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Beach Auto Repair

O2 Sensor

The oxygen sensor (02 sensor) helps your vehicle run efficiently. When you drive, the engine control unit (ECU) determines the optimal fuel/air ratio for your vehicle. The ECU determines this ratio based on information it receives from multiple sources, such as the intake air filter, manifold absolute pressure sensor, mass air flow sensor, and throttle position. Your engine burns the fuel, and the resulting emissions are sent through the exhaust where they come into contact with the oxygen sensor. The 02 sensor detects the amount of oxygen remaining in the emissions and provides feedback on the air/fuel ratio. Typical 02 sensors create voltage as a chemical reaction based on the level of oxygen remaining. The ECU uses this information to adjust the amount of fuel or oxygen in the ratio, improving your vehicle's efficiency. In addition to measuring the level of oxygen so your engine runs more optimally, the 02 sensors detect excessive emissions.

Oxygen Sensor Closeup

The number of 02 sensors your vehicle has depends on its year, make, and model. Modern vehicles have an oxygen sensor before and after the Catalytic Converter. Some vehicles have four. As exhaust comes into contact with the first 02 sensor, it measures the level of remaining oxygen. If there's too much oxygen present, the ECU adjusts to add more fuel to the ratio. If there's no oxygen, the ECU decreases the amount of fuel in the ratio. The 02 sensor located after the Catalytic Converter determines its efficiency and ensures the first 02 sensor is working properly. After going through the Catalytic Converter, the emissions should provide a lower voltage reading than when they went through the first 02 sensor.
If one or more 02 sensors stops working, you may see a check engine light. A service technician who specializes in 02 sensor repair can assist you.

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