Symptoms Of a Bad or Clogged Catalytic Converter

You need to be aware that you shouldn’t continue to drive for very long if you’ve ever considered doing so when your catalytic converter is defective. A clogged catalytic converter should be replaced right away if you experience delayed powertrain performance, decreased acceleration, a sulfurous or rotten egg smell coming from the exhaust, dark exhaust smoke, or high heat coming from under the car.Symptoms Of a Bad Catalytic Converter

If you have any of these issues while driving, you should have them replaced because they could harm your engine. The entire failure of the engine could result from those issues, which would be much worse than some unpleasant odors or noises. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the most common symptoms you’ll undoubtedly notice if your catalytic converter is bad or clogged.

That said, we’ll go over when you should change your catalytic converter, what causes the clogged catalytic converter, if you can drive with a bad converter, and how much it will cost you to replace the catalytic converter.

So, let’s get right into it!


What are the symptoms of a bad or clogged catalytic converter?

The catalytic converters (CATs) get a lot of hazardous pollutants, which may eventually cause them to become clogged. When that occurs, a blocked catalytic converter won’t be able to properly convert these exhaust gasses, which will lead to them getting trapped in the combustion chamber and reducing the power of your engine. Your engine could completely shut off if this problem is not quickly resolved. Here are a few symptoms of a bad or clogged catalytic converter:

Check engine light is on

The check engine light coming on is the most obvious sign of a clogged catalytic converter. Use an OBD scanner to verify whether the catalytic converter is the issue if you notice that your check engine light is on.

Low fuel efficiency

Your vehicle’s fuel economy and gas mileage will deteriorate if the catalytic converter has a large obstruction. The amount of fresh, combustible oxygen required for proper operation of the engine can be decreased as a result of increased exhaust buildup in the engine due to a blocked catalytic converter. The amount of oxygen the engine receives determines how hard it must work to reach speed. This extra load reduces your fuel economy (mileage) and makes the converter clog worse.

Sluggish acceleration

One of the most obvious indicators that your catalytic converter may be clogged is decreased engine performance. The cause of your car jerking, stalling, and having trouble navigating steep hills is probably faulty combustion. What causes that to occur? Exhaust gases cannot pass through a catalytic converter that is malfunctioning and exit through the exhaust pipe.

You could initially assume low fuel pressure. In actuality, dangerous fumes clog the combustion chamber, causing incomplete combustion, poorer acceleration, poorer engine performance, and longer engine lag.

Vehicle Starting Issues

The exhaust system fills with a lot of smoke when a catalytic converter becomes clogged. This could result in frequent stalling or make it impossible to start the automobile at all. Your engine may likely sputter and only start a few seconds later if the CAT system is seriously clogged.

The smell of Rotten Eggs and Sulfur

When a catalytic converter is functioning properly, hazardous gas is converted into a less dangerous exhaust. How? Fuel enters a functioning catalytic converter, where it converts pollutants like hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide, which has no smell. A catalytic converter that is clogged won’t be able to effectively handle the sulfur exhaust gases, which will result in a rotten egg odor.

Misfiring engine

The toxic gas trapped in the engine warms up to the point of ignition as the catalytic converter becomes clogged. The engine misfires as a result of this ignition, gradually harming important engine parts. It’s advisable to get in touch with a pro right away if you find that your engine misfires.

Vehicle Emission Test Failure

Most states mandate that automobile owners test their vehicles’ emissions annually. The key element in charge of producing safe exhaust gas emissions is a catalytic converter. Therefore, if your catalytic converter is blocked and not processing hazardous gases like carbon monoxide properly, your automobile will probably fail an emissions test.

When should you change your catalytic converter?

Your car’s catalytic converter turns harmful pollutants into gas that is safe to breathe. The catalytic converter should be changed after a typical lifespan of 10 years. If the converter exhibits any other obvious issues, such as clogging or physical damage, you should also replace it. Replace the catalytic converter on your vehicle.

Your engine could completely shut down if the catalytic converter in your car is not fixed or replaced in a timely manner. By cleaning or replacing the blocked catalytic converter, the staff at Performance Muffler is dedicated to ensuring that your car operates efficiently. Learn when it’s appropriate to change a catalytic converter by reading on.

