Auto mechanics everywhere know one thing: the oxygen sensor is a crucial part of your car’s exhaust system. Inexpensive to replace and often overlooked, this little sensor is responsible for ensuring that your engine runs smoothly and without fumes.
The oxygen sensor is located in the exhaust pipe of a car and detects the amount of oxygen in the air. When the oxygen level gets too low, the car’s computer will signal a check engine light. If the car doesn’t have an oxygen sensor, it will just run rough and not be able to go very fast.
If you are driving with an oxygen sensor unplugged, your car may not operate properly. Read more to know the facts about driving with an O2 sensor unplugged.
Can You Drive With O2 Sensor Unplugged
If you drive with your oxygen sensor unplugged, your car’s computer will not know how to adjust the air/fuel mixture, and your car may not run well. The oxygen sensor measures how much oxygen is in the exhaust, and sends this information to the computer so that it can adjust the air/fuel mixture. If you remove the oxygen sensor, your car’s computer will not have this information, and will not be able to adjust the air/fuel mixture properly.
Driving with an O2 sensor unplugged implies the computer will not get the correct mixture reading and so will not be able to appropriately adjust the air-fuel mixture. Your engine, on the other hand, is drivable if it starts and runs and can keep running. The extremely rich combination may clog the catalytic converter if you do so.
The exhaust system of an automobile is designed to detect oxygen levels more efficiently in order to meet emissions requirements. The car’s emissions are monitored using sensors. When the car needs a tune-up or a new catalytic converter, the downstream and upstream O2 sensors communicate it.
Without a downstream oxygen sensor, you can drive a car. If the downstream O2 sensor fails and you drive about, the computer detects a problem and illuminates the check engine light.
Without an upstream O2 sensor, you can drive for a short distance. However, if the Electronic Control Unit detects that there is no oxygen in the exhaust after a long drive, it will inject more fuel to compensate. This will cause the clogged plugs and, eventually, a sticky combustion chamber.
In conclusion, it is not advisable to drive with an O2 sensor unplugged. The engine will run less efficiently and will produce more emissions. While it may seem like it is not doing any harm, it can actually lead to decreased fuel efficiency and your engine light coming on. Not to mention, it is illegal in some states. If you have any questions about your O2 sensor, consult a professional mechanic. Save yourself the hassle and keep your O2 sensor plugged in.