How to Tell if There’s a Problem with Your Car’s Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter in your vehicle plays an important role in reducing exhaust emissions and pollution. It looks like a simple metal canister but it is filled with a mixture of precious metals, typically platinum and palladium, that act as a chemical catalyst. Its job is to covert the gases coming from the engine combustion process into non-harmful gases. Typically, a catalytic converter that is failing will begin to produce a number of symptoms.

As with any type of major engine component, it’s important to have it checked out right away. When it comes to a catalytic converter, here are some of the symptoms to look for:

  • Poor engine performance is one of the first signs there may be a problem with the catalytic converter. A catalytic converter can sometimes clog because of a problem in another part of the fuel system. When it becomes clogged, you will begin to notice a decrease in fuel efficiency and an inability to accelerate properly. The engine may even misfire or stall.
  • Is the Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light on? This could be the result of a simple problem but it could also indicate an issue with the catalytic converter. Failure to correct this problem will eventually lead to issues with the catalytic converter, including having to replace this expensive part. Read more about the Check Engine light here.
  • You may notice a rattling noise. As the chemical catalyst ages, it begins to break down into smaller pieces. These pieces of catalyst will cause a rattling noise under your vehicle. If the catalyst breaks down into pieces that are too small, it can block or restrict the flow of exhaust from your vehicle.
  • There’s a rotten-egg smell coming from the tailpipe. This smell occurs because the catalyst has broken down too much and leads to the emission of sulfur dioxide.

What Can I Do to Prevent Problems with the Catalytic Converter?

  1. Make sure your vehicle is tuned up regularly. If you aren’t sure how often you should have a tune-up done on your vehicle, no need to worry. Our certified auto technicians will let you know when your vehicle is due for a tune-up.
  2. Take care of Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light problems right away. It could be as simple as replacing a faulty gas cap or an oxygen sensor. If you continue to ignore this warning light, you could cause serious engine damage, including having to replace the catalytic converter.

If you are noticing any of the symptoms we mentioned here, bring your vehicle to the trusted auto professionals at Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, NJ. Click here to schedule an appointment for catalytic converter repair in our auto repair shop.

photo credit: follettmotors_com Audi A4 1.9 TDI Catalytic Converter via photopin (license)

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