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How can I tell if my catalytic converter is defective?

How can I tell if my catalytic converter is defective?

Your car's catalytic converter is designed to reduce the amount of these harmful substances as much as possible through chemical reactions.  Sometimes it can become clogged, causing your exhaust system to malfunction. In this article, we'll show you how to identify a faulty catalytic converter.

What are the symptoms of a faulty catalytic converter?

1. Engine light on

One of the most obvious signs of a faulty catalytic converter is the engine light on your dashboard. Your car is equipped with oxygen sensors that monitor the amount of oxygen and other gases in your exhaust. If the catalytic converter isn't working properly, it will trigger the sensors and turn on the engine light.

2. Unpleasant exhaust odor

If you're driving and suddenly notice a rotten egg smell. This could be the catalytic converter. Why does this happen? This is because the sulfur in gasoline passes through the catalytic converter unfiltered and forms hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs.

If the catalytic converter is working properly, it will convert the sulfide to odorless sulfur dioxide. If it doesn't, the hydrogen sulfide escapes from the exhaust before it's converted, causing a foul odor.

3. Reduced fuel economy

If the catalytic converter is unable to burn off the excess fuel in your exhaust, it will cause the engine to run too rich, using more fuel than necessary. A catalytic converter has two sensors: one upstream and one downstream. If there is an internal blockage, the ECM will compensate by injecting more fuel, which will reduce your car's fuel economy.

You may also notice black smoke coming from your exhaust or a strong gasoline odor. A rich mixture can also damage other parts of your engine, such as spark plugs and oxygen sensors.

4. Rattling noise

A rattling noise coming from underneath your car could indicate that the honeycomb material inside your catalytic converter has broken or melted due to overheating or physical damage. When it breaks, it can rattle inside the catalytic converter or block the exhaust flow. A rattling noise can also be caused by loose or broken parts in your exhaust system, such as the muffler or brackets.

The car will start to rattle and the parts will vibrate when you start the car.

5. Increased emissions

The main function of a catalytic converter is to reduce emissions from your car's engine. If it fails, it won't be able to do its job and you'll end up releasing more pollutants into the air. This can cause you to fail an emissions test or violate environmental regulations.

6. The car starts to misfire

The device failure causes the gas in your engine to heat up to the point of ignition. This ignition causes misfiring and can damage engine components.

7. Poor acceleration

If you notice that your car is slow to respond or hesitates when you step on the gas pedal, this could be a sign of a clogged catalytic converter. A clogged catalytic converter restricts the flow of exhaust gases from your engine, creating back pressure and reducing engine power and performance.

Can I drive with a defective catalytic converter?

While it is possible to drive with a defective catalytic converter, it is strongly discouraged and even illegal. In the event of an inspection, you could be fined for non-compliance with emission standards, not to mention increased fuel consumption. It's far more cost-effective to clean the catalytic converter to reduce emissions than to play with fire, which could end up costing you your entire car, not to mention skyrocketing fuel consumption.

What to do about the symptoms of a faulty catalytic converter?

Clean the catalytic converter

If your catalytic converter is clogged, you can clean it. You can use a cleaning product that does not require disassembly. All you have to do is pour the contents into the fuel tank after it is half full. Then you'll need to drive at least 3,000 rpm for about twenty minutes to heat the catalytic converter.

Descale the catalytic converter

If the catalytic converter is clogged, it may need to be descaled. To do this, contact a professional using a hydrogen machine to remove all the scales from the catalytic converter. The hydrogen machine aims to raise the temperature of the catalytic converter and start the chemical reactions necessary to burn off the fine particles.

Changing the catalytic converter

If your catalytic converter is completely worn out, you'll need to replace it. We recommend that you wait until the catalytic converter has cooled down before proceeding. Then remove the oxygen sensor and carefully unscrew the catalytic converter. Once the failed catalytic converter is removed, you can install the new one along with the other parts you removed.

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