Problems Caused by a Clogged Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter lasts a long time. This being said, if you keep your car for longer than 10 years, there will come a time when you will need to replace the catalytic converter. The most common problem from which converters suffer is clogs. They get clogged by the very carbons they are treating. When this happens, you will experience one or more of the following vehicle issues.

CEL Warning

One of the first things that might happen is you may end up with an illuminated check engine light on the dashboard. The main computer chip in your automobile, the engine control module, turns on this light when there is a problem that is not covered by another dashboard warning. If the catalytic converter gets clogged, it will cause engine and exhaust problems that will result in a CEL warning.

Sluggish Performance

You may also start to notice that your car, SUV, or truck’s engine is not performing as well as it normally does. When the catalytic converter gets clogged with carbon and sulfur deposits, the exhaust can get stuck behind the clog. This causes it to back up into the combustion chamber where it prevents engine combustion. This will reduce your engine’s performance and cause it to sputter and lag.

Excess Exhaust

The engine control module may add fuel to the combustion chamber in an effort to improve the engine’s performance. Unfortunately, the chamber doesn’t actually need this fuel. To get rid of the excess fuel, the chamber will burn the fuel and you will see exhaust flowing out of your tailpipe. The color of the exhaust will be black and, in severe cases, the exhaust may be thick.

Rancid Exhaust Odors

In addition, the exhaust may smell like rancid eggs. This is a sign that there is a build-up of sulfur deposits in the catalytic converter. When sulfur burns, it smells like rotten eggs. You may smell this rancid odor in the exhaust, in the engine bay, and coming from underneath your vehicle.

Excessive Heat

Speaking of under the vehicle, the catalytic converter will also produce excess heat when it is clogged and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, the heat will rise into the engine and you will see your temperature gauge rise on the dashboard. This can create continual engine overheating problems.

Call us today if you are having any of the problems discussed above. We would be happy to inspect the catalytic converter and replace it if it is clogged and malfunctioning.

Photo by deepblue4you from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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