Last Chance Auto Repair

Why Do I Need To Change My Catalytic Converter?


Preventative maintenance is done for a reason. A scheduled list of things to do to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape is in your owners manual for a reason. Neglecting maintenance items, like oil changes, tune-ups, aka preventative maintenance trying to save some money is not healthy for a vehicle in the long run. By ignoring and overlooking things on your maintenance schedule eventually one will end up turning into more expensive vehicle repairs down the road. One of the more costly casualties do to neglecting your maintenance needs is the need for catalytic converter replacement.

The job of the catalytic converter is to remove harmful gases from the exhaust so they don’t pollute our atmosphere. The way this happens is several precious metals usually that consist of platinum and palladium act as a chemical catalyst. Without these precious metals catalytic converters wouldn't be able to do their job properly and unfortunately due to the costly precious metals replacing the catalytic converter(s) is a more expensive service.

There are different catalysts in a catalytic converter that have different responsibilities that are needed to make a catalytic converter work efficiently. The "catalyst" tackles nitrogen oxide pollution using a chemical process called reduction which removes oxygen. This breaks up the nitrogen oxides and turns them into nitrogen and oxygen gases which are harmless and do naturally already exist in our atmosphere. Another "catalyst" works by an opposite chemical process called oxidation, which adds oxygen and then turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Then another oxidation reaction turns the un-burned hydrocarbons in the exhaust into carbon dioxide and water.

Now you know how a catalytic converter works and because of the precious metals replacing catalytic converters is expensive service. But what makes a catalytic converter go bad? What are some of the things that will cause a catalytic converter to fail? How to keep converters healthy?

How To Make Catalytic Converter Problems

Neglecting Tune-Ups - Are you due for an engine tune-up service? When was the last time you had the spark plugs and ignition cable (wires) changed? When the engine is overdue for a tune-up, the engine will be at risk for more wear and tear. Misfires, air-fuel mixture not burning properly, poor fuel economy all equal unnecessary stress on a catalytic converter. Catalytic converters are basically allergic to poor engine performance.

When an engine is dealing with an improper air/fuel mixture, improper timing and/or misfiring spark plugs this will affect the exhaust coming from the engine. Anything that affects the exhaust will in most cases in return cause issues with the catalytic converter(s) also. When the problem continues for a prolonged period of time, the catalytic converter can be damaged to the point of needing to be replaced. Is it worth saving a little money now to only end up paying a lot of money later down the road?

Fuel Getting Into The Exhaust System - For your engine to be happy it has to run properly, which requires a precise air to fuel ration ratio. When there is too little fuel the engine won’t run right if at all. If there is too much fuel the un-burnt fuel will enter the exhaust system including catalytic converters. This is one of the most common reasons for catalytic converter failure and is also why we thrive in catalytic converter replacement near me.

When this issue occurs un-burned fuel ignites when it reaches the catalytic converter causing it to heat up beyond its normal operating temperature, melt the catalyst together causing the exhaust not to flow, eventually blowing out the catalyst and or your engine dying from the lack of being able to relieve the exhaust gasses. This will cause the catalytic converter to fail and then you’ll be forced to spend a lot of money to replace it. Don't break it, maintain it over at a local catalytic converter expert like Last Chance Auto Repair by getting tune-ups done regularly, replacing faulty parts, like oxygen sensors, fuel injectors, spark plugs and ignition cables when needed.

Coolant or Oil Entering the Exhaust System - The cooling system is imperative to engine health and performance. If the cooling system is neglected it's only a matter of time before the engine starts to run hotter than it should and if your not paying attention this can cause a multitude of things including cracked manifold gasket, warped cylinder head and gasket problems, cracked blocks, overheated radiators & transmissions, etc. When gaskets go bad, coolant and/or motor oil can leak into the combustion chamber and then get into your exhaust system. Coolant and/or oil in the exhaust system can result in carbon deposits building up in the catalytic converter(s) and eventually you'll end up restricting the exhaust flow, clogging the converters, making one problem snowball into a multitude of other more costly problems.

Ignoring "Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” Light - Is your check engine light on? The check engine and service engine soon light is a very important warning system that lets you know that a problem is brewing. These lights come on for many reasons. Sometimes it's a steady on sometimes it flashes. Flashing means stop driving ASAP and get the vehicle looked at. A flashing aka blinking light means that your vehicle's engine is misfiring for some reason but regardless could severely damage your catalytic converters. If left unfixed, you will end up having to replace the catalytic converter(s).

How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Problems

The best way to avoid a catalytic converter replacement is to properly maintain your vehicle. Having catalytic converter problems in the Plainfield, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Chicagoland Illinois area? Check out the certified catalytic converter experts over at our auto repair shop near you in Plainfield, IL. Not sure what the issue is? Get an oil change which comes with a Free 30-point inspection over at Last Chance Auto Repair.

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