How to Tell if Your Catalytic Converter Has Gone Bad

One of the crucial components of your car’s exhaust system is its catalytic converter. It is essential in changing certain properties of the harmful gases which are by-products of running the engine. Consequently, gas emissions become less damaging to the environment. It is important that you spot the early signs of a bad catalytic converter. So, what are the symptoms? Check out our list below to know if it is time to bring your car to a service center.

A Decrease in the Quality of Performance

You will notice a latent decrease in the quality of your vehicle’s performance because the exhaust has nowhere to escape. The back pressure affects how the engine runs, preventing it from breathing properly. The engine can stall during your drive due to the sudden increase in back pressure. It will seem like air is trapped within the system, prompting the vehicle to jerk. Whenever you push the accelerator, you will feel as if your engine is not getting enough fuel.

Misfiring in the Engine System

When the engine misfires, the catalytic converter will start to overheat. It is worth noting that you will notice the same symptoms when fuel mixture is exceptionally rich. Consequently, the catalytic converter gets ignited due to the raw fuel entering it. Under these conditions, the catalyst components will start to melt.

Poor Fuel Economy

Once your catalytic converter starts to fail, you will notice a drop in your fuel economy. As such, you might encounter costly expenses over a brief period of time.

Exhaust System Performing Poorly

In some cases, the reason why the catalytic converter malfunction is because of a problem in the fuel system. One of the signs of this issue is a limited performance from the exhaust system. This is an indication that the catalyst materials within are starting to melt.

You can also try taking out the oxygen sensors from the exhaust temporarily to identify if the catalytic converter is starting to fail. If you notice a significant change in the performance of the vehicle, then you will know that the converter is clogged and is starting to go bad.

Fuel Vapor Over the Carburetor

If you have a carburetor in your vehicle, it will be useful if you inspect the condition of the catalytic converter. Before you do so, make sure you ask a friend to assist you. Simply take out the air cleaner, then ask your friend to point a strong flashlight by the carburetor intake. Rev the engine, then look at the area over the carburetor where the light is shining. If you see fuel vapor coming from the top of the carburetor, then it means that the catalytic converter is clogged.

Significant Increase in Emissions

The catalytic converter’s chemical mechanisms can get contaminated and perform poorly as you add fluids like the antifreeze or motor oil. Once this happens, there will be a significant increase in the amount of carbon emissions coming from the exhaust system. To resolve this issue, you will need to replace the malfunctioning catalytic converter. You must do this immediately to prevent it from damaging the entire exhaust system or emitting an illegal levels of greenhouse gases into the environment.

In most cases, the catalytic converter-related issues do not affect the function of a car. However, if your catalytic converter has failed entirely, you should avoid driving your vehicle any further. There are countries that prohibit drivers from using vehicles with a damaged catalytic converter because of its negative impact on the environment.

So, if you are planning to get a vehicle from the Japanese Car Auction make sure that the catalytic converter is working. If the issue is indicated in the inspection report, have the component replaced immediately.

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