Repairing Your Car

Is Your Vehicle's Oxygen Sensor Damaged?

Every gas-powered vehicle has oxygen sensors, which have the purpose of measuring how much oxygen is in the exhaust system. This is done by placing an oxygen sensor before and after exhaust flows through the catalytic converter and taking measurements from both sides. This sensor then relays the information to the vehicle's electronic control unit, which then tells your vehicle to add or reduce the amount of fuel that it is using.

With that in mind, a faulty oxygen sensor can cause problems with fuel consumption and emission. That's why it's helpful to know these tips about how to tell if your oxygen sensor has stopped working.

Service Engine Soon Light

The first sign that the oxygen sensor is not working could be a service engine soon light. Of course, there is no way to tell what error code has triggered the light without using a special code reader. You can take your car to a local auto parts store, which typically offers the service for free to encourage you to buy a replacement part from them. you can also visit a local mechanic and have them read the error code as well. 

Dark Exhaust Smoke

A problematic oxygen sensor is going to be unable to relay information about how much oxygen is in the exhaust that the vehicle creates. This can create rich fuel conditions due to too much fuel being sent to the engine. You'll then notice that the smoke coming out of the exhaust is very dark in comparison to what you normally see when driving your vehicle. 

No Electrical Current

You can perform some basic tests on an oxygen sensor by using a multimeter to see if electricity is flowing through it. The first step will be to shut off your car to make sure it is not running and to ensure that no electricity is flowing through the part. Then you can use a multimeter to test for an electrical current. This is done by connecting a positive probe of the multimeter to the oxygen sensor's signal wire. Then the negative probe can be touched to a grounded item, such as the car's frame. You'd then start your car to see if electricity is flowing through the part. If the voltage is fluctuating, then you know it's good. If there is no voltage flowing through the part, then you'll have to replace the oxygen sensor.

Call an auto service shop if you think you're oxygen sensor is damaged.