Why your car(s) smoke black?

If your car(s) have this  problem of black smoke and you buy fuel more than usual, then there is something wrong with it.

Incomplete combustion, in other words, fuel delivered to the combustion chamber, being more than oxygen supply and not burnt completely will cause black smoke of an  engine, prompting check engine light to illuminate and a rotten egg smell is also perceived.

This error is caused by a lambda (oxygen) sensor. Although many variables may contribute, the discussion is on lambda sensor.

What is the work of a lambda sensor?

Lambda sensor serves as the nose of a PCM (power control Module), it tells the system's computer how much oxygen is available, by sniffing, then the pcm will now determine the air/fuel ratio to use for a stoichiometric combustion.

  If the sensor sniffs more oxygen, it will send signal to pcm  and equivalent fuel will be supplied to ensure a complete burning.

What does complete burning mean in an engine?
A complete burning or combustion in an engine simply means that the engine is at its optimum working conditions, that is,
  • Good idling
  • Excellent acceleration
  • More miles per gallons
  • Extended engine life 
  • Steaming (especially, in the morning)
How does a lamda sensor work?
Lambda sensors are installed in set (two), pre and pro catalyst, that is, before after catalytic converters, in exhaust line of an engine.

Based on temperature difference, it sends signals to the PCM on an available oxygen sniffed, and enough fuel is pumped for a complete combustion.

Apart from fuel economy, it is also use to control the emissions of engines,by reducing unburnt hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emissions during combustion.

Lambda sensor malfunctioning
If a lambda sensor is clogged, or cracked, it'll  feed control module with wrong informations prompting it to supply more fuel even if there is not enough oxygen available, this results to incomplete combustion, that makes the engine exhausts unburnt hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen.

Replacing the oxygen sensor every three years or four years of continuous use of the vehicle is strongly advisable, and it is a preventive maintenance of your vehicle.

Other things that possibly cause the erratic performance of the vehicles are
  • Clogged air filter/fuel filter
  • Damaged air flow sensor (air flow meter)
  • Bad knocking sensor
  • Nozzle drops instead of spraying
  • Bad Brain box (ECU)

With complicated issues, it is advisable to plug in the OBDII scanner to avoid replacing part that are not the causes of the problems and talking to professional technicians helps alot in making your vehicle work again in optimum conditions.

Drop a comment, if you're suffering from poor Engine performance, explain your problem let's solve it together.

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