About Me

Buying a Used Vehicle

Welcome to my website. My name is Frances Reed. If you’re considering buying a used car, you are in the right place. I recently had my first experience with purchasing a used car and want to share some tips I learned along the way. When I began my search, the important things were color, comfort, and low mileage. I ended up with a green vehicle (which isn't on my favorite color list,) it has over 150,000 miles driven, but it is comfortable. I was very fortunate and had a friend who’s a mechanic come with me to test drive vehicles. Tip number one: be sure you have a mechanic check out vehicles before you buy. I hope I can offer you some valuable information here.



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Buying a Used Vehicle

Bad Oxygen Sensor Can Trip Your Check Engine Light

by Connor Ferguson

The check engine light is part of a network of sensors that are mostly monitoring the health of the emission system. If any of those sensors determine there is a problem, the light will turn on. When that light turns on, it means that something needs to be addressed promptly before there is a problem.

One of the most common sensors to fail and trip the check engine light is the oxygen sensor. This sensor monitors the amount of oxygen in the exhaust and adjusts to fuel mixture so that it is not too lean or rich. Most oxygen sensors in modern cars are made to last most of the life of the car. It is rare to have them fail before the vehicle has reached the 80,000 mile mark.

Has the oxygen sensor failed?  While a failed oxygen sensor is a common trigger for the check engine light, it cannot be assumed to be the issue without checking. You or an auto technician can set up an onboard diagnostic scan tool to read the codes to determine which sensor is having a problem. In addition to reading the code, other symptoms indicating an oxygen sensor failure include:

  • A rough idle or engine miss
  • Reduced gas mileage
  • "Pinging" sound in engine
  • Hesitation
  • Poor emissions with high carbon monoxide counts

Sensors can fail due to mechanical issues, such as components breaking apart, or electrical issues in the wires connecting it to the computer.

Replacing the sensor: Oxygen sensors cannot be repaired. Any sensors that fail must be replaced with a new one. On most cars, the sensors are easy and inexpensive to replace. If it has failed, it's important to have this part replaced as soon as possible. Not replacing a failed oxygen sensor can result in damage to other major emission components such as the catalytic converter.

Any technician qualified to work on exhaust and emission components can replace an oxygen sensor. In some cases, it may be easy for you to replace it yourself. Many oxygen sensors are located near the front of the vehicle with little obstruction and are easily removed and replaced. Other cars may be prohibitive due to obstructions such as head shields or blockage by other parts of the vehicle.

Any time your check engine light comes on, it is important to get your car checked as soon as possible. If it is a failed oxygen sensor, having it serviced as soon as possible can save you a lot of money and aggravation in the long run.

For more information, contact Brach's Auto Center Inc. or a similar company.