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Chevrolet Silverado is a series of full-size pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors. These trucks are famous for their loading capacity and excellent air filter system.
One thing that particularly catches the eye is the oxygen sensor that enhances the overall vehicle’s performance by controlling vehicle emissions while keeping fuel consumption to a minimum.
Most pickup trucks these days are fitted with O2 sensors. These advanced sensors measure the fuel-to-air ratio received by the engine. This information helps ECU to determine the right amount of fuel that needs to be supplied to the engine to manage the fuel economy and performance of the vehicle.
So, if you are facing some performance issue or suddenly your truck has started consuming more fuel than usual, there is a chance something is wrong with the O2 sensor.
Chevy Silverado’s Fuel & Air System
The science is simple here. Silverado has an internal combustion engine that works on the principle of burning air and fuel together. When the optimum ratio of fuel and air is fed to the IC engine, it results in better power and performance while maintaining the fuel economy.
This process is regulated by O2 sensors, which calculate the amount of fuel the engine needs depending on the air present. Depending on the fuel applied to the engine, you get a rich or lean mixture.
The type of mixture defines the performance and fuel consumption of your Silverado.
Chevy Silverado O2 Sensors
Traditionally, there are a couple of O2 sensors on your Silverado – Upstream and Downstream. They are located in different places but have the same functionality.
You can find the Upstream O2 sensor on the exhaust manifold, while the downstream one is hidden under the catalytic converter system. Their job is to send the voltage that measures the amount of Oxygen consumed by the engine to the Engine Control Unit. The voltage sensor fluctuates according to the fuel mixture being burnt in the engine – 0.8 volts up for rich and 0.2 volts down for lean mixture.
ECU then determines the fuel supply to the engine to maintain both performance and fuel economy. Some Silverado models are equipped with high-tech wideband O2 sensors. These intelligent sensors’ voltage fluctuates in the same proportion as the oxygen level in the engine. That’s why they can measure the exact fuel-to-air ratio, giving you better performance and smooth sound in your Silverado.
O2 Sensors: Where are They Located?
In most cases, the diagnostic mechanism automatically locates the flawed Oxygen sensor. But if you need to check by yourself, here is how you detect the sensors:
Sensor 1 – Upstream
Sensor 2 – Downstream
Bank 1 Sensor 1 – Upstream sensor located on one half of the engine
Bank 1 Sensor 2 – Downstream sensor
Bank 1 Sensor 3 – Downstream sensor with two upstream on the manifold
Bank 2 Sensor 1 – Upstream located opposite Bank 1
Problem with O2 Sensor? The Common Indications
Having a misfiring O2 sensor is a common issue faced by Silverado owners. But 80% of the time, owners fail to notice it. Mentioned below are some of the signs that indicate a problematic O2 sensor:
- Whenever there is an issue with your Silverado engine, you will notice the Check Engine light flashing. So, if you see the glowing Orange light on your dashboard, it’s time to get your O2 sensors checked.
- O2 sensors control the fuel consumption, maintaining the mileage of your truck. If you notice you are purchasing more fuel than usual, you should immediately check your O2 sensors immediately.
- A bad O2 sensor means a change in the fuel mixture and can impact the sound of your engine. It’s the best way to determine whether your engine is burning more fuel than it needs or running too dry.
- If you have bad O2 sensors, your vehicle won’t clear the emission test. This test determines the level of toxic gas emitted from your truck.
How does O2 Sensor Affect the Silverado Performance?
If an excess of fuel has been supplied to the Engine, the voltage level on the O2 sensor will increase by 0.8 volts, prompting ECU to reduce the fuel supply to the engine. It will drop the engine power and vehicle performance.
A rich mixture reduces the amount of gas being burnt during combustion, meaning you get higher performance and heavy fuel consumption. But it may also increase the number of toxic elements in the emissions.
Running on a lean mixture controls fuel wastage, but too much air may cause engine knocking, thus permanently damaging your engine.