Signs of a bad oxygen sensor should not be dismissed. The oxygen sensor monitors exhaust gases and provides information to the onboard computer that optimizes the air/fuel mix. Properly functioning sensors decrease harmful emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
Oxygen Sensor Troubleshooting
There are actually two oxygen sensors in modern cars. The front oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust manifold down pipes, ahead of the catalytic converter. The front sensor guides the onboard computer to provide the most efficient mix of air and fuel. The rear oxygen sensor is located after the catalytic converter in the exhaust system. The rear sensor monitors the efficiency of the catalytic converter.
Oxygen sensors operate in an extreme environment and are subject to exposure to harmful deposits if there are problems with other systems in the engine. Here are some ways to tell if you're experiencing an oxygen sensor problem: