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Is the Check Engine Light The Only Sign of a Bad Oxygen Sensor?

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know that a bad oxygen (O2) sensor is a common reason why the check engine light comes on. It’s not the only sign you’ll get, however. Scotty’s Automotive lists the other signs of a bad oxygen sensor below. If your vehicle is doing any of these things, bring it to our shop for an inspection.

Engine Performance Issues

When the oxygen sensor is bad, the oxygen level readings in your vehicle’s exhaust are oftentimes inaccurate. A consequence of this is that the engine control module makes adjustments to the air and fuel levels in the engine to compensate for what it perceives to be either too little or too much oxygen in the exhaust. This creates either a lean or rich fuel mixture that causes engine performance issues such as hiccupping, sputtering, surging, hesitation, and stalling.

Black Exhaust Smoke

When there is too much fuel in the engine, or a rich fuel mixture, the engine is left with no other alternative than to burn off the excess fuel. This can cause black exhaust smoke to come flowing out of your tailpipe. In severe cases, you may also see signs of fire in the exhaust, which is very dangerous. This condition can be caused by a bad O2 sensor.

Rotten Egg Smell

The more fuel that is run through the catalytic converter the greater the chance the converter clogs. If this happens, not only do you have a bad oxygen sensor in your automobile but you also have a bad catalytic converter. The clogged converter will make your vehicle’s exhaust smell like rotten eggs. You will also smell rotten eggs coming from your engine.

Emissions Test Failure

Naturally, your vehicle cannot pass an emissions test if the air and fuel balance in the engine is not correct. A common problem with this imbalance is that you end up with excess carbons in your exhaust because your vehicle’s engine is burning excess diesel fuel or gasoline. This will cause your vehicle to fail the emissions test, as will the bad oxygen sensor if the check engine light is on.

Poor Gas Mileage

Finally, your automobile’s gas mileage will take a hit if there is too little or too much fuel in the engine. You may not notice that you are heading to the service station more often at first, but as the oxygen sensor gets worse, you will realize that your vehicle has suddenly become a gas-guzzler.

Scotty’s Automotive in Montague, NJ, would be happy to test your O2 sensor if you suspect it has gone bad. If it tests fine, we will find the problem that is causing the symptoms listed above.

Photo by Nottpossible from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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