We have all seen it and it creates a really bad feeling in the pit of our stomach. Just the sight of it conjures up visions of being stranded on the side of the road, missing work and paying a hefty repair bill. I’m talking, of course, about your vehicle’s check engine light. The sight of it is a bit unsettling to most drivers and for very good reason, you could well be stranded and miss work and you will most definitely have a repair bill in the near future. The reality is that you probably won’t be stranded and you might not have to miss work; your repair will be not be as high as you think and you can usually have your car back right away without too much hassle.
The check engine light is often misunderstood but understanding why it comes on and what may be going on with your vehicle will help you feel much better about that little light on your dash. The check engine light comes on when one of your vehicle’s subsystems has a problem that could cause your vehicle to not function properly.
The most common cause, however, of your check engine light coming on is a faulty oxygen sensor. When your oxygen sensor fails, it doesn’t provide the very important data that your car’s computer needs to control other systems such as the air-fuel mixture that your engine needs to be as efficient as possible.
A faulty oxygen sensor can cause a wide array of issues that can affect your driving and create a less than ideal environment for your engine and it’s various other sensors. The professional technicians at GIC Car Clinic in San Jose, California are very knowledgeable and know what makes your car’s systems work together in harmony; we will provide a diagnostic scan of your vehicle’s computer to better know what is going on and what their next move will be to repair the problem and get you back on the road.
As we have already stated, the oxygen sensor is the primary cause of a check engine light in today’s vehicles. Listed below are some of the results of a faulty oxygen sensor:
- Poor Gas Mileage: Your oxygen sensor helps control your vehicle’s engine air/fuel ratio and if your oxygen sensor has failed, your car’s engine might be getting too much fuel and when the engine isn’t able to burn this excess fuel, poor gas mileage will be the result.
- Increased Vehicle Emissions: The oxygen sensor’s job is to monitor and control the engine’s air/fuel mixture making sure the engine is able to properly burn the fuel it takes in and to ensure that the vehicle’s emissions are kept in check and you have optimum performance. When your oxygen sensor fails, you will see decreased performance and your vehicle will not run as well as it should increasing the amount of harmful emissions your vehicle puts out.
- Rough Idle: When you car’s oxygen sensor fails, you will immediately begin experiencing a rough idle that can affect your vehicle’s ability to run properly and smoothly. This will also result in poor engine performance and possible stalling episodes.
- Engine Misfiring: When your vehicle’s oxygen sensor fails it can cause an improper air/fuel mixture which will result in a too lean condition in your engine. This lack of proper combustion can cause a lean misfire which will become more prominent at idle speeds.
- Hesitation: There is nothing worse than your car not going when you want it to. If your oxygen sensor fails, your vehicle will experience engine hesitation which feels similar to a misfire condition. This is something that usually only happens on acceleration and is directly due to the failed oxygen sensor. A bad oxygen sensor will misread an engine's air/fuel mixture or air/fuel requirements and cause too little or too much air or fuel to enter an engine's cylinders during acceleration. This can cause an engine to hesitate, or stumble.
Call or book an appointment online at your neighborhood GIC Car Clinic and let our experts inspect and repair your broken oxygen sensors. Our experts recommend coming in as quickly as possible because holding off on this repair can eventually lead to a broken catalytic converter, which will be a much more expensive fix.
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