Q: Exhaust makes putt putt noise and vibrates car.

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Just recently my car began making a putt putt putt noise coming from the exhaust. To my knowledge exhaust should come out in a steady stream rather than putts. This happens when I am in idle, in drive and in reverse. It also vibrates my entire car badly. The check engine is on and blinking which means I have a emission control system issue. I do know that I may have a small oil leak that only leaks under pressure as well as a bad o2 sensor that needs to be replaced. I do not know whether or not these two other issues would cause or affect my exhaust. Hope this helps.

My car has 170000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be a result of a faulty oxygen sensor. As you may know the oxygen sensors which are part of your emissions system read exhaust gases to determine whether or not the appropriate amount of oxygen is present in the exhaust. Based upon this reading, this information is relayed to the car’s ECU which then makes a determination as to whether or not to add more or less fuel to the engine. When too much or too little oxygen is present, this will cause check engine light to come on. Too much oxygen may be present in the exhaust gas due to things like an exhaust leak, a vacuum leak, a faulty mass air flow sensor (causing a lean fuel condition) or faulty fuel injectors. Too little oxygen may be present in the exhaust gas may be caused by things like a clogged air filter, a failing mass air flow sensor (causing too much fuel to be introduced to the motor), bad fuel injectors or a clogged catalytic converter. When the O2 sensor is not working properly, this will cause false readings to be relayed to the computer causing inaccurate adjustments to be made to the intake and fuel system in your engine. Depending on how the adjustments are being made, this may case your car to run a bit rough resulting in a slight change to the sound of the exhaust as you have described. I would suggest having an expert from Your Mechanic come to your location to diagnose your emissions system.

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