Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Kevin Chen
Image Source: Mechanicbase
You may not know it, but your car has a hidden defense system. It’s called the catalytic converter, and it’s designed to protect you from harmful emissions. That makes the catalytic converter one of the most important parts in your car.
But what exactly is a catalytic converter? How does it work? And how can you recognize when there might be something wrong?
If you have noticed strange noises coming from under the hood, or if you frequently have to refuel early due to poor mileage, then you could have a problem with your catalytic converter. Fortunately this article will teach you everything you need to know about fixing that pesky cat!
What is a Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is the hidden hero of your car’s emissions system. It’s hidden because it’s located underneath the car, behind the engine, and it’s not really something you can see. But when it starts to break down, it’s something you’ll know right away. The catalytic converter is a piece of equipment that you can’t do without when it comes to emissions. It works by reducing the amount of harmful emissions going into the atmosphere. The harmful emissions are created by the engine and they include hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. The catalytic converter uses a chemical reaction to change the harmful emissions into less harmful substances. This is done with the help of an extremely fine material that’s coated in a precious metal such as platinum. When the car is moving, the exhaust gases travel through the catalytic converter and are changed in a chemical process. The harmful emissions are broken into less harmful substances, mainly carbon dioxide and water vapor.
How Does a Catalytic Converter Work?
The catalytic converter works by using a chemical reaction to change the harmful emissions into less harmful substances. This is done with the help of an extremely fine material that’s coated in a precious metal such as platinum. When the car is moving, the exhaust gases travel through the catalytic converter and are changed in a chemical process. The harmful emissions are broken into less harmful substances, mainly carbon dioxide and water vapor. The catalytic converter is usually attached to the exhaust pipe where it can be heated up by the exhaust gases. The gases travel through the catalytic converter and are heated up to very high temperatures. This high temperature is used to trigger the chemical reaction that changes the harmful emissions into less harmful substances.
5 Signs your catalytic converter has a problem
Before you even focus on fixing, you should start by identifying the problem. Here are the top signs that your catalytic converter has some issues.
Excessive exhaust noise
Do you hear some strange noise coming from the car’s exhaust system? Probably that is a sign of a bad catalytic converter.
When the catalytic converter is not working properly, you may notice a persistent rattling or buzzing noise coming from the exhaust. This is often described as a “receding” noise, meaning that it sounds like the engine is slowly being pushed away from you.
Poor fuel economy
When the catalytic converter fails, it is unable to clean the exhaust gases. This causes the engine to require more fuel to create the same amount of power. The engine may also sound louder due to unburned fuel in the exhaust.
Frequent engine misfires
A misfire occurs when a spark plug fails to ignite the fuel in a cylinder. When the catalytic converter fails, more unburned fuel is sent out into the exhaust. The unburned fuel may then enter the engine’s air intake and cause misfires.
Reduced engine power
No matter how hard you are stepping on the accelerator, the car is not just responding as it should.
The problem could be with the catalytic converter and not the engine or any other component.
When the catalytic converter fails, it is unable to remove unburned gasoline from the exhaust. This gasoline collects in the engine’s cylinders and causes a significant loss of power.
Check engine light illumination
Thanks to technological advancement, you can easily get messages about the poor state of your catalytic converter. This will come in the form of an engine light illumination.
The catalytic converter has its own plug that can be checked using an engine diagnostic device. If this plug is illuminated, it means that there is a problem with the catalytic converter.
Tools and equipment needed
Here are the tools and equipment you will need for fixing your bad catalytic converter.
Torque wrench – A torque wrench is used to tighten any bolts that have been loosened or removed during the repair process. It’s important to use the correct torque setting on these bolts, or they may come loose again.
Flared-end wrench – Flared-end wrenches are used to loosen and tighten connections that have an flared end. An example would be the connection of the exhaust system to the catalytic converter. Vacuum pump – A vacuum pump can be used to check for leaks in the exhaust system.
The vacuum pump can also be used to check the condition of the engine’s vacuum system.
Steps for fixing a bad catalytic converter
Image source mycarmakesnoise.com
Step 1: Fix issues on the exhaust
If your catalytic converter is already broken, you’ll want to start by fixing any issues on the exhaust.
You can do this by inspecting and cleaning the exhaust pipes. You can do this by unclipping the exhaust pipes and removing any clogs before reattaching them.
If there is any rust or corrosion on the exhaust pipes, you can use a wire brush to clean the pipes. If your vehicle has a catalytic converter, you’ll want to check the condition of the converter.
You should also inspect signs of holes raptures on the exhaust and refill them.
Step 2: Check the muffler of the vehicle
You can check the muffler of the vehicle by removing it from the vehicle. Make sure you have all the proper tools to do this safely. You can use a multimeter to test the condition of the muffler. If the multimeter shows an open circuit, there may be a break in the muffler.
If there is a short circuit, there may be corrosion or rust inside the muffler. You can clean the rust out of the muffler with a wire brush. If there is corrosion, you can try to sand it down.
If the corrosion is too severe, you can attempt to repair the muffler or replace it.
Step 3 Take a long test drive
Could it be that your vehicle has been too ideal for long and that is why the catalytic converter is not working?
You can try a long test drive to see if the problem goes away as you drive. If the problem goes away, then your catalytic converter is broken and needs to be replaced.
If the problem does not go away, you can try checking the other components of your car.
Step 4: Add a cleaning additive
If you have found a clog in the catalytic converter, you may be able to solve the problem by adding a cleaning additive to the engine. You can do this by adding a fuel system cleaner such as a car fuel additive. These additives are designed to clean out the engine and restore normal operation. You can add a fuel additive to your tank as often as necessary to clear the clog in your catalytic converter.
Step 5: Clean the catalytic converter
If the cleaning additive does not help, you can try to clean the catalytic converter. You can do this by removing the catalytic converter. It is best to have a mechanic do this for you as it can be very dangerous to do it yourself.
You can then clean the catalytic converter with high-pressure water. After cleaning the catalytic converter, you can reattach it to the vehicle. It is best to clean the catalytic converter regularly.
You can check the manufacturer’s manual to see how often your particular model needs to be cleaned.
Step 6: Replace the catalytic converter
If all else fails, then you can replace the catalytic converter. This is the last step in fixing a broken catalytic converter. You can take the car to a mechanic to have the catalytic converter replaced.
You can also choose to replace the catalytic converter yourself. You can purchase a new catalytic converter from a mechanic or from an online store.
Step 7: Keep an eye on the engine
After you’ve fixed the catalytic converter, it’s important to keep an eye on the engine. If you notice another problem, you’ll want to head it off before it becomes a major problem.
You can do this by regularly changing the oil in the engine and changing the car’s oil filter.
You can also check the engine’s belts, hoses, and fluids to make sure they are in good condition. These items can break down over time and cause the car to run poorly or not run at all.
Choose the best catalytic converter supplier in China
Now., let’s say you have decided to replace your catalytic converter, it will be wise to buy from the best suppliers and manufacturers in China.
Ensure that the manufacturer has the experience and reputation for delivering the best catalytic converters.
Also, ensure that their products meet the international standards for catalytic converters.
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