How Your Oxygen Sensors Help Your Engine & Fights Pollution At The Same Time

17 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog

All vehicles are equipped with oxygen sensors. It is one of the more common culprits behind the dreaded check engine light. It also plays a crucial role in the regulation of fuel to your engine and helps protect the environment from unnecessary pollution. In order to really appreciate your oxygen sensor, you have to understand how it works first.

The Location Of Your Oxygen Sensor

There are two primary locations where oxygen sensors are located; where your oxygen sensor is located depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Some oxygen sensors are located inside of the exhaust manifold down pipes. Other times the sensors are located between the catalytic converters and the exhaust manifolds.

The Construction Of Your Oxygen Sensor

Your oxygen sensor acts like a "sense" for your vehicle; it senses information and conveys it to the brain of your vehicle. It is shaped like a tiny light bulb and is made out of zirconium ceramic and is generally coated with a layer of platinum. The bulb is built so well because it is exposed to high temperatures on a regular basis within your exhaust.

The Primary Function Of Your Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor's job is to figure out how much O2 being released through your exhaust, and to send that information back to your onboard computer or engine management system. This information is then used to regulate the quantity of fuel and air that is sent through your engine.

The Way Your Oxygen Sensor Does Its Job

As discussed above, the oxygen sensor in your vehicle is actually shaped like a bulb, and uses this shape to serve its main function. As the air from the exhaust passes over the sensor, it heats up the sensor. How much it heats up the sensor is determined by how rich the fuel to oxygen mixture is in your exhaust. When the mixture is high in oxygen, it generates a higher amount of voltage than when the mixture is low in oxygen.

These bursts of voltage are sent to your vehicle's onboard computer or engine management system, which then adjusts the flow of fuel and oxygen until an ideal voltage, and mix, is achieved. This information helps keeps your exhaust clean and helps you use your fuel as efficiently as possible. 

The Way Your Oxygen Sensor Impacts The Environment

Your oxygen sensor, when working correctly, helps regulate your exhaust and keeps it as clean as possible. When your oxygen sensor is not working correctly, your vehicle expels more fuel into the air than it needs to, and increases the pollution output of your vehicle. If you live in a state where you have to past a smog inspection, a broke oxygen sensor can contribute to a failed inspection. Contact a repair shop, like Soundside Automotive, if you suspect a problem.

Your oxygen sensor is a tiny, but vital, part of your vehicle. It provides important information to your onboard computer and engine that allows your vehicle to achieve ideal fuel efficiency and keeps the exhaust that your vehicle releases as clean and balanced as possible.