So, what happens when the catalytic converter goes bad? Would your car stop working or do other components get affected, too? The cat converter is an important component that makes up the exhaust system. It is directly connected to your engine, and that’s what makes it a crucial component.
A bad catalytic converter would surely put up a lot of signs; from engine overheating to misfiring, and in worst scenarios, stops your car from starting up. You’d need to replace your catalytic converter if it is fatally damaged.
However, replacing a bad catalytic converter is as costly as getting a new engine when the old one gets damaged due to the unattended bad converter.
What Happens When The Catalytic Converter Goes Bad?
Actually, quite a lot of things can go wrong if neglect the signs your failing catalytic converter is showing up. More so, since the converter is directly linked to the engine, when it becomes faulty, your engine is at great risk.
Basically, cat converters are built to last throughout the lifespan of the vehicle they’re attached to. But due to several possible situations, mainly leaks, the converter could get clogged or damaged to the point that it needs to be replaced.
Now, here’s the practical explanation of what happens when your catalytic converter goes bad. Mainly, the converter is designed to convert harmful emissions from the engine into steamy gases that are released through the exhaust pipe.
Read Also: What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?
So, when the converter is bad, the process of converting the harmful emissions from your engine cylinders is not achieved, thus, harmful smoke is released into the atmosphere, and this poses several health risks.
Coming to other components in your car, if the cat converter fails to do its job, the emissions from the engine would get dispersed to other parts of the car; thus, forming buildups that could clog the fuel lines or hoses.
When these places are clogged, you’d notice a significant drop in how your engine performs. At this point, it is expected that you act fast to fix the failing converter. But if you ignore it, the damages keep increasing, and at a time, your engine may stop working.
But, in most cases, if your engine stops working, all you need to do is to replace the cat converter and clean up the engine, then start your car again, it should start working fine.
What Makes A Catalytic Converter Fail?
Leaks. Yes, leaks are the commonest things that damage cat converters. When your coolant liquid or oil is leaking into the combustion chamber, it can badly damage or clog the catalytic converter.
Also, catalytic converters can overheat due to excessive unburned gas caused by a leaky exhaust valve, or a misfiring spark plug. That said, another faulty component can indirectly affect the cat converter.
Read Also: Can a Car Run Without a Catalytic Converter?
Furthermore, since cat converters are mostly installed underneath, your driving style can get it damaged if you speed over bumps or curbs. Road debris, collisions, accidents, are also part of the things that can cause a cat converter to fail or get broken.
Symptoms Of A Faulty “Cat” Converter
There are quite many signs a compromised catalytic converter may trigger, but the common ones include:
- Sluggish engine performance
- Constant loss of power and engine misfiring
- Dark exhaust smoke
- Rotten smell coming from the exhaust pipe
Well, not only a bad converter would show these signs, a bad muffler, or even spark plugs can display similar symptoms as listed above.
Hence, it is important that you run a troubleshooting test to determine the exact cause of the unusual signs you’re getting, before concluding you have a bad converter.
Well, apparently, this article clearly explains what happens when the catalytic converter goes bad. It is left for you to detect these signs at an earlier stage, get your car checked up with a computerized auto scanning/troubleshooting device, then fix the detected issues.
Also, it is important to say that a faulty converter can turn on the check engine light on your car’s dashboard.
So, when you see the light, the “cat” is one of the components to check up on. It is cheaper when the issue is detected on time. But if ignored for a longer time, the effect is always “very” expensive.