Oxygen Sensor : This sensor gives the computer a reading of whether or not the engine is running rich or lean. This sensor does not actually measure the oxygen, but it does compare the difference between the amount of oxygen within the exhaust system versus the oxygen in air. For example, a rich running engine requires an oxygen demand. The oxygen sensor reacts with a voltage increase, due to the transportation of oxygen ions through the sensor. Naturally, a lean mixture causes the oxygen sensor to react with low voltage, since there is an more oxygen in the combustion. In many cases, an oxygen sensor will use a heater element to preheat the sensor so that it will work faster when the engine is warming up.
The oxygen sensor is located on the exhaust system. Some sensors are before the catalyst converter(upstream) while others are after the catalyst converter (downstream). If a problem with the oxygen sensor occurs, you may experience the following symptoms:
Computer diagnostics are one of the best ways to determine whether or not an oxygen sensor is failing. The oxygen sensor data-stream in the computer can be monitored while the fuel mixture is manipulated to determine if it is responsive or not. Some engine problems can ruin the oxygen sensors causing a secondary problem. Catalyst converter oxygen capacity is also measured with upstream and downstream sensors. A bad catalyst converter can be mathematically determined by comparing the changes before and after the converter.
A highly skilled technician can properly determine if an oxygen sensor is failing or if another problem is to blame. Just because there is a code for an oxygen sensor does not always mean it is the problem. Computer diagnostics combined with the skill of a quality auto mechanic can figure out the problem correctly.
If you get a check engine light or experience the symptoms of a bad oxygen sensor, bring your car to Guy’s Automotive for a computer diagnostic test. Guy’s Automotive repairs all types of sensor problems, tune-ups and oxygen sensor related issues. Call today for an appointment!