Catalytic converters have an important role in the vehicle’s exhaust system. It assists in neutralizing hazardous compounds such as carbon monoxide that a vehicle produces. The converters are made to last a lifetime of the vehicle, but they can break down or wear due to unattended repair issues in other parts of the vehicle. So, what are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

A damaged catalytic converter causes air pollution, affects vehicle mileage, and damages other exhaust system components. It is advisable to have the converter repaired immediately you notice a problem. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the signs of a bad catalytic converter, the causes, and how to fix the issue.

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What Are the Common Symptoms of Bad Catalytic Converter?

When the vehicle starts running, the vehicle produces toxic gases that go via the catalytic converter. The internal structure of the converter has a honeycomb design. It is made of precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum. The converter is designed to work under high temperatures of about 800°F.

Chemical reactions happen to neutralize the harmful gasses from the vehicle and change them to safer elements such as carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen. These clean elements then get out from the vehicle through the muffler. Listed below answers the question on how to tell if the catalytic converter is bad:


Fuel Additives

One easy way of fixing a clogged catalytic converter is using fuel additives. The fuel additives help the engine run more cleanly, and they will help clean catalytic converter deposits. For instance, if you run the vehicle with low octane fuel, you can fix the converter by changing it to high octane fuel.

Italian Tune-Up

The Italian tune-up method is used to fix quite a number of issues in a vehicle, and a bad catalytic converter is one of them. All you are required to do is to push your vehicle harder to hear the catalytic converter enough. The converter should be heated to a high temperature of between 426 °C (426°F) and 1,000 °C (1832°F).

Run the vehicle a little longer than usual, and this will help burn off any carbon deposits in the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, cylinder head, and intake valve. This, however, may not work if the converter is extremely clogged.

Fix Exhaust Problems

you could easily fix the problem with your converter if you deal with the cause. If your vehicle has fuel, oil, or coolant leaks, fix them immediately, and this could restore the converter’s performance. Also, replace corroded flex pipes and worn-out gaskets for they affect the functioning of a converter.

Cleaning the Converter

At times you may have to go the old-fashioned way of cleaning the catalytic converter. Remove the catalytic converter from the vehicle and wash it using a pressure washer. This will help to blast out any contaminants and deposits in the system. Ensure that you flush the converter from both ends.

Another method of cleaning a catalytic converter is by soaking it overnight in a combination of degreaser and hot water. This will help the deposits clogging the converter to dissolve. Once the converter is clean, dry it completely and reinstall.

Benefits of Using Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter acts as an exhaust emission control unit for reducing toxic gases. Engineer Eugene Houdry invented the first converter in 1950. Catalytic converters work with two types of catalysts, namely, an oxidation catalyst and a reduction catalyst.

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Catalytic converters have two major benefits in vehicles. One, it reduces the amount of dangerous pollution produced by the vehicle during the combustion of fuel. Secondly, it reduces emissions of nitrous oxide by 62%, carbon monoxide by 85%, and hydrocarbon by 87% in the life of a vehicle.