Every street legal vehicle manufactured in the past several decades has at least one catalytic converter mounted within its exhaust system. Many luxury cars have two, or even more. The purpose of the catalytic converter is to superheat unburned particles in your engine’s exhaust gases. As your engine warms up, the catalytic converter will heat to an operating temperature of 500 – 1200°F. This allows it to burn harmful particles in the exhaust gases, converting them to water vapor and carbon dioxide. The catalyst inside is usually made of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, or palladium, which means that catalytic converters usually cost several hundred dollars. Thieves sometimes target catalytic converters because of this, jacking cars up and cutting them out with hacksaws. When your vehicle’s catalytic converter is no longer able to burn off the unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust, your exhaust gases may begin to smell abnormal, your engine may run rough or misfire, and your check engine light will most likely come on.
Replacing the catalytic converter is usually a relatively labor intensive job that requires welding, not something that you can easily do at home. It may also be necessary to replace your vehicle’s oxygen sensors at the same time.
If you consistently take short trips with your vehicle, the catalytic converter may not be heating up enough to operate as it is designed to, which can result in it getting clogged. To prevent this, you should make sure to take your vehicle for the occasional drive on the highway for 15 minutes or longer, which will allow the exhaust to heat up sufficiently and burn off any deposits forming in your catalytic converter.
Some symptoms of a failing catalytic converter are a check engine light, loss of power, rotten egg smell, decrease in fuel economy, backfiring or misfiring, and rough running engine.
If your catalytic converter isn’t operating efficiently, the check engine light will come on and your engine’s power and fuel economy can begin to diminish. If it becomes completely clogged, the check engine light will begin to flash and your engine may stall or refuse to start. In extreme cases, a clogged catalytic converter can even create enough excess back pressure to cause internal engine damage. Your vehicle will also fail a smog check, meaning that you will not be able to register it. Here at Orozco’s Auto Service of Long Beach, we recommend that you get any symptoms related to catalytic converter failure checked as soon as possible.
If you think that you may have a catalytic converter problem, bring your vehicle in to Orozco’s Auto Service of Long Beach today so that our ASE certified mechanics can diagnose it. Our professionally trained team will take care of any of your catalytic converter problems, guaranteed. Give us a call today at (562) 427-4256!