Catalytic converter plays a vital role to save the environment. If lots of emissions coming from the car, the converter will reduce it and the tailpipe won’t produce many harmful materials. Excessive dark air coming from the exhaust is banned all over the world.
So when your car releases it, do not wait to check the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter makes the gases environment friendly. It minimizes the bad hydrocarbon element from the gas and converts it less harmful.
When the catalytic converter goes bad, replacing it won’t cost you much money. You need to know about the symptoms, maintaining process, etc. In this article, I will try to cover all of your questions easily.
What is Catalytic Converter
A catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system situated at the middle of the exhaust manifold and muffler. Some car has one catalytic converter some has two. It filtered the harmful gases so the environment will get less toxic gases. This type of gases are passes from the tailpipe and it is different from the exhaust muffler.
The filament options are different in the catalytic converter. Some of them are a direct fit and others are universal.
How Do It Work
You may think that is there any kind of magic that a small machine can minimize toxically. Well, no magic is needed here. Advance technology made our life easy and a small device has many components just like the catalytic converter. The inside design is very simple with a honeycomb component.
They are coated tightly with platinum, palladium, etc. These small catalytic particles superheat the toxic gas before it releases into the air so the toxic reduce and they got filtered.
The fuel should be burn properly to pass it with the exhaust system. So avoid running rich your car otherwise the air-fuel mixture could go wrong and the ignite won’t get an appropriate ratio. If unburn fuel continuously passes from the exhaust system, it will create toxic gas and the converter also gets clogged.
Symptoms Of a Bad Catalytic Converter
- One of the most common symptoms is, exhaust passes rotten egg smell during its combustion process which is actually hydrogen sulfide gas smell.
- Your car “check engine light” will on when the converter goes bad. The car computer can monitor exhaust gas levels and the check engine light will notify you. Although the light will not indicate the exact problem. You have to find out if it is the converter problem. It is also called illuminating light.
- When the converter goes bad, the engine can not produce much power so the accelerator will be poor.
- Car maintenance requires smog tests regularly. When the catalytic converter is bad, your car smog test will fail.
- The honeycomb materials are very sensitive. It can easily break due to excessive heat. When this happens, you will hear a rattling sound while driving or idling.
- A blockage catalytic converter burns excessive fuel and your car will not have enough exhaust flow so the acceleration will be affected.
The Causes Of a Bad Catalytic Converter
Normally catalytic converter last for a long but accident can happen anytime. Their lifespan is a minimum of 10 years but only when the car functioning properly. Everyone knows that the engine is the heart of a car and in most cases, the catalytic converter goes bad because of an engine issue. Incorrect air/fuel mixture, engine timing, bad spark plug, and many more issues can affect the cat. A bad catalytic converter also affects the other components.
A bad converter reaches temperature and it breaks the honeycomb materials. Also, a bad gasket, piston ring, valve seals can cause a bad catalytic converter. You should check out all those problems as soon as possible otherwise the catalytic will get clogged and the exhaust flow will be blocked completely and the engine can cause overheating. Some of the other causes are,
- Bad oxygen sensor
- Spark plugs or wires are not working.
- The exhaust system gets the oil.
- Excessive unburned fuel
- Exhaust system anti-freezing.
- Physical damage such as rocks, debris, or plotholes can damage the cat hanger.
Where is The Catalytic Converter Located
If you are confused about where is the catalytic converter, just check the exhaust system that undeath of your car. You will see a manifold and a muffler. The cat is just in between them. They can be clamped or welded. If the car has a dual exhaust system, there will be two catalytic converters for two pipes. They are also located in the same area.
How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost
The catalytic converter is made from platinum and palladium. The cost of the catalytic converter depends on some things such as,
If your car is built in 1981, the cost of the parts will be high because it has three way catalytic converter. Also if the model is a Toyota corolla, the price will be less than wrangler. But if the car model is before 1981, the cost will be cheaper as those car model has two way catalytic converter.
The Quality of The Converter
The price also depends on which quality converter you are using. You can use either a $100 price cat or a $1000 price cat. A universal fit cat is a lot cheaper than a direct fit cat. The interior design is a big matter here. If the cat is made from platinum or palladium, the prices will be higher. Cheaper units use lower density so the cat failure quickly.
Labor cost also depends on how many hours the mechanic will needs. Also the location matters. The average hourly cost is $70 to $130, at a dealership, they will take at least $100. Different car model takes different time for replacing. Also, the dual exhaust system requires double labor costs.
If the reason for a failed catalytic converter is any internal damage, the cost will increase as the other part needs to be repaired too.
So the parts cost, labor cost, and converter cost range is overall $1000 to $2500. The rearer the vehicle, the expense will increase.
If you decide to replace the catalytic converter of your own, it will cost you zero labor cost. Just the converter price and other prices will be added. But keep in mind that you have to know all the details well. You can also search for budget-friendly garage and cut out prices.
How to Clean Catalytic Converter
If you search for an alternative to replacing the catalytic converter, use a cleaning product to clean the cat. Remember, it is not a permanent solution. Check out the other issues. If the cat is clogged, use a catalytic converter cleaner to clean the cloggings. You can also soak it in citric acid for some hours to clean properly.
Fuel cleaner for cleaning the cat is also effective. But if the other parts or honeycomb breaks, just cleaning is not an option.
Is Catalytic Converter Worth Replacing?
You should not drive much with a faulty catalytic converter. So when the cat is bad, either you should replace it or sell the car. A clogged or dirty converter is easy to clean so you do not need to replace it. But when it gets damaged, it is better to call a professional and replace it. If the damage is big, only repairing will be not enough.