Q:

How can a catalytic converter be unclogged?

A:

Quick Answer

To unclog a catalytic converter, get onto a highway, and drive at high speed for a couple of miles, coming to a stop and starting again several times. Repeat two or three times, giving the converter a chance to expel debris.

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Full Answer

  1. Drive the car at highway speed

    Take your car onto a highway, and drive it at the speed limit for 1 to 2 miles. Check your mirrors to make sure that a sudden deceleration is safe, and slow the car down quickly. Move over to the shoulder to complete this if necessary. Accelerate back to highway speed, repeating the process several times during the 2 miles. Estimate whether acceleration has improved; this is the best sign that you see while driving that the clog is gone.

  2. Try a higher speed

    Resume driving on the highway if the clog is still present. Check your mirrors and the surrounding lanes to make sure that driving somewhat above the speed limit is safe, and then drive up to a mile at that speed. Check your mirrors again, then slow to about half your speed and then accelerate again, going another mile.

  3. Monitor your fuel economy

    Measure your mileage the next two or three times you fill up your car with gasoline. Consider the performance of your car during acceleration, and use these two factors to determine whether replacing the catalytic converter is necessary.

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Related Questions

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    How do you clean a catalytic converter?

    A:

    To clean a catalytic converter, pour catalytic converter cleaner into the gas tank, drive until the tank is close to empty, refill the tank, and re-calibrate the vehicle's on-board computer. This helps to maintain components while reducing pollution emissions and eliminating foul smells.

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  • Q:

    How do you remove a catalytic converter?

    A:

    Take off the oxygen sensor, unbolt the catalytic converter and slide it along the exhaust pipe until it falls off. In some vehicles, the converter is welded to the underside. In this case, put the car up on a lift before using a rotary saw to take the converter off.

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    What does a catalytic converter do?

    A:

    Catalytic converters are emissions devices in vehicles that convert the harmful components in the engine's exhaust gas into harmless ones. This significantly reduces the amount of pollutants that a vehicle releases into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters are muffler-shaped and lie within the exhaust, and they contain catalysts, such as palladium and platinum, arranged in a honeycomb shape that react with the harmful components in the exhaust stream.

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  • Q:

    What are the signs of a bad catalytic converter?

    A:

    Signs of a faulty catalytic converter include reduced fuel economy, excess engine heat, and impaired engine or exhaust performance. A visible fuel vapor over the carburetor intake, performance changes after the removal of oxygen sensors and increased carbon emissions from the converter are also warning signs.

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