4 Warning Signs of Catalytic Converter Trouble

Your car is legally required to be equipped with a catalytic converter. The function of one is to convert the pollutants found in exhaust fumes into less harmless elements, and will change gases as they pass through the exhaust if working properly.

However, a faulty catalytic converter will have a knock-on effect on the performance of the vehicle, and it is a part that should be replaced quickly if anything is wrong. Luckily enough, there are several warning signs to alert you to a fault; here are the most common.

1. Poor Acceleration

When a vehicle's catalytic converter becomes plugged up, you should notice that your car doesn't feel as responsive when you step on the accelerator. This is usually caused by either a burnt-out exhaust valve or a faulty spark plug. Whatever the root cause, a clogged converter will make it feel like you're driving into a strong headwind; you'll still be able to drive, but you should find that your car doesn't seem quite as powerful when you accelerate. 

2. Misfiring

There are multiple reasons why an engine might misfire, from problems with ignition cables to differing weather conditions. However, that misfiring also damages other parts of the vehicle, and the catalytic converter is at particular risk. This is because a misfire can cause the catalytic converter to overheat. Though these parts are made to withstand a certain level of heat, anything over what they are rated for will cause catalyst components to melt. If your car is misfiring, it's well worth having the converter looked at.

3. 'Check Engine Light' is On

Overheating is one of the most common issues that you'll experience with a catalytic converter, but it isn't one that's always caused by misfiring. For example, it may also be caused by a failing oxygen sensor. Whatever the cause, a result of overheating can be the activation of your 'Check Engine Light'. If this lights up often, your catalytic converter could be in trouble.

4. Reduced Efficiency

A car with a faulty catalytic converter will consume a significantly greater amount of fuel than one with a perfectly functioning exhaust system. This should cause a noticeable drop in the efficiency of your vehicle, so needing to top up much more frequently over a short period of time is another strong warning sign.

A catalytic converter is best checked by a professional like F J Muffler Centre, so make sure you see one if these warning signs are occurring.