss

When there is an imbalance in the combustion chamber, your vehicle does not run efficiently. Unfortunately, an inefficient engine can also cause inefficient fuel usage. If your O2 sensor is malfunctioning, you may notice a significant loss in your vehicle’s gas mileage.

Rotten Egg Odors

You may also smell rotten eggs in your exhaust and coming from the engine bay. This is because the catalytic converter is being affected by the malfunctioning O2 sensor. If the catalytic converter has too much carbon passing through it, it will clog and malfunction itself.

Check Engine Warning

Finally, anyone or all of these things will cause the ECU to turn on the check engine light. The oxygen sensor may also trigger the check engine warning if it sends an error code to the ECU.

Call East Coast EuroWerks in Wilmington, NC, if you suspect that your European automobile’s oxygen sensor has gone bad. We can test it and replace it if necessary.

Photo by Nottpossible from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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