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Can a Faulty Oxygen Sensor Cause My Vehicle to Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Yes, a faulty oxygen (O2) sensor can make your vehicle smell like rotten eggs. It isn’t the oxygen sensor that smells like rotten eggs; it’s the catalytic converter. When an O2 sensor goes bad, it sometimes confuses the engine control module and, as a consequence, the module puts too much fuel in the combustion chamber. The catalytic converter ends up getting clogged while it’s trying to deal with the excess carbons. Eddie’s Auto Service explains that this is just one sign of a malfunctioning O2 sensor. Here are some other signs, as well.

Black Exhaust Smoke

This rich fuel condition in the combustion chamber can also turn your vehicle into a smoker. You will end up with black exhaust flowing out of the tailpipe, which, as you know, is not normal. Unfortunately, it will take a diagnostic test to get to the source of the problem – the faulty oxygen sensor – but once we do, we can replace the sensor and the excess exhaust will go away.

Dashboard Warning Light

Aside from the black exhaust smoke, you will also end up with the dashboard warning light alerting you of trouble in the engine. Specifically, the check engine light turns on when the oxygen sensor experiences an error. This error is reported to the engine control module. Once the module receives the error, it turns on the check engine light.

Engine Performance Trouble

The excess fuel in the combustion chamber can also make it difficult for your engine to perform efficiently. It will pick up speed in spurts and sputter at high speeds. It will also idle roughly. This problem can also be caused by a lean fuel mixture. This fuel mixture type is rich in air and lean in fuel. This can make it difficult to operate your automobile effectively. 

High Emissions Levels

Aside from clogging the catalytic converter, the excess carbons flowing through the exhaust system will also increase the emissions levels found in your vehicle’s exhaust. This is a problem if you need to have your vehicle pass an emissions test in order to get it licensed. It won’t pass the test with the excess emissions in the exhaust or with the check engine light on.

Loss of Fuel Efficiency

Finally, the bad O2 sensor can also affect your vehicle’s fuel economy. Alongside the symptoms listed above, you may find yourself heading to the service station more often because your engine is burning through the fuel that is in the tank.

Eddie’s Auto Service in Kingston, TN, is here to help. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic check.

Photo by rukawajung from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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