Monongahela & Bridgeville Auto Repair

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What are the Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter?

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter employs a catalyst to convert poisonous chemicals produced by your car's engine to harmless gasses, thereby counteracting the contribution to air pollution. That said, converters can clog up and become problematic. Here you will find the symptoms that will lead you to diagnose a catalytic converter issue.

Why do catalytic converters cause problems?

Exhaust gases may form a build-up or residue within the converter that may become so extensive that the converter gets all clogged up and unable to function. If this is the case, your vehicle will be releasing toxic particles into the atmosphere. Above and beyond the damage done to the environment, the build-up of these gases can damage your car's engine and lead to further costs.

What are the symptoms? Use your senses.

  • Look for dark, thick smoke coming from your car's exhaust. Dark smoke may indicate that gases are building up within the converter and are expelled in a higher concentration.
     

  • Look for an engine light that remains illuminated for an unclear reason. If the engine light stays illuminated even after checking other common reasons for it (faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, or thermostat), consider a converter issue.
     

  • Look for a lower fuel economy than usual. A clogged converter increases the fuel demand of your vehicle and causes a decrease in your mileage over time.
     

  • Smell your car's exhaust. Sulfur is one of the compounds that should be neutralized by the converter and if your car's converter is ineffective, the smell of sulfur – close to that of rotten eggs – will become apparent.
     

  • Listen for misfires or a rattling sound. The build-up of gases that are not efficiently converted may result in the ignition of these gases within the engine, which is referred to as a misfire and is harmful to engine parts. Also, a converter that has failed to the point of falling apart will have loose pieces that rattle when the engine is running.

How do I solve a catalytic converter issue?

A catalytic converter that is malfunctioning cannot be repaired and should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid contributing to pollution and to prevent damage to your vehicle's engine. If you need catalytic converter repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!