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Symptoms of a Failing Catalytic Converter in Your Car

by Dutch Silverstein March 7, 2018

Ongoing vehicle care is critical in order to ensure its performance and extend it’s life. Routine maintenance also increases vehicle safety and the how reliable your car is. However, despite our best efforts, sometime problems occur anyway. Cars are complex, which is why there’s an entire field of work designated to their care, maintenance, and repair. With age and wear, parts will need to be replaced and/or repaired to maintain optimal performance levels. One such part that eventually needs replacement is the catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters play a large part in your car’s exhaust system. The main purpose of a catalytic converter is to take the naturally harmful gasses your vehicle produces and transform them into chemically different gasses that are less harmful to the environment. Since the catalytic converter is in an especially precarious spot on your car located in the undercarriage, it is vulnerable to damage when cars are especially low to the road’s surface. If you’re experiencing emissions or exhaust issues, it could be related to your catalytic converter. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of failure and what you can do to address the issue.

Symptoms during catalytic converter failure

Paying attention to how your car is behaving at all times can clue you in to the potential cause of the issue—at the very least it can help your trusted automotive specialist locate the source of the problem. The signs of catalytic converter failure can reflect similarities to the failure of other components, which is why it’s important to have a differential diagnosis performed. This will rule out the other causes of the problem and isolate the source as the catalytic converter. Here are some of the typical symptoms drivers experience when their catalytic converter begins to fail:

Diminished Performance

Depending on the kind of car you drive, you might begin to notice certain symptoms before others. If you drive a luxury import vehicle, for instance, you might first notice signs of diminished performance, as this is what likely drew you to the car in the first place. Usually when a catalytic converter isn’t performing well, it can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and lower gas mileage. Since the catalytic converter functioning properly is necessary in order to pass emissions tests, you might also have difficulty performing this task with flying colors.

Problems with Acceleration and Ignition

Another sign that your catalytic converter is clogged, malfunctioning, or failing all together is difficulty with adequate acceleration. You might experience engine misfiring, a decrease in power, or even trouble starting your car. Since we rely on our cars to get us around daily, it can be especially troubling and inconvenient when it won’t start or get safely from point A to point B.

What you can do to prevent catalytic converter failure

Perhaps the most likely reason for your catalytic converter to experience issues is simply normal wear and tear. As vehicles get older and accrue more mileage, parts begin to wear out and require replacement—your catalytic converter is no exception. However catalytic converter issues can cause strain on other parts of your engine, so it’s important that your automotive specialist is through in their inspection and diagnosis.

Other causes of failure include: failing valve seals and damaged or worn spark plugs.

Car Exhaust System

How we can help

Preventive auto care is the best solution to keeping catalytic converter issues at bay; the better shape your car is in, the more likely it will continue to function well. Additionally, it’s important to follow up with concerning symptoms you experience as to prevent further damages. For the residents of Pineville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, NC, their European import specialist of choice is A&M Auto Service. Here at A&M, we provide a wide range of maintenance and repair services for European cars in the area. Catalytic converter issues are not unique to one brand of car, but we always focus our efforts heavily on the diagnostic process to save our clients money and keep their vehicles out of the shop for more repairs. If you think you may be experiencing catalytic converter failure in your car, please contact us to schedule an appointment immediately. We look forward to helping your car live a long, healthy life.

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