Your vehicle has many sensors that help your car operate efficiently. Unfortunately, a bad sensor can cause problems that have a ripple effect across the entire vehicle. Your vehicle has several oxygen sensors that measure how much oxygen is in the exhaust system, which help control the amount of oxygen and fuel that the engine has. Here is what you need to know about this part going bad.
Engine Error Codes
A common sign of a bad oxygen sensor is a warning light on your dashboard. This light turns on because an error code has been generated due to a specific problem, and you'll need to take your vehicle in to be serviced in order to have that error code read by a mechanic. Unfortunately, an error code is not always generated when an oxygen sensor has gone bad.
Poor Engine Performance
Optimal engine performance happens when the engine has the perfect ratio of air to gasoline. The oxygen sensor plays a role in keeping the fuel and air ratio as ideal as possible, which is why a bad oxygen sensor will cause poor performance.
The oxygen sensor may indicate that the fuel conditions are too rich or lean because the part is faulty, when in reality the conditions are fine. This causes too much or too little fuel to be sent to the engine, which will cause that poor performance.
If the engine control module is getting inaccurate information from the oxygen sensor, it is going to cause problems with combustion efficiency. This is most noticeable when your vehicle is idling, since it will cause the vehicle to shake a lot more than it usually does. This can happen immediately when you start your car and you are sitting in park, or after you've been driving a while and come to a complete stop.
Bad Gas Mileage
If the engine is taking in more fuel than is necessary to run, it is going to burn up more fuel in the process. This results in bad gas mileage where you need more frequent fill ups. Your vehicle may track your miles per gallon for you, which will give you a good average about how much gas is used. Track your gas mileage over the course of your next tank of gas to see if it is below your average usage.
Reach out to a mechanic for car repair if you are experiencing these problems that identify a potential oxygen sensor problem.