Perhaps you suspect that you may have a bad catalytic converter. You’re having issues such as your engine is misfiring. Or maybe you are having a loss of power when you accelerate. You may also have noticeable fuel vapor. So, can you drive with a bad catalytic converter? And if you can, how many miles you can drive with a troublesome catalytic converter? We have the answers you need to keep you safe now!
What Is A Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is a component in the car that works to remove the hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals from exhaust emissions. In order to be effective, a catalytic converter is crafted of highly sought-after metals that offer chemical properties.
Is Driving A Car with A Bad Catalytic Converter Dangerous?
While many auto professionals state that driving a car with a bad catalytic converter isn’t too dangerous- it’s not recommended. Perhaps you have some parts of your catalytic converter that are plugged. In theory, you can still drive your car as you usually drive it. But you will notice a decrease in your car’s performance due to the catalytic converter. For a car that has a completely plugged catalytic converter, you will not be able to run your vehicle. Your catalytic converter may become fused over time, or directly. The time to replace your catalytic converter is ASAP.
A Faulty Catalytic Converter Can Burn Through Overtime
Your catalytic converter has an inner fiber that may burn through if the car engine is burning too much oil. If you choose to drive your car fast- knowing that you have a faulty catalytic converter running, you may experience a strong smell and some smoke or a fuel vapor.
Can A Bad Catalytic Converter Ruin Your Engine?
Catalytic converters can last for over a decade and even longer. But there is little to no hope for a contaminated, overheated, clogged or physically damaged catalytic converter. This can lead to an engine that becomes sluggish and eventually shuts down. Leaded gas (which is not available in many areas) can destroy the catalysts. Additionally, engine coolant that leaks into the vehicle’s combustion system- can destroy this viable car component. The leak may happen due to a bad cylinder head gasket.
Unfortunately, these fluids can clog your vehicle’s catalytic converter resulting in a restriction of exhaust gases that are not able to pass through the car.
With any kind of exhaust flow which is restricted, your vehicle’s engine will not get the air it needs to perform. So, as you endure a sluggish engine, your engine will not be able to endure and soon give out altogether. So, for that sluggish engine you’re having, or clogged engine, your converter may be to blame. With excessive amounts of unburned gas due to a leaky exhaust valve or a misfiring spark plug, catalytic converters will eventually overheat.
What Happens If I Don't Replace My Catalytic Converter?
Generally, a P0420 is the generic code that appears and is stored in your vehicle’s computer because of a faulty catalytic converter. The convertor has an efficiency rate that is below the vehicle manufacturer's required threshold. Your car’s fuel management system continues to make fuel adjustments. And the oxygen sensors in your vehicle will continue to produce a corresponding voltage that fits those charges. Additionally, your vehicle’s fuel management system evaluates the convertor by taking the readings from the pre and post convertor oxygen sensors.
The only purpose or point of the downstream oxygen sensor, is to evaluate the efficiency of the catalytic converter. Your vehicle’s computer will compute the efficiency by noting the fluctuating voltage of the upstream sensor. Then, it will take the readings and compare them to the downstream sensor. For readings that are similar to the front, then this indicates that the catalytic converter is doing a poor job. This can lead to a “Service Engine Soon” light on your dash. Additionally, the P0420 code will be stored, until fixed. Once a catalytic converter begins to show signs of failure, the catalytic converter will not immediately affect the engine’s performance. But if you ignore the issues and allow the catalytic converter to work in the car as a faulty component, then the catalytic converter will eventually collapse and plug the exhaust. This will choke your vehicle’s performance and limit the life of your vehicle’s motor.
Does Removing Catalytic Converter Damage Engine?
Chances are that if you can house a catalytic converter, then your car is designed to have it and run smoothly because of it. (Catalytic convertors were created in 1975! So, you should be driving a car with a catalytic converter!) Should you remove it, the computer attached to your engine will not be utilized to the lessened amount of backpressure. Your car will then run worse than it did with the converter inside of your vehicle.
Can You Repair A Catalytic Converter Without Replacing It?
While this may prove to be a viable option, there are some issues you may want to consider, before you bypass replacing your catalytic converter. Check out some circumstances to consider before you attempt to fix your catalytic converter, as opposed to replacing it.
Your Catalytic Converter May Be Too Clogged
You may have a catalytic converter that is so clogged, that replacing it is the only option for you. For a catalytic converter that is severely clogged, your car’s engine will not run. Therefore, your only choice is to remove the catalytic converter, is to utilize special and specific tools or just replace the entire catalytic converter.
Do You Have Any Loose Parts?
If your catalytic converter has any loose parts, then you may be forced to replace the entire component. To check for loose parts, take a wrench or a hammer. Then GENTLY hit your catalytic converter and listen to see if you can hear for any loose parts inside of it. If you hear anything loose, then auto professionals recommend that you remove the converter and then inspect it. Unfortunately, those loose parts can become even looser and grow on the “problem scale” for you. You may experience complete clogging of your exhaust pipe causing your vehicle to stop while you drive it.
Too Much Oil Consumption?
If you have a catalytic converter that is clogged because of internal oil consumption, then it may be time for a total replacement. This clogging can be due to oil being able to enter the cylinders and burning inside the hot catalytic converter. First, you or a trusted auto mechanic will have the task of repairing the internal oil leak. Next, it may be time to replace your entire catalytic converter.
What Does A Car Sound Like With No Catalytic Converter?
If you’re driving your car without a catalytic converter, then prepare to hear loud roaring or rumbling sounds, just as soon as you turn on your engine. Those sounds will also get louder once you hit your gas pedal. Since your exhaust isn’t working properly, your vehicle will drive rougher than it normally does. You may also notice sputtering as you change your driving speed.
How Much Should It Cost To Replace A Catalytic Converter?
To replace a catalytic converter is to pay some big money. For many vehicles, the average cost of a catalytic converter replacement/repair is between $1000 and $2500. These general prices include parts and labor. Like with any car repair, the cost will depend on the year, make and model of your car.
The pricy repair of your converter is only one aspect of the repair experience. You have to take into account the fact that your mechanic will have to perform some diagnostic tests and evaluations on your vehicle, to pinpoint what exactly is going on. You may also need to think about something else. Not only will you need to get a new catalytic converter, but you may need to change your muffler, a few of your oxygen sensors and even your tailpipe – during the repair of your catalytic converter. Before you begin any fixes, get a written estimate of all that is involved with your catalytic converter repair process. With all that you have to pay, it may be to your advantage to just by another great used car.
Need To Sell A Car With A Bad Catalytic Converter?
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