3 Ways a Faulty Oxygen Sensor Can Cost You


The oxygen sensor is responsible for determining the volume of oxygen in the exhaust. The feedback is used by the engine to determine whether to increase or decrease the fuel intake to increase the efficiency of the combustion cycle. A damaged oxygen sensor leads to several problems; be sure to get the sensor inspected by an auto repair center to avoid said problems.

Reduced Gas Mileage

Reduced gas mileage is one of the consequences of driving with a bad oxygen sensor that may people fear. This is probably because bad fuel economy has an instant effect; it places a dent in your pocket as you have to spend more money to cover the same distance as before. So how does this happen?

If your oxygen sensor is defective, then it may detect too much oxygen even if there if the levels of the gas are ordinary. When this happens, the engine's fuel delivery system will react by sending more fuel to balance the air-fuel ratio. The result is that your engine will be unnecessarily combusting extra fuel.

Reduced Car Performance

Apart from reduced gas mileage, you should also be prepared for some reduced performance. This is not something that will just worry performance enthusiasts or owners of muscle cars; it can also affect you in normal driving. For example, you may find it difficult to accelerate, which may make overtaking difficult.

The reduced performance occurs because the engine will not be combusting the correct air/fuel ratio it is designed to burn to produce maximum power. When the ratio isn't right, or if the spark plugs misfire, then the engine will be running rough because it will be thrown out of its normal cycle.

Emission Test Failure

A faulty oxygen sensor can also lead to the production of too much smog by the exhaust. The environment already has its "unfair" share of greenhouse gases; you shouldn't be making the situation worse by driving a car with too much smog emissions. However, even if your car's dirty exhaust gases doesn't prick your conscience, it may get you in trouble with the law since it's illegal to operate a car with a failed smog test.

This smog is mainly comprised of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. The increase in their production occurs because of the unbalanced air/fuel ratio. If the mixture has too much fuel (or too little oxygen), then the fuel is not burnt to its entirety and the exhaust becomes foul.

As you can see, it's costly to drive with a faulty oxygen sensor. Just like other car parts, the oxygen sensor has a limited lifetime and should be changed just before it reaches its limit. Apart from following your car manufacturer's recommendation, your mechanic will also check the sensor's performance during routine maintenance practices and advise you to change it if it's necessary.


1 April 2015

maintaining the brakes on your car

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