Q:

What are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

A:

Quick Answer

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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What are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?
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Full Answer

Converter problems make it more expensive to operate the vehicle. A rough-running car requires more fuel to go the same number of miles. A problem with the catalytic converter often causes an error code in the vehicle's onboard computer, which illuminates the check-engine light.

One method of checking for catalytic converter problems is to remove it to see if the engine continues to backfire. A second method is to disconnect the oxygen sensor. If either solves the performance problems, the converter requires replacement.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    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:

    How hot does a catalytic converter get?

    A:

    A catalytic converter operates normally between 550 and 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit with the optimal temperature being about 806 degrees. Pollutants coming through the exhaust system can raise the temperature over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point, the catalytic converter can be severely damaged.

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  • Q:

    Where is the catalytic converter on a car located?

    A:

    In a typical car, the catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and under the car, between the engine and the muffler. Often manufacturers locate the catalytic converter under the passenger seat. On long trips, passengers sometimes feel the heat it produces at their feet.

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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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