Replacing Old or Worn Auto Parts

4 Signs That Your Catalytic Converter May Need To Be Replaced

A catalytic converter is a part found in a vehicle's exhaust system that is designed to convert vehicle emissions into non-toxic gasses. In addition to reducing the amount of harmful emissions expelled into the environment, a catalytic converter in good working order is essential for a car to operate properly since a build-up of harmful emissions can harm other parts and systems within a vehicle. Some of the most common signs that your catalytic converter may need to be replaced include:

Poor Engine Performance

A very common sign of a bad catalytic converter is reduced engine performance. If a catalytic converter has become completely clogged, exhaust flow will be reduced. A cracked catalytic converter will cause an exhaust leak. Both of these conditions can change how the engine performs, leading to a noticeable reduction of power and acceleration. 

Reduced Fuel Economy

In addition to poor engine performance, a bad catalytic converter can also cause issues with the fuel system. When a catalytic converter is not able to convert harmful emissions to non-toxic gases, fuel economy will plummet. Most people have a good idea of how far they can drive on a full tank of gas, so if you find yourself having to fill up at the pump more often, it is a good idea to take your car to an auto repair shop to have your catalytic converter checked out.

Visible Increase in Emissions

When a catalytic converter isn't working how it should, your car will emit more emissions through the exhaust pipe when it is driving. You may notice what looks like dark gray or black smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe when accelerating. This should never be ignored, as continuing to drive with a bad catalytic converter can eventually damage the entire exhaust system, which can be very expensive to repair. You will also not be able to pass emissions and renew your vehicle registration if your car has a catalytic converter that needs to be replaced.

Rattling Sounds

The inside of a catalytic converter canister is honeycomb mesh. As a catalytic converter ages and begins to fail, the honeycomb-shaped mesh can break off from the canister. When this happens, it will rattle around inside the canister, making a noticeable rattling sound. You may originally only hear the rattling when you start your vehicle, but it will likely continue to get worse over time. Rattling sounds in a car are never a good thing, so it is always a good idea to get your car checked out if something sounds weird. 

Places like Dugan Oil and Tire are great resources for more information.