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What are the Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter?

You've probably heard the term "catalytic converter" many times. But do you know what it is? Its function is quite easy to understand, even though its name sounds complex.

A catalytic converter deters vehicle pollution. Found between the engine and muffler, it uses assorted metals, or "catalysts", to change pollutants into non-harmful gases.

When Things Go South

Located underneath vehicles, catalytic converters have the potential to sustain damage due to poor road conditions. Driver error can also cause harm.

Aside from this, catalytic converters, just like everything else, age. The average lifespan is over ten years. Ultimately though, it's somewhat inevitable that a vehicle could possibly require at least one catalytic converter replacement in its lifetime. Here are some of the major symptoms that show when a catalytic converter goes bad.

1. A Rattling Sound

The breakdown of catalytic converter components is a common occurrence. Wear and tear over time can collapse internal parts, causing a rattling sound that intensifies as the damage becomes more severe.

2. Decreased Engine Performance

Different types of damage result in different types of problems. A clog restricts airflow, while a crack leaks gas. Both of these issues will cause reduced acceleration and power, as well as limit fuel economy.

3. The Check Engine Light Comes On

Malfunctioning catalytic converters are designed to notify the vehicle that there is something wrong. Therefore, they trigger the check engine light, usually through air-fuel ratio or oxygen sensors.

4. Emitting a Sulfur Smell and/or Dark Smoke

A by-product of engine combustion is hydrogen sulfide. When the catalytic converter is bad, this hydrogen sulfide is not being converted to sulfur dioxide. This creates a sulfur smell, sometimes accompanied by dark smoke.

Leave it to the Pros

Some of these issues can arise without regard to catalytic converter issues, such as the check engine light. So it's imperative to take your vehicle to a professional who can assess and diagnose the problem.

Prevent a failed emissions test. Keep your vehicle running smoothly and without excessive pollutants. If you need catalytic converter repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!

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