How Can I Tell if My Oxygen Sensor Has Died?

To be honest? Your automobile will tell you if your oxygen sensor has died. The only problem is the message will be subtle. You might know that there is something wrong with your car, truck, CUV, or SUV, but you won’t know immediately what the problem is. This is because the oxygen sensor performs a crucial yet silent job. It keeps track of the oxygen in your engine and flowing out of the exhaust pipe. Trinity Automotive says the following things often point to an oxygen sensor problem.


You Cannot Get the Gas Mileage You Used to Get


Your driving distance is the same and your driving habits are the same, but you find yourself having to fill your vehicle’s gas tank more often. If the oxygen sensor cannot measure the air in the engine because it is faulty or dead, your car will either be fuel-starved or fuel-gorged. Both of these conditions reduce your gas mileage because the engine either overworks to compensate for the fuel loss or burns the excess fuel away, i.e. it wastes it.


Your Vehicle Doesn’t Want to Go When You Step on the Accelerator


As with the gas mileage discussion above, the air/fuel mixture in your automobile’s engine also affects how it performs. In either a fuel-starved or fuel-gorged scenario, your car, truck, or utility vehicle might not be able to idle smoothly because there is too little or too much fuel in the combustion chamber. If there is too little gas, the engine might also resist you when you press down on the accelerator to get your vehicle moving. In fact, you might even stall.


The Whole Check-Engine-Light-Emissions-Test Debacle


A bad or dead oxygen sensor creates a vicious circle that many drivers find aggravating beyond belief. As the oxygen sensor dies, it sends a signal to your automobile’s main computer that there is a problem. The computer turns on the dashboard’s check engine light to let you know something is wrong. If the vehicle is due for an emissions test, it will not pass it with the check engine light on – period. The oxygen sensor must be replaced first in order to get the check engine light to turn off.

Finally, your vehicle’s age also determines the oxygen sensor’s health. As with any automotive part, the sensor will eventually go bad and die once it’s too old. Usually, this is after 90,000 miles to 100,000 miles. Bring your automobile into Trinity Automotive in White Bear Lake, MN, for a diagnostic test if you think your sensor could be bad. 

Photo by Dreamnikon from Getty Images Canva Pro

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