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What are the Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter?

Everyone with a vehicle has heard of a catalytic converter at some time or another… there are some that may even know a lot about a catalytic converter. While you may have heard of it or may know some things about it, are you able to know when you have a bad catalytic converter? There are some symptoms that you can be on the lookout for to know if you have a bad catalytic converter. In fact, there are 5 symptoms that you can watch for to know if you have a bad catalytic converter, or are on your way to having one.

Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter

  • Rattling Noise: If you hear a rattling noise coming from under the vehicle this is a sign of a failing or bad catalytic converter. When you have a catalytic converter that is old or damaged internally it can be caused by an excessive amount of rich fuel mixtures. When this happens, the catalyst coated honeycomb meshes that are on the inside of the converter can break apart or collapse, which will cause a rattling noise. You may hear the rattle more when you are starting your vehicle, but over time it will continue to worsen.
  • Lowered Engine Performance: This is something you may notice first; it is common when you have a bad or failing catalytic converter. Since the catalytic converter is built into the exhaust system, it can affect the performance of the engine if there are any issues that are developed. If you have a converter that is clogged it will restrict exhaust flow; if you have a cracked converter it will leak dangerous gas. If either of these two happens it can negatively affect the engine performance and cause your power and acceleration to be lowered along with the fuel economy of your vehicle.
  • Check Engine Light Comes On: If your catalytic converter is bad or is beginning to fail your check engine light will come on. Your air-fuel ration sensor along with your oxygen sensor is made to monitor the efficiency of your catalytic converter. It will track the gas levels that are in the exhaust. If your computer detects your catalytic converter isn't operating correctly or that it's not catalyzing the exhaust gases as it should, it will cause your Check Engine Light to come on.
  • Smelling Sulfur in Exhaust: When your catalytic converter is working as it should convert hydrogen sulfide into odorless sulfur dioxide. If your catalytic converter is failing, you may notice a sulfuric/rotten egg-like smell coming from your exhaust system.
  • Failed Emissions Test: There are some states that require a diagnostic check of your engine's computer to pass an emissions test. Your vehicle has a trouble code that will be stored in the said computer; if it has a faulty catalytic converter it will fail in the given test.

These signs are things you want to be on the lookout for when it comes to your catalytic converter. If you sense any of these things, and you need catalytic converter repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!

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