What Is the Best Way to Unclog a Catalytic Converter?

You're here because you're looking for instructions on how to unclog a catalytic converter. If you drive a car with an internal combustion engine, you should expect to encounter a clogged catalytic converter. What is the reason for this?

What you're about to read will show you how to keep your catalytic converter in top working order.

Catalytic converters, on the other hand, essentially convert dangerous exhaust emissions into “safer” gases. Because so much smoke passes through the exhaust, it's only a matter of time before it clogs and a possible meeting with your car mechanic to book a car service in Reading to resolve.

What Are the Common Signs of a Catalytic Converter Clog?

Driving a car with a clogged catalytic converter can be excruciatingly painful. Aside from the environmental concerns, you run the risk of damaging your car's engine. Fortunately, some symptoms appear when a car's catalytic converter is clogged. They are as follows:

Engine Performance Issues -

Exhaust backpressure is one of the problems associated with a clogged catalytic converter. This means that the exhaust gases have become trapped within the vehicle. Internal combustion engines require the proper air-fuel mixture to start and run properly. When a catalytic converter becomes clogged, trapped exhaust gases reduce the amount of air and fuel in the engine. As a result, starting the car becomes difficult. It may eventually start, but after a brief sputter, the engine shuts down. You may also notice your car engine knocking while driving slowly. Engine performance problems are a sign of a clogged cat converter. If this does happen, it is recommended to search online for full car service near me and allow a trained technician to rectify this issue.

Fuel Efficiency Problems -

A car with a clogged catalytic converter will use less fuel than it used to. This is why. The trapped exhaust gases within the engine reduce the amount of air and oxygen that enters it. When this happens, even with your foot on the gas pedal, the car engine struggles to accelerate. As a result of having to work harder, your car engine consumes more fuel.

Your dashboard lights illuminate -

This is one of the most obvious symptoms of a clogged catalytic converter. Clogged catalytic converters have the potential to activate your vehicle's sensors, which are designed to detect any emission problems. For example, faulty O2 sensors allow you to monitor the oxygen-to-exhaust-gas ratio and the fuel-air mix in order to detect any emission problems with your vehicle. That is why, if you suspect that your catalytic converter is clogged, the dashboard of your vehicle is a good place to look. Unless you drive an antique, your car will have a diagnostic system that will notify you when there are problems with it. So, if you notice that the engine overheats and the light illuminates, it's likely that your catalytic converter is malfunctioning. That's not to say your catalytic converter is clogged every time this light illuminates. Rather, you'd be better off diagnosing the cause of the light coming on, as it's an indication that your car engine isn't working properly. One of the reasons for this is a clogged catalytic converter. Simply search online for car service near me and get your car booked in at a garage.

Failed Vehicle Emission Tests During a MOT -

After noticing the check light illuminated, the next logical step is to perform a vehicle emission test, as nothing is more indicative of a clogged catalytic converter than a failed vehicle emission test. The reason for this is that a working catalytic converter is an essential component of your vehicle's emission control system. If your vehicle fails an emissions test during a MOT test, it is obvious that you have a clogged catalytic converter.

The Smell of Rotten Eggs -

A clogged catalytic converter emits a rotten egg odour, indicating the presence of Sulphur. This happens when the catalytic converter is clogged and can no longer effectively catalyse pollutants. 

Unclogging a Catalytic Converter

You're certain about the condition of your catalytic converter at this point and you're probably looking for a quick fix. The good news is that you can unclog your catalytic converter in two ways. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

It's best if you can make sure the catalytic converter isn't clogged beyond repair. You should also ensure that it is not broken. If your catalytic converter is in any of these states, you should seek the assistance of a mechanic because attempting to repair it yourself may be futile. After that, you can use any of the following methods to unclog your catalytic converter:

Unclogging the Catalytic Converter Without Removing It -

This method has a drawback. It is only effective when the catalytic converter is not severely clogged. A catalytic converter cleaner will be required. This method is also excellent for cleaning your exhaust, fuel, and oxygen sensors. Here's how you do it:

Purchase a catalytic converter that is compatible with your vehicle.

Make sure you have at least 15 litres of fuel in your tank.

Regarding the fuel/catalytic converter cleaner ratio, follow the instructions on how to use catalytic converter cleaner.

Fill the fuel tank with catalytic converter cleaner.

For about 30 minutes, drive your car at 2500rpm (or higher). The goal is to drive long enough for the catalytic converter/fuel mixture to circulate throughout the vehicle and clean the system. However, make sure that the car does not overheat during this drive.

Re-calibrate the OBD code, then re-read the catalytic converter.

If you notice that the car accelerates faster and emits less black smoke at the end of the ride, you may have unclogged the catalytic converter. It is one of the cheapest methods of repairing a catalytic converter. You should be cautious about how you use some brands where the verdict is still out. 

Unclogging the Catalytic Converter by Removing It - Use this method only after you've tried the first method and it didn't work. The following are the tools you will require:

Some degreaser for vehicles

Some penetrating oil in a large container

A jack for the floor

Jack stands

An impact wrench

A high-pressure washer

Here's how to use this method:

Allow the exhaust system to cool before using it to avoid getting burned.

Jack up the car and suspend it with jack stands.

Remove the oxygen sensor (s)

To loosen the bolts, use penetrating oil.

After removing the catalytic converter, inspect it. If you hear a loud rattle, you should pull over because the catalytic converter components are most likely broken. If you don't hear anything, you should keep going with the process.

Wash the catalytic converter with a low-pressure pressure washer.

Soak the catalytic converter in hot water and degreaser.

Rinse the catalytic converter with a low-pressure pressure washer.

After allowing the catalytic converter to drain and dry, reinstall it.

After the catalytic converter has been replaced, reinstall the oxygen sensor(s).

Final Thoughts

You don't have to be concerned about catalytic converter problems if you know how to unclog a catalytic converter. You could easily unclog your catalytic converter using either of the two methods described in the article.

Unclogging your catalytic converter without removing it is the easier and less expensive way to repair a catalytic converter. However, it is only a temporary fix for a catalytic converter and is not as effective as unclogging the catalytic converter after it has been removed.

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