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The O2 sensor is an abreviation for Oxygen Sensor. It is an important part of our cars’ emission system. The role of the emission system is to reduce the number of harmful gasses released into the environment.
The vehicles manufactured before the 1980s have their o2 sensor fitted in their exhaust system. The core reason for having an o2 sensor in the exhaust system was to measure the amount of unburned oxygen as the gases exit the engine system.
In case the fuel mixture has excess or too little oxygen, the engine burns lean. This data is beneficial to the Engine Control Unit(ECU) system to control the fuel-oxygen ratio. In case the car is diagnosed with a faulty o2 sensor, it does not run effectively.
The O2 sensor is a small, simple gadget with a tip sensor that is inserted into the exhaust pipe. The sensor is, therefore, designed to measure the ratio of oxygen in the exhaust emissions. The oxygen ratio recorded by the sensor is then sent in real-time to the ECU, which then controls the ratio of fuel and oxygen needed.
In the case of a faulty 02 sensors, the ECU is not able to read and adjust the oxygen-fuel levels correctly. The ECU system is designed to regulate the fuel amount entering the engine in relation to the level of oxygen measured by the o2 sensor. 02 sensor failure leads to inappropriate levels of fuel and oxygen released to the system by the ECU and as a result, increases the pollutants released by the exhaust.
This has a ripple effect not only destroying the environment but also damaging the entire car engine over time.
You might be wondering how you can detect a faulty oxygen sensor, let’s discuss the observable signs related to o2 failure. Though not easy to get to the o2 due to its location physically, there exist some caution signs to alert you in case of a problem. The obvious symptoms include:
The check engine light going on, with a combination of any other sign mentioned above, may be an indication of a faulty o2 sensor. To ascertain the problem, you should read the diagnostic trouble code stored in the Engine Control Unit. In case the diagnosed trouble code indicates that the o2 is failing, consider conducting further examinations.
Therefore, how will you conclude that the oxygen sensor needs a replacement? This will eventually be determined by how well you will be able to perform the O2 diagnostics. You need to use a multimeter to provide you with the actual measurements. The measured results will then need further analysis of other engine components.
There could be a possibility of a loose connection making the o2 sensor to detect high oxygen levels. There could also be a chance of a loose connection to the oxygen sensor, making it inappropriate to detect the emissions through the exhaust.
You have no other available option other than getting yourself dirty as you explore deep to the specific location of the sensor inside the exhaust pipe. Let us now explore the detailed steps to undertake while diagnosing the oxygen sensor problems.
After performing the multiple testing, you should determine if the problem is with the sensor or another component. If the o2 has the problem, you can quickly fix it out by yourself. If you are probably not sure about it, take the car to a professional mechanic. Always keep it in mind that diagnosing and fixing the problem sooner than later will save you from developing more serious issues.
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