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.

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:

    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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  • Q:

    What is the operating temperature of a catalytic converter?

    A:

    The normal operating temperature of a catalytic converter is between 550 and 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit with the optimum temperature being about 806 degrees. High operating temperature can be a sign of extra pollutants in the exhaust system. It can also result from excess fuel going through the exhaust system.

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