COMMON INDICATORS OF A BAD CATALYTIC CONVERTER

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Awareness of car issues’ warning signs is vital to address them before they worsen. Like other parts, a catalytic converter is known to fail and can be expensive to replace, so it is best to look out for the symptoms of a failing one before things worsen. Common signs include a foul sulfur smell, especially when the engine is warm, and issues like acceleration lag, a misfiring engine, and high or lower fuel consumption. Let’s look at them in detail.

Acceleration lag

One of the indicators of a bad catalytic converter is acceleration lag. You will likely experience delays when accelerating or reduced power when driving up a steep road. If all other engine parts, including the spark plugs, sensors, and filters, are working perfectly, there is a good chance the catalytic converter is the problem.

You can check if your catalytic converter is clogged by placing your hand close to the exhaust tube and asking someone to press the accelerator. You have a clogged catalytic converter if your car produces a meager amount of exhaust.

Check engine light

The check engine light is an apparent sign of something wrong with your car and can also indicate a bad catalytic converter. If that happens, you should call a professional to check the catalytic converter-related trouble code and address it. In most cases, a catalytic converter replacement is a solution.

High/low fuel consumption

While low fuel consumption may seem reasonable, it can damage your engine in the long run. Therefore you should be aware of abnormally high or low fuel consumption as it may indicate a catalytic converter problem. A bad catalytic converter causes improper fuel combustion due to clogs. Consequently, the engine has to work extra hard for the same power, hence higher fuel consumption. In rare cases, you will experience low fuel consumption, which is a cause for concern.

A foul sulfur smell

Another warning sign of a faulty catalytic converter is a foul sulfur smell. If it is clogged, it will prevent the airflow of exhaust fumes. That results in too much engine air fuel, and the combustion causes a foul odor like rotten eggs or burnt sulfur. Therefore, a foul sulfur smell clearly indicates a bad or failing catalytic converter. In this case, you may have to replace it with a new one.

Housing discoloration

When the catalytic converter is clogged, its housing case will likely turn blue or another color which signals excessive heat. It may also happen if the engine is not running efficiently, creating an unburnt fuel that finds its way into the catalyst. The mixture ignites the converter and melts the material resulting in more clogs. It can also cause excessive heat inside the engine and damage other parts if not addressed quickly.

Engine misfires

A clogged catalytic converter prevents oxygen flow in the engine; therefore, it needs more oxygen for efficient fuel consumption. That results in reduced airflow, which causes overheating and a misfiring engine. If your engine misfires, it could indicate a faulty catalytic converter.

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