Signs of catalytic converter failure

The catalytic converter is at first glance an inconspicuous but important part of the vehicle. This component of the exhaust system is responsible for cleaning the exhaust gases and reducing the burden on the environment. But people remember about this detail only at the moment when the signs of failure begin to appear. After all, replacing the catalytic converter is very expensive. Even non-working parts are highly listed on the secondary market. Scrap catalytic converter prices in USA are determined by the residual mass of the platinum group precious metals that are present in each exhaust converter. Therefore, by selling a part that does not work, you can cover some of the cost of buying a new one.

Each catalytic converter has its own lifespan. But often the converter fails before the manufacturer’s stated time. It’s all a matter of vehicle operating conditions and proper care. In this material, let’s talk about what the signs of catalytic converter failure are.

Symptoms of catalytic converter problems

In most cases, the catalytic converter fails gradually. Therefore, some symptoms of a future breakdown can be identified at an early stage.

There are three main causes of failure:

  • wear of the catalytic coating;
  • clogging of the catalytic converter honeycomb;
  • mechanical damage.

The first case is a rarity. This breakdown means that the catalytic converter has fully served its useful life. Further chemical reactions to clean the exhaust cannot take place, because the necessary reagents in the form of rare-earth metals of the platinum group are absent.

Mechanical damage occurs when there is vibration and impact on the catalytic converter. Such damage also appears as a result of fuel detonation in the exhaust system. After this failure, it is not recommended to drive the car in order not to damage the engine.

But the clogging of the catalytic converter honeycomb occurs gradually. The more soot accumulates inside the channels, the lower the capacity of the exhaust system.

The first signs of a clogged catalytic converter are a decrease in engine performance. This is especially felt when overtaking and starting away from rest. Problems with starting a warmed up engine may also be observed.

On modern vehicles, problems with the catalytic converter will be indicated by the “Check Engine” error light. If the light does not go out after starting the engine, it is worth calling a car repair shop.

This error does not always indicate catalytic converter failure. There are other reasons for its activation. But if you observe a decrease in dynamics, increased fuel consumption and problems with starting the engine, you will most likely have to prepare for the replacement of the catalytic converter.