Symptoms of Catalytic Converter Failure

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Most modern cars are equipped with catalytic converter to reduce vehicle emissions that pollute the air, but many of us do not know when the converter is going to fail or needs to be replaced. Many spend a lot of many on repairs and waste time in auto services without having a clue about the signs of a converter failure.

The catalytic converter is one of the greatest emission control devices. The gas emissions start in the engine, but the catalytic converter is the last stop for exhaust gases. It hangs on the toxic air before it shoots into the atmosphere, until it is converted to something less harmful like nitrogen, CO2 or water vapor. Its failure in not only harmful to the atmosphere, but it can rob your car power and full performance. Here you will see why this failure occurs:

  • The power of the engine is loss significantly and as it is forced the engine is overheating, damaging the converter as well as the engine itself. This damage results form an incorrect air-to-fuel mixture or misfiring spark plugs. Overheating in the converter leads to its failure.
  • Chemical mechanisms such as oil or antifreeze can enter the exhaust system blocking the air passages, stopping the converter to reduce harmful emission. A symptom of failure is a high level of toxic gas emissions.
  • The catalytic converter is protected by an insulating mat. If the converter is still hot and is exposed to a cooling process like a cold rain for example, this can fracture the mat that protects the converter leading to a noisy sound which can be the symptom of a failure.
  • A final cause of catalytic converter failure is the impact with a rock that can hit the converter on road driving. If it’s damaged, the symptoms could be a high level of toxic gas emissions or a loss of power.

Taking your car to service is necessary when the catalytic converter show signs of failure, like an odor and a loss of the power generated by the engine.

  • If you are on road driving and the exhaust smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, it’s a sign that the air/fuel mixture is not balanced. The unburned fuel in the exhaust is accumulating on the surfaces of the catalytic converter cutting off airflow and burning sulfur.
  • A catalytic converter problem often causes a loss of accelerating power. A blocked converter limits the amount of air getting to the engine and affecting the power generated by the engine.

Usually the catalytic converter is replaced when shows signs of failure. Do not to spend money in repairing the catalytic converter, because it is like any another enclose device which operates under chemical reactions. It simply cannot be opened or repaired. Although this replacing is necessary you must verify the new converter and detect if it’s damaged. If there is no problem, then the new catalytic converter is ready to be use.

The warranty on a catalytic converter is 100,000 miles or 10 years on most of the new cars. But if you notice a failure on the converter before this ‚whichever comes first’, you should contact the car manufacturer and see if you can get a free replacement.