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Things About Your Vehicle’s Oxygen Sensor You Might Not Know

You know that your automobile will not pass the emissions test if your oxygen sensor is bad, especially if you’ve dealt with this headache in the past. What you might not know is what the oxygen sensor does, why it’s important, and how you can tell it could be dying before it actually does. We here at Checkpoint Motors say let’s talk about oxygen sensors in this blog post. This automotive part doesn’t have to have the stigma that most people attach to it.

Oxygen Sensor Purpose

Let’s talk first about what the oxygen sensor does and why it’s important. The sensor measures the level of oxygen in your vehicle’s engine and exhaust. Without the correct ratio of air in the air/fuel combination pushed into the combustion chamber, your automobile will not perform as it should. This is the first reason why the sensor is important. The second reason why is your vehicle’s exhaust. Without the right amount of oxygen in the exhaust, your vehicle could be releasing harmful gases into the environment. Vehicles manufactured after 1980 have these sensors to boost their performance and reduce their carbon footprint.

Signs the Sensor Is in Trouble

In some cases, the sensor will give you a warning that it’s going bad. Because the sensor helps with vehicle performance and emissions, the symptoms of oxygen sensor failure make sense once you know them. If your car, truck, CUV, or SUV’s oxygen sensor is going bad, you might notice

  • A significant reduction in your vehicle’s gas mileage
  • Your vehicle idles roughly
  • Your vehicle sputters or stalls when you accelerate

As the sensor continues to fail, your check engine light will come on to alert you of trouble, although you won’t know immediately that it’s your sensor. Finally, your vehicle will not pass its next emissions test with a bad sensor because of the oxygen ratio in the exhaust.

One More Consideration

One more consideration is your vehicle’s age. If your vehicle is older and you’ve driven it for 100,000 miles or more without changing the sensor, it’s time to start saving for this repair. Oxygen sensors have a lifespan just as any other automotive part does, and the average lifespan is 90,000 to 100,000 miles, although some have been known to fail prior to that while others have gone much longer.

If you suspect your sensor is bad, call Checkpoint Motors in Oregon City, OR, to set up a diagnostic check.

Photo by Phantom1311 from Getty Images via Canva Pro