Doing These Things can Lead to a Bad Catalytic Converter

Car owners often neglect some maintenance items, like tune-ups, because they want to save money on car expenses. Unfortunately, the problem with this mindset is that by ignoring certain service items one will end up having more expensive car repairs down the road. This is especially true when it comes to the catalytic converter. Its job is to remove harmful gases from the exhaust so they don’t pollute.  To do this, several precious metals (usually platinum and palladium) act as a chemical catalyst. It’s become of these metals that the cost to replace a catalytic converter is expensive. By doing (or not doing) certain things, you will more than likely end up with a bad catalytic converter. What are some of the things that will cause a catalytic converter to fail? Read on to find out.

  1. Neglecting Engine Tune-Ups – When was the last time you had the spark plugs and wires changed? When the engine gets out of tune, the entire vehicle will undergo more wear and tear. The catalytic converter is particularly susceptible to bad engine performance. An improper air/fuel mixture, improper timing and/or misfiring spark plugs will affect the exhaust coming from the engine. Anything that affects the exhaust will cause issues with the catalytic converter. If the problem continues for an extended period of time, the catalytic converter will go bad.
  2. Fuel Entering the Exhaust System – For your engine to run properly, it requires an exact ratio of fuel to air. Too little fuel and the engine doesn’t run right. Too much fuel and the unburnt fuel will enter the exhaust system. When that happens, the unspent fuel ignites when it reaches the catalytic converter causing it to heat up beyond its normal operating temperature. If it runs like this for too long… the catalytic converter will fail and you’ll be spending a lot of money to replace it. You can prevent this from happening by having tune-ups done regularly and replacing faulty parts, like oxygen sensors and fuel injectors.
  3. Coolant or Oil Entering the Exhaust System – The cooling system is paramount to engine performance. When the cooling system is neglected, the engine runs hotter than it should which could cause things like a cracked manifold gasket or cylinder head gasket. When these gaskets go bad, coolant and/or motor oil can leak into the combustion chamber and exhaust. Coolant and/or oil in the exhaust system will result in the accumulation of carbon deposits on the catalytic converter and end up blocking exhaust flow.
  4. “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” Light Left Unfixed – The Check Engine and Service Engine Soon light is an important warning system that lets you know there is a problem somewhere in the emissions system. If left unfixed, you will end up having to replace the catalytic converter. (Read more about the Check Engine Light here).

The simplest way to avoid having to replace the catalytic converter is to regularly maintain your vehicle. The certified technicians in our auto repair shop in Morristown, New Jersey, complete a 27-point courtesy inspection each time you bring your vehicle to Shade Tree Garage for service. We also keep a detailed service history on your vehicle so we can let you know when it’s time for a tune-up, the cooling system needs to be serviced, or there’s another engine component that should be addressed. Click here to schedule service or repair with Shade Tree Garage.

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