Today's newer vehicles come equipped with a catalytic converter. Designed to reduce emissions, the catalytic converter is an important part of your vehicle. Unfortunately, like anything else mechanical, the catalytic converter can break and fail. Luckily, you can reduce the amount of damage a failing catalytic converter causes by knowing the warning signs.
1. Reduced Acceleration and Engine Performance
Perhaps one of the most noticeable signs that your catalytic converter is having issues is reduced acceleration and engine performance. Since catalytic converters are built into exhaust systems, they can easily affect engines. If the converter is simply clogged, you might notice that your vehicle is a bit sluggish. When you press on the gas pedal, the vehicle may not speed up properly. Additionally, you might notice that you are frequenting the gas station more and more.
If the converter is broken, it will leak. While this will affect the performance of your vehicle, it's more likely that you'll notice the leak first. After all, a leak is prominent. If you believe your catalytic converter is leaking, be sure to look for oil or transmission fluid. If you notice a leak, be sure to look at the converter casing for signs of damage.
2. Unusual Rattling Noise
Another symptom that your catalytic converter is damaged is an unusual rattling noise. In general, your vehicle shouldn't make any odd or loud noises. If you do begin to hear a rattling sound, it's likely that the meshes inside the converter are breaking. As these tiny pieces break, they cause a rattling sound. As you might expect, this sound will continue to get worse over time as the converter deteriorates. So if you hear this sound, get it addressed quickly to prevent serious damages to your vehicle.
3. Pungent Exhaust Odors
Exhaust isn't pleasant to smell. However, if may become worse or much more noticeable when the catalytic converter begins to fail. As fuel builds up in your converter, it will begin to burn and produce a strong odor. Unfortunately, this can make your vehicle very dangerous as fuel and gases make your vehicle more prone to fires. So if you smell anything unusual or pungent when driving your vehicle, get it looked at as soon as possible.
While the catalytic converter might not seem like an essential part of your vehicle, it is. If you notice any of these signs, or your vehicle fails an emissions test, visit an auto repair shop immediately. Your catalytic converter may need to be repaired or replaced.