Can a Bad Catalytic Converter Ruin Your Engine?

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When your car starts showing several unusual signs, and you refuse to pay attention to those signs, over time, your engine starts dropping in performance because of the faulty/failing component. This can gradually lead to fatal damage or even totaling the engine.

But can a bad catalytic converter ruin your engine? There are pretty many things that can ruin an engine, and that includes a bad catalytic converter.

A bad cat converter has a way of affecting your engine directly. It’s kind of a complex process, but this article explains all you need to know about that.

How Does The Catalytic Converter Function?

The major function of the catalytic converter in vehicles is to “convert” harmful gases and emissions coming from the combustion chamber into steamy, eco-friendly fumes before sending them down the exhaust pipe.

When the catalytic converter is bad – and unable to perform its function – harmful gases and exhaust smoke are released into the air, and that poses serious health risks. Hence, in some cities and regions, it is punishable to drive with a bad catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is connected directly to an engine’s cylinders, where emission and combustion take place. So, when the converter is bad or clogged, the engine can be directly affected.

Can a Bad Catalytic Converter Ruin Your Engine?

Can a Bad Catalytic Converter Ruin Your Engine

The simple answer is YES. A bad catalytic converter can ruin your engine. However, this happens gradually if you keep ignoring the several signs your failing catalytic converter is triggering. When the converter is bad, it blocks waste emissions from going out of the engine.

So, when waste emissions can’t get out, they accumulate and build up in the engine. This can cause overheating, and also put more pressure on the engine. Thus, the engine is being overworked at an exceedingly high temperature, which can cause a fatal breakdown.

Apparently, you should know that it is not good for an engine to overheat all the time; overheating weakens the core components of an engine, and generally affects other connected components in the engine bay.

As the core engine components keep getting weaker due to the overheating and presence of dangerous carbon gases (there were supposed to go out through the exhaust pipe), they gradually break down, and that’s when your engine gets ruined.

This process doesn’t happen quite quickly; it could take weeks or months, depending on your driving style. However, this is to explain the fact that a bad catalytic converter can cause serious engine damages, which would cost you more money than you should have spent to fix the failing converter earlier.

But what are those signs that show you need to check your catalytic converter, and probably replace it with a new one? Yes, it is important that you know these signs, so, when they start showing up, you can act quickly before your engine starts getting badly affected.

Signs Of A Failing Catalytic Converter

Hereunder are the commonest signs you may experience when your car’s catalytic converter is clogged, broken, or faulty.


Since a bad cat converter can damage your engine, the best bet is to fix or replace the converter when it goes bad.

The converter can go bad due to a previous collision or due to aging. According to carbrain, the average cost of replacing a bad cat converter is between $950 – $2,500.

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