A catalytic converter is a device, in an exhaust system, that helps control a vehicle's emissions. Through the use of a catalyst, the catalytic converter is designed to convert harmful gases, that are formed when burning gasoline, to gases that are somewhat friendlier to the environment. Due to environmental regulations, catalytic converters are required in most areas.
Check Engine Light
Most cars have OBDII sensors that monitor the activity of a few parts of a vehicle, including the catalytic converter. When the catalytic converter is not functioning properly, the OBDII sensor will display an error. A driver will then see this error message in the form of a yellow Check Engine Light, on the tachometer of the vehicle. A driver will not know what exactly the problem is with their car until they plug a scan tool into a hole that is located underneath the dashboard. The tool will then show an error code, or a series of codes, that match up with specific issues like a bad catalytic converter. Many people do not have this scan tool on hand, as it is expensive, but a mechanic or automotive parts store should have one. If a code for a catalytic converter is shown, then your catalytic converter will need to be replaced soon.
If a catalytic converter becomes so old that it clogs with numerous compounds and residue, then it will restrict airflow to and from an engine. This restriction will not allow the engine to receive sufficient enough airflow and will suffocate the engine. Additionally, most vehicle's computer systems will detect the decrease in airflow and, as a result, decrease the vehicles fuel supply. With a decrease in fuel, an engine will begin to starve and will eventually start to stall.
The reason that vehicles are regularly tested is to ensure that they are meeting emission standards and that the devices that control the vehicles' emissions are working properly. When you bring your vehicle in for emission testing, if it has a bad catalytic converter, then it will emit more greenhouse gases than is allowed by your local government. In the event that this happens, the shop that tested your vehicle will fail you for the test and note that you need to make changes to your vehicle's exhaust system.
The issue with a bad catalytic converter is that, when it is old and clogged, it will not be able to properly filter out harmful compounds. The catalytic converter may already be clogged with a variety of compounds or motor oil. Once you install a new catalytic converter, then your exhaust system will be able to filter out gases like it normally should.
If you find that your catalytic converter is going bad, begin to look for replacements or repairs online, such as on iAUTOHAUS.com. Online, you will be able to find many possible solutions from experts in the automotive industry.