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4 Common Catalytic Converter Problems to Look Out For

A check engine light can appear in your car for dozens of different reasons. If you are not a gearhead, this little orange light on the dashboard can be a troubling sight.

One of the most common reasons for the engine light is your vehicle’s catalytic converter. 

As such, this article will focus on this important part of a car. Read on to learn more about how it works and 4 common catalytic converter problems. 

What is a Catalytic Converter?

Let’s first learn more about how the converter works. 

When you drive, the engine produces substances that are harmful to the environment. Among these fumes are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide. 

The reason these gasses aren’t poisoning us is because of the catalytic converter. The converter is located under your vehicle tied into the exhaust system. As your car emits pollutants, they run through the pipes into the converter. 

The catalytic converter transforms these toxins into non-toxic substances through chemical reactions. Inside is a grid of metals like palladium and platinum that act as the catalyst and clean the pollutants.   

Now that you know what the converter is, you realize it plays an important role in the car. So, let look at some of the problems to look out for on the catalytic converter. 

1) Hard To Start Engine

If your engine is sluggish to turn over, it could be the result of a clogged catalytic converter. 

It’s possible for the fumes to build up in the exhaust system. This can lead to an obstruction in the grid of metals in the converter. 

This build-up of gasses means increased pressure and a stalling engine. 

Fortunately, there are methods for cleaning your converter. It should be serviced every year.

2) Poor Gas Mileage

It is natural for fuel efficiency to decrease over time. However, if you notice a sudden dip in your car’s gas mileage, it could be the catalytic converter. 

If the converter is failing, your engine is not breathing adequately. The less oxygen that reaches the engine, the more gas burns up.  

Keep an eye on your gas mileage. If you are having issues, start with the converter. 

3) Failed Emissions Test

Some states require routine emission testing for your vehicle. The emissions test examines the pollutants your car is exhausting. 

If your car is letting off carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, it’s a sign that your exhaust system isn’t working. The culprit is generally the catalytic converter. 

 Consider having an emissions test every few years.

4) Dark Exhaust Fumes

Keep an eye on the fumes from your exhaust pipe. If you see thick dark clouds of exhaust, you have an issue. 

Typically, clouds of the exhaust are a result of clogging. The fumes can’t ventilate. When they finally escape, it emits thick dark clouds.

The first place to look for clogging is in the catalytic converter. 

Watch Out for These Catalytic Converter Problems

As you can see, driving with a bad catalytic converter reduces the reliability and efficiency of your car. Watch out for these common catalytic converter problems.  If you enjoyed this article, stick out the blog for more automotive tips. 

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