What causes the clogged catalytic converter?

The lifespan of catalytic converters is very long. The effectiveness of the converter can, however, be impacted by time and the environment, particularly when the engine performs poorly. For instance, overheating of the catalytic converter may be caused by used spark plugs and coolant leakage (exhaust leaks).

In other instances, soot accumulation in the exhaust can obstruct the converter’s normal performance. It is advised that you fix or replace the catalytic converter as soon as possible if it isn’t performing as it should.

Can you drive with a bad converter?

Driving with a damaged catalytic converter may not be dangerous, but it is highly recommended that you fix the issue. Even with a clogged catalytic converter, you can still drive your car, but it will cost you. Your car’s performance will suffer, and it might even be difficult to start it at all. It’s time to make plans for replacing the catalytic converter as soon as you notice symptoms of a malfunction.

If you’re short on cash and can’t afford to replace the catalytic converter right away, you might be thinking how long you can put up with this situation. The possibility that, in the event that the catalytic converter is only partially blocked, you might be able to drive it forever. However, if it is significantly clogged, you should stop driving and have it replaced right away.

How much does it cost to replace the catalytic converter?

The fact that replacement costs for catalytic converters vary drastically contributes to their fear and irritation. The primary distinction between a direct fit and a universal fit unit is this. A muffler shop may simply install a universal replacement converter for $2-300.00 for many automobiles.

To do this, the old converter is removed from the exhaust section, and a new one is then welded in or clamped in its place. A direct-fit converter is the sole choice in many recent vehicles since the converter is frequently built into the exhaust manifold itself or into a complex down-pipe section from the engine.

Direct-fit converters are often bolt-on components that must be removed in order to be replaced, then a new component must be bolted in place. They are frequently much more expensive compared to their universal equivalents since they are more complex.

Depending on the model, a replacement for direct-fit alternatives can cost anywhere between $300 and $2,500 simply for the part. Additionally, keep in mind that installing the converter could cost between $70 and $130 per hour of work. The time needed to complete the task will change depending on the particular vehicle used.

Even while you will save money on labor if you perform the work yourself, the catalytic converter itself is sometimes the most expensive part of the project. Even while the task can be time-consuming, it’s frequently not too challenging, especially if you purchase a direct replacement catalytic converter.

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How does a car act when the catalytic converter is gone?

Extremely loud engine noises are the first indication that a catalytic converter is gone. Driving without a catalytic converter may cause your car to sound like it is roaring, especially when you start it or give it gas.

What happens if a catalytic converter is blocked?

The exhaust system fills with a lot of smoke when a catalytic converter becomes clogged. This could result in frequent stalling or make it impossible to start the automobile at all. Your engine may likely sputter and only start a few seconds later if the CAT system is seriously clogged.

What are the 3 most leading failures of a catalytic converter?

The three main causes of catalytic converter failure are overheated, melted, and damaged converters.

Will removing a catalytic converter hurt engine?

Engine fault codes will be produced, which will negatively affect engine performance. Although the engine won’t be harmed if the catalytic converter is removed, you can expect a decrease in engine power and a decrease in fuel efficiency.

How do I know if my catalytic converter needs to be replaced?

Here are 5 Signs Your Catalytic Converter Needs to be Replaced:

  • Rattling Noises. The converter—also referred to as the “cat”—contains a ceramic block with many small pores that resemble a honeycomb.
  • Decreased fuel efficiency.
  • Bad odors.
  • Engine Warning Light.
  • Power loss.

Can you clean a catalytic converter?

Yes. The next step would be to remove the catalytic converter and make an effort to physically clean it after confirming that it is neither damaged nor too blocked for cleaning. Utilizing water and lacquer thinner is the finest way.

And that’s it for this article, in which we discussed the symptoms of a bad or clogged catalytic converter. Apart from that, we discussed when you should change your catalytic converter, what causes the clogged catalytic converter, if you can drive with a bad converter, and how much it will cost you to replace the catalytic converter. Hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!

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