Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'00 Ford Taurus, Check Engine Light On 3 Times
Q: My check engine light has come on for the third time. It has always been the sensor on the engine. My warranty was out the last time and it cost me $180. Why does this keep happening? The owner of the dealership tried to talk me into buying insurance for this...the mechanic said that the 00 Ford Taurus is a good car and that I shouldn't have to do that since it probably wouldn't happen again...Ive noticed that it always comes on when I'm going at a faster speed around 75 mph.
A: First, your engine does not have the sensor. It has many sensors. If you have to keep replacing the same sensor then I cant help but wonder if the real cause for the problem is being addressed. A very common code we see on vehicles likes yours is for a bank 1 or 2 system lean problem. The initial diagnosis for these codes would indicate an oxygen sensor problem. We have found that a different sensor can cause these codes to set. The problem with the sensor? It becomes contaminated, resulting in bad information being sent to the computer, but the tricky part is the computer doesnt know the information is bad. As the computer looks around it decides to blame the system that is oxygen sensor related. Sometimes it has been as simple as cleaning the deceitful sensor with electrical contact cleaner. If the sensor code has been the same one each time, have your tech look deeper into the system before replacing the same sensor.