Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter

Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter

A bad catalytic converter can cause a lot of fuss when you badly need your vehicle for an urgent trip. You can only imagine the frustration if you missed out on an important contract because your car failed due to a faulty catalytic converter. 

But how much attention do you often pay to your car to find out the symptoms that are associated with a faulty converter? If you have not been vigilant enough before now, coming across this post will help you make an informed decision as to what to look for and do in the event your vehicle’s catalytic converter is faulty.

Quickly, let’s make an analogy to show you how crucial the catalytic converter is to your vehicle. 

What’s your immediate reaction when you heard a friend had liver damage? The liver acts as a detoxifier of chemicals and a metabolizer of drugs to the human body. The catalytic converter performs a similar role in your vehicle. 

How Does Your Car’s Catalytic Converter work?

It is designed to last the car’s lifetime. The catalytic converter is the vehicle exhaust emission regulating device that converts carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into harmless carbon IV oxide and water. The converter works by creating a kind of chemical reaction that cleans up the toxic gases exiting your car’s engine. 

But, it can become bad and fail if they become clogged. However, there are symptoms to show if your catalytic converter has become bad; the symptoms will help the vehicle user to fix to avoid poor performance immediately. 

Signs of a Faulty Catalytic Converter

Here are a few bad catalytic converter symptoms that you should look out for: if you engage the services of a trained car repairman, you can be sure you will get the best advice and diagnosis. 

1. Misfiring of the Engine 

When the catalytic converter becomes bad, you will notice that the convert begins to overheat and show visual signs of failing when the engine starts to misfire. Apart from these, you will also notice similar symptoms when a rich fuel mixture is present in the oil tank. 

Now, this very rich fuel mixture can cause ignition by allowing raw fuel to enter the converter. However, this stage is very dangerous and can quickly melt the catalyst components present in the engine. 

2. Check Engine Light Stays on

Your vehicle’s warning light will notify you when your vehicle is beginning to develop an issue. Usually, the vehicle’s check engine light is the first symptom that you have a bad catalytic converter. Don’t forget, this light is not supposed to be on under normal circumstances. So, keep your eyes wide open for when the light pops on. 

3. Poor Performance of the Engine

The engine is the powerhouse of your vehicle just as the heart makes the body. A bad catalytic converter results in poor engine delivery. In some cases, the vehicle creates excessive exhaust backpressure when the catalytic converter becomes bad or clogged. 

Now, this excessive exhaust chokes the engine that will eventually lead to engine performance issues like loss of power and stalling. The backpressure, which happens as a result of the bad catalytic converter, prevents the engine from running freely, making your vehicle shake. 

4. Increase in the Emission of the Vehicle

Earlier, I stated that the catalytic job is to clean up all the emissions that your vehicle engine produces, which may be harmful to your vehicle. Therefore, when you have a bad catalytic converter, your vehicle can easily fail a state emission test. 

This is because one of the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter a vehicle user should notice is the increase in the emissions. When the catalytic converter is beginning to fail, it fails to do its work properly, which is essentially reducing the gaseous emissions from the engine. 

When there is no proper cleaning of these gases, harmful gases, such as carbon emissions become the consequence of a bad exhaust system. This sign is a serious one as it can eventually damage your vehicle’s entire exhaust system if it doesn’t get fixed immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I do if I have a bad catalytic converter?

The ideal step to do when you have a catalytic converter is to replace the bad converter immediately. This is because a bad catalytic converter is bad for the environment and can lead to really poor performance.

Q: How do I unclog a bad catalytic converter?

Don’t be penny-wise, pound-foolish when it comes to fixing certain parts of your vehicle. In fact, a catalytic converter, being the liver of your vehicle, requires special attention. Interestingly, you will find several products and methods out there that boast of unclogging a plugged-up catalytic converter, it is highly recommended that you replace it with a new one. 

Q: How long does a vehicle’s catalytic converter last?

It depends on a number of factors. Typically, a catalytic converter is designed to last as long as the vehicle but with the engine properly maintained. If you want your vehicle’s catalytic converter to last, you should be prepared to maintain it full time. 

Final Thoughts

Most times, catalytic converter issues usually do not affect the functions of the vehicle. But, driving a car with a faulty catalytic converter has so many impacts on the environment, which is why we highly recommend that you get it fixed. 

Make no mistake about it, some signs your car is showing may not be as a result of a faulty catalytic converter, but you will need to respond to them as quickly as possible. 

You can go the Do-It-Yourself way, but it is better to hire the services of a professional repairman or mechanic who specializes in fixing the faulty part. They will carry out a proper diagnosis and recommend the best thing to do. Don’t give room for any compromise when it comes to maintaining your vehicle. After all, a safe and smooth drive makes the joy of owning a vehicle.