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The components of your Lexus are designed to work together seamlessly to ensure its high performance. When your car is running, the engine produces gas emissions. The oxygen sensor detects the levels of oxygen that are in the exhaust. Its oxygen sensor plays an important role in monitoring and controlling how your car operates and performs. Let’s take a look at this component and discuss what happens when it fails.

How Oxygen Sensors Regulate your Car’s Performance

It’s important for car owners to understand how critical a functional oxygen sensor is to their car’s operation. Specific air-to-fuel ratios detected by your car’s oxygen sensor will signal to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) if adjustments need to be made. The PCM controls your car’s engine and transmission.

If the air-to-fuel ratios are off, the oxygen sensor’s job is to signal the PCM to allow fuel injection and engine timing in order to regulate emissions until they are at the right level again.

If your Lexus’s oxygen sensor isn’t working, it can be a serious problem. Your car can be releasing emissions that are harmful to the environment, which can cause you to fail Massachusetts’ yearly vehicle emissions testing. Additionally, your engine’s performance will not be operating at your manufacturer’s highly-engineered standards.

Once your oxygen sensor has failed, you will need to take your Lexus to a certified mechanic to make sure this essential part is replaced to keep your car and its engine in good condition. Fortunately, there are specific things you can look out for in your Lexus to keep your oxygen sensor from getting to complete failure and the damage it can cause.

Signs to Look out for to Avoid Damage from Oxygen Sensor Failure

Keep in mind that these signs are progressive problems, which means that the issue has gotten worse. So, don’t hesitate to bring your car into a knowledgeable specialist who can address these issues before a malfunctioning oxygen sensor causes excessive damage to your car. You may have a failing oxygen sensor if:

Your Check Engine light has come on

This is your first opportunity to have a certified mechanic address a potentially failing oxygen sensor, especially because there are many other possible causes. The longer you’ve been driving your Lexus, the more likely it is that the check engine light means your oxygen sensor has a problem. Have your car inspected to make sure.

You’ve noticed decreased gas mileage

A properly working oxygen sensor helps your Lexus’s engine maintain its peak performance. If it’s not working properly, fuel delivery and combustion timing will be irregular. A poorly performing engine means a less efficient car, so you’ll notice that you have to fill up at the gas station more often.

You’ve noticed a rotten egg smell

A faulty oxygen sensor can also cause excess fuel to be injected into the engine. When this happens, a strong sulfuric acid smell will result, which is often described as a rotten egg smell. This problem can even escalate to cause black smoke to be expelled from your car’s exhaust pipe. If any of these signs occur, make sure to bring your Lexus for an inspection right away.

Your engine has been rough or misfiring while idling

If your oxygen sensor is failing to help control your engine, it may make rough sounds or misfire while your car is idling. If your car’s engine has other performance issues, you may even experience your car’s power shutting off or an engine stall. Having the oxygen sensor fail will mean your engine cannot be regulated properly, which will make these symptoms more frequent and worse over time.

All of these issues indicate a problem that needs to be addressed by a certified technician before poor engine performance does significant damage to your car.

Replacing the Oxygen Sensor as Regular Maintenance

An oxygen sensor replacement is a common and predictable part of keeping your Lexus running smoothly. Recently-manufactured cars have their oxygen sensor last between 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Since there’s not a specific mileage when these parts need replacing, keep an eye out for these signs in your car to ensure that you know when the right time is to get an inspection.

Bring your Lexus to Professional Automotive in Marlborough, MA, where our highly trained-specialists will assess the condition of the oxygen sensor in your car and help you keep the engine at its top-tier performance, no matter its mileage. We look forward to becoming your trusted Lexus repair and maintenance shop.