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Would you be shocked if I said it’s a sensor to measure oxygen? Okay, but it’s a bit more than that. Cars have both upstream and downstream sensors (also known as O2 sensors). Upstream oxygen sensors are placed in front of the catalytic converter, and measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. The car’s computer then uses that data to determine the proper air to fuel ratio. Downstream oxygen sensors are located behind the catalytic converter, and measure the efficiency of the converter.
No one likes poor performance. That includes you, and it certainly includes your car. Faulty O2 sensors will feed misinformation to your car’s computer. The computer will then alter the engine in a way that leads to less power, some hesitation and jerkiness, and running rough. Which means you’ll be embarrassed the next time you try to show off at a green light.
Oh, the check engine warning light. That light that you pretend isn’t there when it lights up. How has that worked out for you? Try as you might, ignoring a check engine light won’t make it go away. And oxygen sensor failure is a common cause of the light illuminating.
You’re not really in any danger driving around with a busted O2 sensor. Your car will still be safe to drive. But the performance won’t be ideal, and you may fail an emissions test. You don’t need to drop everything and run straight to a repair, but get around to it when you can.
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