While Audi manufactures all of its vehicles with top-quality parts and technology, some parts may experience failure. Premature oxygen sensor failure is commonly reported among Audi drivers. Below you will learn more about what the O2 sensor is and what to look out for in regards to part failure.
What is an oxygen sensor?
Audis are manufactured using at minimum two oxygen sensors within the exhaust system. These sensors are responsible for measuring the amount of oxygen within the exhaust as well as helping regulate the air/fuel mixture.
There is one sensor located “upstream” before the catalytic converter and a second sensor located “downstream” below the catalytic converter. The upstream sensor regulates the fuel supply and the sensor downstream measures how efficient the catalytic converter is working.
How does the O2 sensor work?
A sensing element within the sensor encased in a steel housing makes up the oxygen sensor found on Audis. As oxygen molecules pass through the steel housing to reach the sensing element on one side, oxygen from the outside air enters through the other side traveling down the sensor. The difference in the amount of oxygen between what is present in the outside air and inside the sensing element promotes oxygen ions to flow and produce voltage.
Why does the oxygen sensor fail in Audis?
There are many reasons for premature failure of the oxygen sensor including. The most common cause of premature oxygen sensor failure is contamination. Contamination is most commonly caused by:
- An excessively rich air/fuel mixture
- Oil blow-by
- The coolant being burnt within the combustion chamber due to a coolant leak
The oxygen sensor is exposed to extremely hot temperatures throughout the lifespan of this sensor. Over time, the extreme temperature exposure causes the sensor to wear down and ultimately fail.
Common warning signs of O2 sensor failure in Audi
The following symptoms are commonly reported as a result of oxygen sensor failure:
- Check engine light: Audis are equipped with an electronic computer system that receives signals from the multiple sensors throughout the vehicle. One of these signals results in an illuminated check engine light on the dashboard. A problem with the emissions system, such as a failed oxygen sensor, results in the check engine light turning on.
- Poor fuel economy: Because the oxygen sensor helps regulate the air/fuel mixture, when this part fails, it increases fuel usage.
- Poor performance: The oxygen sensor controls the air/fuel ratio in turn aiding in proper engine timing and combustion intervals. When this sensor fails all other engine performance factors are affected leaving drivers susceptible to a rough engine idle, poor performance, and a sluggish engine.
European Motor Cars
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