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Seven Signs Your Catalytic Converter Is Failing

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The importance of your vehicle’s catalytic converter cannot be overstated. This crucial emissions system part is responsible for converting toxic gases into safe ones before they are expelled from your car, truck, or SUV’s combustion engine. The catalytic converter takes carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitric oxide and turns them into carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water – automotive engineering brilliance! How can you tell if your catalytic converter is failing? Here are seven signs it is.

Unpleasant Odor

The number one sign you have catalytic converter trouble is an unpleasant odor. Many drivers describe the smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. You might not notice the smell while you’re driving, but you might detect it when you’ve parked your vehicle in the garage at night.

Poor Fuel Economy

Your vehicle’s emissions system plays a role in your car, truck, or SUV’s overall gas mileage. If the catalytic converter is failing, you might notice a significant drop in your fuel economy. Your vehicle should get about the same gas mileage per tank. Drops indicated trouble.

Emissions Test Failure

If your vehicle’s catalytic converter is not converting the toxic gases into non-toxic ones, your automobile will fail its emissions test. In fact, the emissions tests often catch converter problems before they become major nuisances. 

Check Engine Light

Your automobile’s emissions system doesn’t have its own dashboard warning light so the check engine light will come on if the catalytic converter isn’t doing its job. This is because the emissions sensors are detecting a problem with the exhaust mixture.

Outer Housing Damage

An auto mechanic usually notices this sign of catalytic converter failure. Should the converter overheat or not process gases appropriately, the outer housing can warp or become discolored. This is a sure sign of major trouble and you might need to replace the entire converter.

Sluggish Acceleration

If your vehicle seems hesitant to go and pick up speed from a stop, your converter could be the culprit. Other problems that cause slow acceleration are fuel pump, transmission, and electrical system problems. No matter the cause, your vehicle should accelerate without a problem.

Starting Problems

Finally, although most starting issues are caused by the vehicle’s ignition or electrical system, your converter can prevent your automobile from starting. It can also make it difficult for you to get the car, truck, or SUV started.

Call CAR FIX today for an appointment or stop by our Oak Ridge, TN, shop and we’ll take a look at your catalytic converter. Don’t take chances, as this part can cause all sorts of engine and exhaust trouble.

Image by Neri Vill from Pixabay
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