Having an exhaust problem in your car can be quite alarming. Because it can damage both the internal performance and the entire exhaust system. But what might cause an exhaust problem? So, there arises the question of signs that your car might need a new catalytic converter.
So, this is where the Catalytic Converter comes into the picture. If your dream four-wheeler ever starts to emit a strange odor, sputtering issues, and runs rough on unusual terrains, then it is essential to pay attention to the car’s Catalytic Converter.
So, in this maintenance guide, we will be taking you through the various signs. But before that, it is very much essential to understand what a Catalytic Converter is and its functions fully.
“There is an emissions system on any vehicle that takes constant readings from the Catalytic Converter and adjusts the fuel-air mix and sets the spark point. Without the converter, it will not function properly, and performance will suffer greatly.”
Understanding Catalytic Converters
A Catalytic Converter is an in-built device in a car. It reduces harmful pollutants into less harmful ones that are emitted out through the exhaust. However, a Catalytic Converter problem can have a significant negative impact on both the car and the environment.
“Catalytic Converters are required by law to reduce pollutants. Anyone who removes a converter is subject to getting two hots and a cot.”
Functions of a Catalytic Converter
The Catalytic Converter component in your car has two primary functions. They are:
- To help your vehicle to run smoothly.
- To reduce the number of harmful pollutants emitted from your car’s exhaust.
But how does a Catalytic Converter achieve this process? The Catalytic Converters are filled with chemicals that incorporate a reaction with the harmful gasses and other pollutants such as Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen monoxide, with the help of the heat that is produced by the engines.
Aiding the car to run smoothly
As we all know, the primary factor associated with a car’s performance and smoothness depends on the mixture of air and gasses. For instance, if a vehicle runs on a gasoline engine, then the car takes up more gasoline than air from the carburetor.
Also, keep in mind that if the gasoline levels exceed the standard amount, the car’s performance can be affected as the air is left with little energy to create combustion.
To solve this misery, a process called enrichment comes in handy. Enrichment is the process of adjusting the amount of fuel. It gets put into the air mixture concerning the speed at which the car is moving.
The elements in Catalytic Converter break down any unburnt hydrocarbons and Carbon-monoxide before the mixture enters the Enrichment process. Hence, the car runs smoothly due to this conversion process that enables extra energy to bulge into the air mixture.
Now that you have understood the significance and the functions of the Catalytic Converter system let us discuss the crux of this guide.
Signs that your car might need a new Catalytic Converter
Various factors can be involved in a faulty or damaged Catalytic Converter. These factors may result from either the malfunction of the car’s internal components or the external factors that can indirectly affect your Catalytic Converter.
So, without further ado, let us look at the signs.
01. Overheating of the engine:
Another typical symptom of a faulty Catalytic Converter would be when the engine begins to overheat more rapidly than it would usually under normal conditions.
Essentially, this is because your Catalytic Converter is no longer capable of performing its role owing to weakening or failure. This implies that, while heat is still produced in your engine. The quantity that exits into your exhaust system is significantly lower than the average quantity that should be escaping.
This creates a rise in temperature and pressure inside the funnel and cylinders. It results in tremendous heat being generated throughout the entire system. When enough energy or heat accumulates, it can destroy systems such as gaskets, hoses, and seals.
02. The high revving of the engines:
Another indicator that your vehicle needs a new Catalytic Converter is if the engine seems to be revving greater than average, even if you’re not applying pressure on the accelerator pedal all that hard.
The Catalytic Converter must change harmful toxins and gases into less dangerous ones. It does this by containing a catalyst substance and then boosting heat and pressure to make the combustion proceed quicker and more effectively.
However, if your Catalytic Converter has been damaged, this reaction mechanism can no longer take effect as it should. It causes your engine to work much harder to get the same output. As a direct result, when you attempt to accelerate, you’ll find that your RPMs are significantly high.
