Q:

How can a catalytic converter be unclogged?

A:

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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  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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    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 symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

    A:

    A failed catalytic converter affects engine performance and fuel economy. With a plugged converter, pressing on the accelerator does not increase the speed. The engine backfires, and the car jerks while driving down the road.

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  • Q:

    How does a catalytic converter work?

    A:

    Catalytic converters use a reduction and an oxidation catalyst organized in a honeycomb structure to react with the harmful emissions present in exhaust gas. The reduction catalyst converts nitrogen dioxide into nitrogen and oxygen, while the oxidation catalyst converts the unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.

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  • Q:

    What is catalytic converter recycling?

    A:

    Catalytic converter recycling is the process of removing valuable metals from a broken device, such as platinum, rhodium, and titanium, so they can be reused in other products. Because of the value of the minerals used in converters, recycling them can be very lucrative.

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