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:

    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:

    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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  • 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:

    How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

    A:

    Platinum content in catalytic converters can differ significantly depending on the year the catalytic converter was fabricated and the type of vehicle. Small cars usually average 1 to 2 grams per car, while larger trucks can have as much as 12 to 15 grams.

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