What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system. It works to reduce vehicle emissions and pollution by helping to convert the vehicle's emissions into gasses that are not harmful. When a catalytic converter does begin to go faulty, most likely your car will show one (or more) of the following symptoms.

Reduced Engine Performance

Since the catalytic converter is an essential part of the vehicle's exhaust system, it can negatively affect the vehicle engine's performance if it starts to have issues. If the converter is only clogged, it will limit the flow of the exhaust. However, if the catalytic converter is cracked, it could potentially leak harmful gas. Both clogged and cracked converters can diminish engine performance, power, ability to accelerate, and fuel economy.

Exhaust Has a Sulfur Smell

When your vehicle's engine is running, a properly functioning catalytic converter changes hydrogen sulfide from the gasoline into sulfur dioxide, which has no odor. When the converter fails, there may be a rotten egg-like, sulfur scent leaving the exhaust pipe. Unburnt fuel the faulty catalytic converters leave behind produces the odor. You also may see darker than normal exhaust smoke escaping from the tailpipe.

Check Engine Light Appears

The check engine light may appear if you have a bad or failing catalytic converter. Sensors track gas levels in the exhaust to monitor the efficiency of the catalytic converter.

Rattling Noise

Overly rich fuel mixtures can damage the inside of the converter. Age also results in damage after time. Pieces on the inside can break apart causing a rattle. You may hear these noises coming from under the vehicle if your catalytic converter has gone bad or is starting to fail. It may be more obvious when you first crank the engine. It also tends to worsen over time.

Failed Emissions Test

Your state may require your car to successfully pass an emissions test. If your car has a bad catalytic converter, it will not pass the test.

Ensuring your catalytic converter is working properly is vital to keeping your vehicle in top shape. If you need catalytic converter repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!