03. Difficulty in starting the engine or the car running roughly:
The first and most obvious indicator of a defective Catalytic Converter is when your automobile runs rough or has difficulties starting. This occurs when the Catalytic Converter is not operating at full capacity. For this reason, it is unable to handle the harmful emissions and gases generated by your engine.
That means they accumulate within the exhaust pipe. When your automobile attempts to run, it can cause fatal damage to both the engine and the exhaust system.
04. Random alerts regarding the engine:
When your car’s “check engine” indicator turns on at random intervals, it’s another clue that it’s time for a new Catalytic Converter. This warning light HG might illuminate for a variety of causes. It is simply not the Catalytic Converter.
However, if you’re already experiencing exhaust system issues and unusual odors coming from your tailpipe, it’s worth looking at your Catalytic Converter.
05. Failing the smog inspections:
Passing state pollution checks or smog inspections is the second most prevalent issue for individuals whose vehicles have abnormal Catalytic Converters.
All vehicles operated on public roads are required by state law to undergo these tests. So if your vehicle flunks its emissions check, you’ll most likely need to repair the Catalytic Converter immediately.
06. Foul odors emitting from the exhaust:
Yet another indicator that you need a Catalytic Converter Replacement is if you detect a weird stench emanating from beneath your hood or near the back of your car or SUV.
This stench might be anything from rotting eggs (denoting sulfur) to an overly pleasant scent (denoting coolant). Whatever odor you sense, it isn’t something you want to be around for long, so have your Catalytic Converter tested very quickly.
07. Leakage through tailpipe:
The exhaust oozing from below your vehicle near the tailpipe position is a huge indicator that you may need a new Catalytic Converter.
This is usually associated with damage to all gaskets or seals surrounding this system component and is mostly caused by extreme heat, which is also a sign of a damaged Catalytic Converter.
If there is a leak, not only will gases be emitted directly in front of where you stop your car at work or home, but it may also be dangerous to anybody walking past on the street if it accumulates too rapidly.
08. Increased fuel consumption:
If your car gradually begins to consume more gasoline than it used to, this might be an indication of a Catalytic Converter issue. This sort of symptom is frequently gradual, making it difficult to spot at first.
You’ll eventually face the troubles starting in one or two parts and combination with a thirstier engine. So, it’s worth addressing your mechanic regarding the situation before it worsens.
A malfunctioning Catalytic Converter can harm other elements of your engine and exhaust system if left unattended. So take it to the mechanic at the first indication of problems.
So, there you have it—some of the significant signs. Make sure to keep an eye on any of the issues that are mentioned above, as this maintenance is exceptionally crucial for the longevity of your dream car.
Frequently asked questions
1. Can you replace a Catalytic Converter without the assistance of a professional?
Installing a Catalytic Converter is not a simple task. And that’s not something you should attempt on your own. Most professionals advocate rebuilding the whole exhaust system when upgrading because the converter’s functionality is dependent on having adequate piping and tubing in place for it to perform correctly.
It’s also vital to note that since you’ll be operating with high temperatures and exhaust fumes, this operation may be risky. So, you should always take care if you ever need to repair your Catalytic Converter alone.
2. How much does a new Catalytic Converter cost?
A new Catalytic Converter might cost between $300 and $1,200. It depends on where you reside and the car you drive. If you need assistance locating this information for your specific model, we recommend visiting some internet forums or talking to local technicians.
Sadly, there are no viable choices to having a new system put in your automobile. So you’ll want to prepare ahead of time and get this done soon.
3. What happens if a faulty Catalytic Converter is not replaced?
If it has begun to flow poorly due to being jammed, the car will operate exceedingly poorly. The vehicle will be underpowered and underperforming in terms of fuel economy.
The Catalytic Converter might overheat in severe situations. It causes undercarriage elements to burn, corrode, smolder, or burst into flames.
We believe that you now understand the importance of a Catalytic Converter.
You should also bear in mind that replacing it professionally might be just as quick. And it will cost more than doing it yourself (which is not recommended). Nevertheless, it may be less expensive than purchasing anything completely new!