What Happens When a Failing O2 Sensor Causes a Rich Fuel Mixture?

The oxygen (O2) sensor is the device in your vehicle’s tailpipe that measures how much oxygen is being released through the exhaust. The engine control unit (ECU) takes this measurement and makes adjustments to the air and fuel found in the combustion chamber. The purpose of this is to keep your engine running as efficiently as possible. A malfunctioning O2 sensor can trick the ECU into putting too much fuel into the combustion chamber. Auto Solutions advises the following might happen if your fuel mixture is too rich.

You’ll End Up With Black Exhaust Smoke

Depending on how much fuel is being burned, you might end up with black exhaust smoke flowing out of your tailpipe. This is because the engine is taking the extra fuel being pushed into the combustion chamber and burning it away.

It Could Damage the Catalytic Converter

Too much fuel can also damage the catalytic converter. It may not be able to handle all of the fuel-laden exhaust flowing through it. This can cause it to clog and you will notice the smell of rotten eggs not only in your vehicle’s exhaust but also in the engine bay.

You’ll Go Through Fuel More Quickly

If your engine is burning away excess fuel, you will obviously burn through a full tank more quickly. You will begin to notice a reduction in your vehicle’s fuel economy if the engine is running on a rich fuel mixture caused by a failing O2 sensor or other problem.

Your Vehicle Emission Levels Will Soar

The more fuel being burned away in the combustion chamber the more carbons you will have in your vehicle’s exhaust. This will cause your vehicle’s emission levels to soar, and you may end up with a check engine light warning on the dashboard.

Your Engine Will Surge and Buck

Finally, as the engine burns away the excess fuel, it will surge and buck. You may feel as if your car has turned into a bucking bronco. This is definitely a sign that you have an uneven fuel mixture in the combustion chamber and this imbalance could be caused by the oxygen sensor.

Auto Solutions is the best auto service shop in Orlando, FL, so give us a call today if you are experiencing any of the problems listed above. We will not only test the oxygen sensor, but we will also check your engine to make sure everything is okay. If the oxygen sensor needs to be replaced, we can do that.

Photo by Birdlkportfolio from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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