What To Do When Your Catalytic Converter Overheats

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A catalytic converter is an essential component of your vehicle’s exhaust system. There are, unfortunately, a few issues that can prevent it from properly converting harmful engine emissions. Discover how to keep this critical component maintained and avoid excessive heat issues.

What Is a Catalytic Converter?

This component is used to convert approximately 90% of vehicle emissions to safe alternatives. It uses a catalyst to convert hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide into carbon and carbon dioxide.

Like other important car parts, a catalytic converter needs to be replaced when damaged. Most converters last approximately 10 years, but there are factors that can increase or decrease the lifetime of your specific component.

Symptoms of a Failing Catalytic Converter

Now that you know what is a catalytic converter, it’s important to understand the symptoms of a failing one. Stay alert for one or more of these signs before purchasing a new component:

  • Reduced acceleration and engine performance
  • Unusual, sulfuric exhaust smells
  • Excessive heat
  • Rattling or clanking noises
  • Leaking exhaust fumes from under your vehicle

Some of these signs mean your converter is already damaged. Leaking exhaust fumes, for example, typically point to holes in the component.

Other signs are the result of a clogged converter. Unusual smells or heat could simply mean there is a buildup of carbon and contaminants on the catalyst. Cleaning this material could restore the converter and avoid excessive heat issues.

The Problem With an Overheating Catalytic Converter

Exhaust fumes exiting your engine are naturally hot. On average, the temperature of a catalytic converter while your engine is running is between 1,200 and 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

While designed to handle these temperatures, your converter can still overheat. A buildup of contaminants inside the converter can increase the temperature to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more. These extreme temperatures can cause the component to turn red hot and become damaged.

How To Restore Your Converter

Don’t wait until this component is completely compromised before you resolve the issue. A cracked converter may need to be replaced but an overheating one may be restored with a thorough cleaning.
There aren’t any forms of cleaning that are 100% effective. There are, however, several solutions you may be able to try. Reach out to a talented team for assistance on catalytic converter troubleshooting. Find out if any of these cleaning solutions may fix the solution or if you need to replace this component:

  • Fuel cleaner
  • Air intake cleaner
  • Physical removal of contaminants

A cracked case or missing catalyst can’t be resolved with a cleaning solution. Ask about the steps to safely remove and replace this component if it’s damaged. You won’t be able to prevent it from overheating and allowing harmful emissions to escape with any cleaning strategy.

Where To Find a Highly Rated Catalytic Converter

Learn more about the signs of an overheated catalytic converter today. Reach out to a team of experienced automotive agents to determine the best solution for your situation. Find a quality cleaning solution or an affordable replacement part from an online store or local automotive location.


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