When Will My Oxygen Sensor Go Bad?

If you drive an older automobile, your oxygen sensor could go bad as soon as 30,000 miles. Generally, it won’t last longer than 50,000 miles. If you drive a newer automobile, you should get 100,000 miles out of your oxygen sensor. Also called the O2 sensor, CAR FIX in Maryville is going to list the signs of a bad oxygen sensor below so you know what to look for.

Check Engine Warning

One of the first things that will happen is your check engine light will turn on. The oxygen sensor is tasked with measuring exhaust oxygen levels. When it goes bad, it sends an error code to the engine control module. The module cannot fix a faulty oxygen sensor. Consequently, the only thing it can do is turn on the check engine light to warn you of the problem.

Dark Engine Exhaust

When the oxygen sensor goes bad, the engine control module might make unnecessary adjustments to the fuel and air balance in the combustion chamber. Consequently, your car might end up with more fuel in the chamber than it needs. When this happens, the engine burns away the excess fuel and you might end up with dark exhaust flowing out of the tailpipe.

High Emissions Levels

This excess fuel will also increase the emissions your vehicle releases into the environment. If you live in a state that requires emissions testing, your vehicle will not pass the test with a malfunctioning O2 sensor. Part of the reason why is that it won’t pass the test if the check engine light is on.

Loss of Fuel Efficiency

Unfortunately, a faulty O2 sensor can also affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. This is because it can cause the engine performance problems that we are going to talk about next. Anytime your engine struggles to run or runs too fast, it goes through the gasoline or diesel fuel more quickly.

Performance Trouble

Because of the imbalance in the combustion chamber, your engine may surge sporadically as it burns away unnecessary fuel. If there is too much air in the chamber, the engine will sputter and lag. You will continue to have these engine performance issues until the oxygen sensor is replaced.

Rotten Egg Exhaust Odor

Finally, a faulty O2 sensor can affect the catalytic converter. If there is too much fuel in the combustion chamber, the converter must process extra hydrocarbons. When this happens, the catalytic converter will clog more quickly.

Call CAR FIX in Maryville, TN, today if you believe your vehicle needs a new oxygen sensor.

Photo by Nottpossible from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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