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How Can I Tell if I Need to Replace My Car’s Oxygen Sensor?

The average lifespan of an oxygen (O2) sensor is anywhere from 60,000 miles to 90,000 miles. If you have that kind of mileage on your automobile, this is the first sign that you may need to replace your car’s oxygen sensor. This isn’t the only sign, however. J&S Auto Repair lists signs below that your O2 sensor is going bad and needs to be replaced.

Black Exhaust Smoke

You may end up with black exhaust smoke pouring out of your tailpipe because the O2 sensor has tricked the engine control module to put more fuel in the combustion chamber by sending incorrect data. The smoke is being caused by the engine burning away the excess fuel.

Dashboard Warning

One of the most common reasons why your check engine light will come on is a bad O2 sensor. The sensor will send an error code to the engine control module once it goes bad, and the module will turn on the check engine light to alert you there’s a problem.

Engine Trouble

If you have too much fuel in your combustion chamber, your vehicle will buck and surge as if it were a bucking bronco. If the oxygen sensor sends a reading that causes the engine control module to increase the air in the combustion chamber, your acceleration and engine performance will lag.

Fuel Efficiency Loss

You may also realize a significant or minor loss in your vehicle’s gas mileage when the oxygen sensor goes bad. This is being caused by the imbalance of the air and fuel in the combustion chamber. The engine has to work harder when it doesn’t have the right amount of air and fuel in it.

High Emission Levels

Unfortunately, a failing oxygen sensor will cause your vehicle to fail its emissions test. This is because you may have excess emissions in your vehicle’s exhaust due to the additional fuel in the combustion chamber, i.e., you have more carbon in your exhaust.

Rotten Egg Odors

Finally, a malfunctioning O2 sensor can also cause problems with your automobile’s catalytic converter. These problems will manifest themselves in the smell of rotten eggs coming from your engine and also in your vehicle’s exhaust.

J&S Auto Repair is the best auto repair shop in Warwick, RI, and we’d be happy to test your oxygen sensor to see if it is going bad. If it is, we can replace it. If it isn’t, we will get to the source of your engine trouble.

Photo by Birdlkportfolio from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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