How To Unblock a Catalytic Converter

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Your car exhaust system is responsible for getting rid of the gases that are produced by the engine during the combustion process. The catalytic converter is a key component of the exhaust system, and its job is to convert these harmful gases into less harmful ones before they are released into the atmosphere. Learn how to unblock a catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter comprises a honeycomb structure that is coated with platinum and palladium. These precious metals act as catalysts, and they help to convert the harmful gases into less harmful ones as the exhaust gases pass through the structure.

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Unfortunately, the catalytic converter can sometimes become blocked, which can lead to a decrease in performance and an increase in emissions. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to unblock your catalytic converter and get it working properly again. Read on to learn more about how to unblock a catalytic converter.

How to Know Your Catalytic Converter is Clogged

Before you actually learn how to unblock a catalytic converter, it is important to first know how to tell if your converter is actually clogged. After all, there are a number of reasons why your car might not be performing as well as it should be, and you want to make sure that the problem is actually with the catalytic converter before you start trying to fix it.

Here are some signs that can indicate that your catalytic converter is clogged. These include:

  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Engine misfires
  • Loss of power
  • Increased emissions

If you notice any of the above signs, it is possible that your catalytic converter is clogged and needs some attention.

4 Things To Consider Before Starting

Before attempting to clean your catalytic converter, there are a few things to think about. In many circumstances, the components within the catalytic converter will not firmly fit together. If this is the case, your catalytic converter will have to be removed and replaced.

1. Too clogged

You can’t just clean it out with a solvent. If your catalytic converter is clogged to the point that the engine won’t start, you’ll need to remove it and either replace it with specialized equipment or use some other method.

2. Check/listen for loose parts

If you have a rattling noise coming from your catalytic converter, it might just be a loose heat shield or support bracket. If this is the case, simply tighten the bolts and move on. However, if there is significant damage to the unit, you’ll need to replace it. 

3. Purified catalyst

Keep in mind that your catalytic converter may have been cleaned within, and the components within it might have blown out from the exhaust pipe as a result of soot or gunk. It’s difficult to view without taking it off, and if you think this is the case, take out the catalytic converter and inspect it.

4. Oil consumption

If your catalytic converter is coated in oil, it might be due to excessive oil consumption. If this is the case, you’ll need to address the root cause of the problem before attempting to clean or replace the catalytic converter.

How to Unclog a Catalytic Converter

1. Unclogging the Catalytic Converter without Removing It

The easiest way to unclog a catalytic converter is to do so without removing it. This can be done by using a solvent-based cleaner and running it through the exhaust system. Make sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner, as some require you to run the engine while others do not. 

2. Unclogging the Catalytic Converter by Removing It

If the catalytic converter is significantly clogged, you might need to remove it in order to clean it properly. This can be done by disconnecting the oxygen sensor and the exhaust pipe from the converter. You can then take out the converter and clean it with a solvent-based cleaner. Make sure to rinse it off afterward and dry it before reinstalling it. 

Also Read: How to Clean a Catalytic Converter Without Removing it

What Are the Symptoms of a Clogged Catalytic Converter?

The following are the most common symptoms of a clogged catalytic converter:

1. Engine Performance Issues

One of the most common symptoms of a clogged catalytic converter is engine performance issues. This is because the converter is responsible for converting harmful emissions into less harmful emissions, and if it is not able to do its job properly, the engine will not be able to run as efficiently as it should.

2. Fuel Efficiency Issues

The symptom of a clogged catalytic converter is decreased fuel efficiency. This is because the converter is responsible for helping the engine run more efficiently, and if it cannot do its job properly, the engine will use more fuel than it should.

3. Your Dashboard Lights Come On

When sensors in your catalytic converter detect that it is not working properly, they will often trigger a warning light on your dashboard. If you see a warning light on your dashboard, it is important to have your vehicle diagnosed as soon as possible.

Also Read: Best Catalytic Converter Cleaner in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

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If you think your catalytic converter is clogged, it is important to have it diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible. Clogged catalytic converters can cause a number of issues, and if left unaddressed, they can eventually lead to engine failure. Contact a qualified mechanic if you need help diagnosing or repairing your catalytic converter.

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