Your vehicle releases many different things in its exhaust. One of those things is oxygen. The oxygen or O2 sensor keeps track of the oxygen levels in the exhaust. It reports this data to the engine control module so it can make adjustments to the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber if necessary. If the oxygen sensor goes bad, Checkpoint Motors warns that you might experience some of the following problems.
If the engine control module has increased the amount of fuel in the combustion chamber due to a misreading by the oxygen sensor, your vehicle may release black exhaust as it burns away the excess fuel. In severe cases, some drivers have reported sparks or flames coming out of the tailpipes. You shouldn’t continue to drive your automobile if it’s releasing excess black exhaust smoke.
Check Engine Light
The engine control module will turn on the check engine light even though it is, in part, creating the problem. Because it’s receiving misinformation from the O2 sensor, it’s making adjustments to the air and fuel that are causing other problems to occur. Once it receives the error codes as a result of these problems, it will turn on the check engine light to alert you of trouble.
Speaking of trouble, a bad oxygen sensor can make your engine surge if it has too much gasoline and hiccup or stutter if it has too much air in it. You may also notice that you have a hard time getting your vehicle to accelerate when you press down on the accelerator if there is a severe imbalance in the air and fuel mixture. Replacing the oxygen sensor can resolve this problem.
Another problem with too much fuel in the combustion chamber is higher carbon emissions. As the engine burns away the gas, the carbon levels in the exhaust increase to the point that your vehicle will not pass an emissions test. This can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t have any of the other signs of a bad oxygen sensor going on with your automobile.
Rotten Egg Smell
Finally, the oxygen sensor going bad can cause problems with the catalytic converter. The reason why is that the excess fuel being pushed through the engine can clog the catalytic converter and you will smell rotten eggs in your vehicle’s exhaust and coming from the engine, as well. This is a sign that your catalytic converter is no longer functioning.
Checkpoint Motors in Oregon City, OR, advises that you might also notice problems with your vehicle’s fuel economy if the O2 sensor is malfunctioning. Give us a call today to schedule an inspection and test.