Is Your Car Feeling Sluggish?

16 03 2011

Dale BertramYou know how you feel some days?  The alarm goes off and you just barely drag yourself out of bed to start another day?  You wonder if you should take more vitamins, eat better or exercise more?  Your vehicle can relate. How?

Your vehicle can go through the same thing. Has it lost its pep?  Does it have trouble starting in the morning?  The culprit to its sluggishness could be an oxygen sensor going bad.  Our vehicles have monitors and sensors that work together to give us the best possible ride. The oxygen sensor’s job is to monitor unburned oxygen in the exhaust.  This helps determine if the correct fuel mixture is being distributed.  It sends this message to the powertrain control module which works to constantly readjust the fuel mixture when your car is running to make sure it is providing the best fuel economy and less harmful emissions.  When working properly it can determine and compensate for many things such as altitude, air temperature, engine temperature, barometric pressure and engine load.

When this sensor goes bad you get decreased fuel economy and the annoyance of a poor start. This can damage the catalytic converter and other components and all of that means an expensive repair.  Your car can have one to four oxygen sensors and all are located throughout the exhaust system.

Your vehicle gives you clues to help you determine if you have an oxygen sensor issue.

  1. Is your vehicle lethargic?
  2. Is it harder to start?
  3. Is your fuel economy less than it should be?
  4. Is your check engine light illuminated on your dashboard?

Consumers used to panic when their check engine light illuminated but now can blithely ignore it unless it starts flashing. It is never a good idea to ignore one.  It means something is wrong even if you can still safely drive your car as long as the light isn’t flashing. With high gas prices back in full force, ignoring your check engine light can cost you.  To be proactive and save yourself some money, have your car care provider look into the situation. It will save you money when you fill up your fuel tank and prevent a costly repair down the road.

Happy Motoring,

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