The catalytic converter is one of the most important parts of your vehicle that you may not have been aware of. This piece of machinery is essential to cutting down your car’s emissions. It’s meant to last the length of your car’s lifetime but what if it goes bad and needs to be replaced? Do you know how to recognize a bad catalytic converter?

What Does the Catalytic Converter Do?

The catalytic converter, which is commonly referred to as the cat, plays a major role in your vehicle’s exhaust system. Unfortunately, engines create a lot of hazardous and nasty gases and pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and unburned hydrocarbons. The cat works by filtering or “converting” out many of those polluting byproducts. It became a requirement for all cars after 1975 to comply with the stricter regulations on exhaust emissions by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

Inside this metal canister is a honeycomb that is made up of precious (and expensive) metals like gold, platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Many modern cars have just one cat installed per exhaust pipe. Some newer luxury cars are much better at cutting down harmful emissions because they feature two cats in line. 

How Do You Know if the Catalytic Converter Goes Bad?

Cats are expected to last at least 100,000 miles or around 10 years, but sometimes things can go wrong and they’ll need to be replaced sooner. There are multiple reasons why a cat can go bad. Overheating, clogs, bad sparkplugs or valve seals, being contaminated by engine coolant or oil, or an incorrect mixture of air and fuel can all damage your car’s cat. Physical damage caused by rocks or road debris can also occur, but this doesn’t happen very often. 

If your check engine light comes on and your vehicle starts to emit a smell of rotten eggs or sulfur, overheats, or struggles to maintain acceleration, there could be something wrong with the cat. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s important that you head to your mechanic as soon as you can to diagnose the issue. There may be a chance that it is just clogged and may not require a replacement. 

The best way to protect your car and cat is by seeing the experienced team at Master Muffler Bountiful at the first signs of trouble.