328 N 8th Street | Montrose, CO 81401

970-249-3474

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Automotive Solutions from Coleman Alignment & Auto: Oxygen Sensor

auto how-tos Cimarron

Many Montrose car owners hear the term “Oxygen Sensor” and figure it must have something to do with sensing oxygen, but don’t really know much beyond that.

Let’s explain it: your vehicle has an oxygen sensor in the exhaust manifold that measures how much unburned oxygen there is in the exhaust. The sensor reports its findings to the engine control unit (ECU), which knows how much oxygen there should be in the exhaust. Based on that essential information, the ECU will adjust the amount of fuel it sends to the engine.

This feedback and adjustment loop is non-stop. The goal is to have the optimal air to fuel ratio for performance, efficiency and to lower harmful emissions.

Now there is a second oxygen sensor located in the exhaust pipe after the catalytic converter. It too measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust after it has been treated by the catalytic converter. As this measurement is reported back to the ECU, the computer compares the oxygen levels before and after the catalytic converter to determine if the converter is still functioning properly.

So, 4-cylinder vehicles have two oxygen sensors. V-6 and V-8 engines have four sensors, two for each bank of cylinders. As you can imagine, the oxygen sensor lives and functions in a pretty hot environment so they do wear out over time. Substances in the exhaust can also damage them leading to failure. Outside elements like water and road salt can corrode an oxygen sensor. When the sensor goes bad it simply needs to be replaced.

CO car owners may be interested to know that oxygen sensors are often replaced needlessly. When the oxygen sensor returns a measurement that is out of the specified range, it may trigger a trouble code in the ECU and the Check Engine Light is illuminated.

Inexperienced Montrose do-it-yourselfers or Cimarron parts store employees may read a trouble code that reports an out of range sensor reading. That could mean that the sensor is bad, but it could also mean that the sensor is accurately reporting a condition caused by some other problem. A skilled diagnostician at Coleman Alignment & Auto can sort this out and will only replace the oxygen sensor when it has truly gone bad.

When you have a Check Engine Light come on and stay on, it’s good advice to have it checked out by a qualified Coleman Alignment & Auto tech. The cause may be minor or quite vital, so it’s best for Montrose motorists to play it safe and let the professionals determine if it’s required.

Give us a call

Coleman Alignment & Auto
328 North 8th Street
Montrose, CO 81401
970.249.3474

At Coleman Alignment & Auto we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

At Coleman Alignment & Auto in Montrose CO (81401) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 970.249.3474. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

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  • 328 N 8th Street
    Montrose, CO 81401
  • 970-249-3474
  • Mon–Fri 8am to 5.30pm
    Sat -Sun: Closed
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