Every automobile on the road today is made up of thousands of parts, large and small, getting work done in harmony allowing us to enjoy the experience of driving down the road. When one of these parts fails, engine performance can decline and oftentimes it can have a cyclic influence on other regions of the vehicle as well. Arguably the most important hall effect sensor part of any vehicle is the engine which creates the ability needed to operate it. Today, we’re going to look at the oxygen sensor and how it helps to keep the engine running efficiently, as well as its influence on the vehicle’s exhaust system.
To understand benefit of the oxygen sensor and why it is needed, we first need to know how the engine itself operates. The basic reasoning behind combustion motors is to add a tiny amount of fuel to a small surrounded space and ignite it; there is an incredible amount of energy released in the form of growing gasses from this combustion which is useful to power the automobile. There have obviously been many changes since the first vehicle was made back in the 1800’s but one thing has always been constant, the four-stroke design of all combustion motors.
The four-strokes in each engine storage container are broken down into the intake stoke, data compresion stroke, combustion stroke and finally the exhaust stroke. In the intake stroke, oxygen and gas enter the storage container, the data compresion stroke adds pressure to this mixture, the combustion stroke ignites the mixture and during the exhaust stroke the exhaust is released out of the storage container to eventually exit the tailpipe. Each storage container in the engine goes thru these four strokes hundreds of times in a minute, and there needs to be an exact mix of petrol and oxygen each time for maximum efficiency. This is where the oxygen sensor is needed.
The oxygen sensor measures the exhaust from the cylinders and depending on the amount of oxygen remaining after combustion, sends an email to the engine’s computer to make adjustments. The perfect relation of oxygen to petrol is 14. 7 to 1. When there is too much oxygen entering the storage container during the intake stroke, it can cause poor engine performance, engine damage and will release more nitrogen-oxide contaminants into the environment. On the other hand, if there is too much fuel during the intake stroke, there will be unburned petrol remaining which will create excessive polluting of the environment and can ignite in the catalytic converter, causing it to fail that leads to a significant repair bill.
Every engine has a baseline set of guidelines it utilizes to determine the amount of gas and oxygen to send to the cylinders but that amount changes depending on a variety of factors. The air temperature, engine temperature, altitude, barometric pressure and even the stress on the engine can all change how much oxygen is pulled into the engine. In order to take care of the perfect relation of 14. 7: 1, the engine needs to make routine adjustments, which it can only do if the oxygen receptors continue to send information. If the oxygen sensor is flawed, then the engine’s computer has to guess how much oxygen and fuel to send to the cylinders which can cause the engine to perform badly and dramatically decrease fuel efficiency.
Most vehicles today have a minimum of two oxygen receptors; however some modern vehicles can have up to six or more. When one of these receptors fails, the Check Engine light will generally go on, but you might notice some other symptoms as well. A flawed oxygen sensor can lead to rough idling, uncertainty during velocity, engine misfires, engine surges or bucks, poor fuel economy, unexpected catalytic converter failure or a decaying egg cell smell emitted from the exhaust.
Replacing a flawed oxygen sensor is a fairly inexpensive repair, however if you delay it could end up costing you quite a bit more in the long run. If it causes damage to the catalytic converter you will be looking at repair costs in the thousands rather than a couple hundred. A bad oxygen sensor can also cause you your fuel consumption to drop up to 40% as well, which at today’s gas prices is a huge amount of change. If you suspect that your vehicle might have a flawed oxygen sensor, it is in your best interest to take it into an automobile repair center and have it checked out at some point; from the impact to your pocket book to the negative affect the surroundings from excess polluting of the environment, it is well worth the price of replacement.