How does a catalytic convertor work?

Asked By: Suhaib Santano | Last Updated: 4th April, 2020
Category: automotive auto parts
4.5/5 (58 Views . 30 Votes)
Typically, there are two different catalysts in a catalytic converter: One of them tackles nitrogen oxide pollution using a chemical process called reduction (removing oxygen). The other catalyst works by an opposite chemical process called oxidation (adding oxygen) and turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.

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Just so, what happens when the catalytic converter goes bad?

If the engine responds sluggishly or quits after running for a while, a clogged converter could be to blame. Catalytic converters can overheat because of excessive amounts of unburned gas caused by a misfiring spark plug or a leaky exhaust valve. In addition, a failed oxygen sensor can cause overheating.

Also Know, how big is a catalytic converter? The inlet and outlet diameter is 2-1/2 inches. This Catalytic Converter is 49-state approved.

Similarly, how much does a catalytic converter reduce emissions?

By most estimates, catalytic converters fitted inside the exhaust pipe of a gasoline-operated car convert over 90% of hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the engine into less harmful carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen and water vapour.

What are the 3 most leading failures of a catalytic converter?

Check out these three common causes of catalytic converter problems.

  • Unburned Fuel. Heat can be damaging to almost any engine component, so it's no surprise that it's one of the most common causes of catalytic converter failure.
  • Coolant Leaks.
  • Oil Consumption.

39 Related Question Answers Found

Can I unclog my catalytic converter?

To some extent, a clogged catalytic converter can somehow unclog itself. However, do not expect that it would be as clean as a whistle compared to using a cleaning solution to get rid of all the debris that has accumulated within the engine system, particularly after using the vehicle for a long time.

Can a car run without a catalytic converter?

Typically yes. Your vehicle can operate without a Catalytic Converter. It may throw an engine fault code as it does look for the catalyst to filter before reaching the rear oxygen sensor present in your exhaust system to adjust fuel curves or Air to Fuel ratio.

What are the signs of a clogged catalytic converter?

Catalytic Converter Need Regular Maintained
Further small symptoms of a bad catalytic converter are: Reduced acceleration, sluggish engine performance, excessive heat under the vehicle, dark exhaust smoke, the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs from the exhaust.

Does removing catalytic converter damage engine?

Detrimental Effects. Other impacts of removing the converter include risking damage to the other components, primarily the oxygen sensor, which works in conjunction with the catalytic converter. This may also cause the check engine light to come on, which will cause the vehicle to fail an emissions test.

What does a bad catalytic converter sound like?


Your catalytic converter consists of small, honeycomb-shaped components that can cause a rattling sound when broken. If your catalytic converter is broken, this rattling should be loudest when the car starts, and should get worse over time.

Can you clean an oxygen sensor?

The oxygen sensor is an important part of a car engine. If you suspect that your oxygen sensor may be dirty, you can clean it by first removing the sensor from its housing in the vehicle, and then soaking the sensor in gasoline overnight.

Do I really need to replace my catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters change harmful emissions into harmless gas, and they need to be replaced only if they become clogged or otherwise damaged and can't function properly. They're expensive to replace, so they aren't considered a regular maintenance item. A damaged “cat” should trigger a Check Engine light.

Is there a fuel additive that will help clean the catalytic converter?

Gasket Cataclean is a fuel and exhaust system cleaner that reduces carbon build-up and cleans your vehicle's catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors, and cylinder heads. Cataclean does not alter fuel composition and is safe for gasoline, diesel and hybrid engines.

Does catalytic converter cleaner really work?

Does Catalytic Converter Cleaner Work? Catalytic converter cleaner removes the carbon build up in your engine and exhaust system. So, the answer is, yes, catalytic converter cleaner works every time you use it to break down carbon deposits.

Does seafoam clean your catalytic converter?


Seafoam can do such a good job of cleaning the carbon from an engine that it will make it pass from the engine… right into your catalytic converter. Seafoam can do such a good job of cleaning the carbon from an engine that it will make it pass from the engine… right into your catalytic converter.

How can I prevent my catalytic converter from failing?

Preventative Measures: Inspect your fuel injectors regularly for signs of leaking, and replace if necessary. Check your fuel pressure. If it's high, make sure your regulator is operating correctly or replace it. If you have a failed Optispark, don't even crank the engine until you've installed a new Optispark.

Does premium gas clean catalytic converter?

A higher octane gas can never clean the dirtiness, but it can reduce the rate at which the stuff becomes dirty. Because the fuel having a higher octane rating burns slower, cleaner and hotter than a lower octane propellant. Cleaning the catalytic converter is a tricky job.

What is the best catalytic converter cleaner?

Top 8 Catalytic Converter Cleaners
  • #1 – Cataclean Engine and Catalytic Converter Cleaner.
  • #2 – CRC “Guaranteed to Pass” Emissions System Formula.
  • #3 – Solder-It CAT-1.
  • #4 – Oxicat Oxygen Sensor and Catalytic Converter Cleaner.
  • #5 – Hi-Gear HG3270s.
  • #6 – Sledgehammer Run-Rite Kit.
  • #7 – Sea Foam Motor Treatment.

Does lacquer thinner clean catalytic converters?

They will have no effect in your catalytic converter. The lacquer thinner may dissolve some gums and deposits in your fuel system and may also have a deleterious effect on hoses, seals and gaskets. There are some products advertised as catalytic converter cleaners but I have no experience with them.

Can a catalytic converter be repaired?


Repairing or replacing a catalytic converter can cost close to $2,000. In order to properly filter hydrocarbons and reduce your car's emissions, catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum or palladium. Luckily, very few people actually need to replace their catalytic converter over the life of their car.

What cars have the most expensive catalytic converters?

The next most expensive catalytic converter is a bit closer to home. The Dodge Ram 2500 comes in at $3,460.00. The Ford F250 (similar to the Dodge 2500 in terms of towing and strength) is a mere $2,804.

Does a catalytic converter remove all carbon monoxide?

They may help to reduce global warming in a small way, as catalytic converters remove carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen whose emissions would otherwise lead to a build-up of tropospheric ozone; unlike stratospheric ozone (some 20 km above our heads) tropospheric ozone is both a toxin and an effective greenhouse