The catalytic converter can be one of the most expensive car parts to replace because it contains precious metals. This part is an essential part of the exhaust system, being responsible for filtering out pollutants to make the exhaust meet emissions standards. Due to its importance and cost, it is in your best interest to care for this part carefully. This is especially important if you have performance exhaust systems. Learn three common catalytic converter problems and how to avoid them.
- Clogging – The catalytic converter can become clogged with the pollutants it filters out. A leak in the coolant system may also cause this. This can be difficult to identify until it is too late. Observing your emissions levels is the only way to catch it very early, but keeping an eye out for lower acceleration or a sluggish engine performance can still alert you before the catalytic converter is beyond repair. Alternatively, installing high flow catalytic converters can help avoid the problem entirely.
- Overheating – If the catalytic converter gets too hot, it will break entirely. This usually happens as a result of an oxygen sensor breaking. Without an oxygen sensor, the fuel mixture becomes too rich, which makes the part run hot. You can catch a broken sensor by running a car diagnostic occasionally. A broken sensor may also turn on your check engine light.
- Wearing out – Catalytic converters cannot last forever. They will become contaminated over time due to normal operation. Most catalytic converter last for more than 10 years, but they do have a fixed lifespan. Maintaining your vehicle on a regular schedule can delay this inevitable problem for as long as possible.
A sluggish engine, dark exhaust, higher engine heat, and a bad smell are all signs that your catalytic converter is being damaged. Keep an eye out for what your car is telling you.