What happens when the catalytic converters go bad on a car?

Question by ThePartyGirlPrincess: What happens when the catalytic converters go bad on a car?
How does the car respond when these things go out?

Best answer:

Answer by John Paul
Converters either plug up causing low power and smelly exhaust. Or break apart causing rattling noise under the car. Some new cars with more than one cat. when the cat breaks up the engine blows parts of the converter into the engine damaging the pistons and rings. If you suspect a bad converter do not drive the car get it fixed before any more damage is done.

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8 Responses to “What happens when the catalytic converters go bad on a car?”

  1. Robert Y says:

    When you Cat, Coverter goes out it means the converter is clogged up with burnt carbon, causing a blockage so to speak in your exhaust , will cause your car to run really horrible will stall out not want to stay running and can heat up the converter or your exhaust componet so hot they will turn cherry Red, P.s Do Not let the above johns answer scare you the converter is part of your exhaust, Note meaning that there is a constant flow of air out of your exhaust at all timesthere is no possible way to suck up debris into your engine from the exhaust, maybe your intake but not your exhaust none the less if its clogged you will need to get it replaced, because it could leave you stranded

  2. James says:

    Poorly at best. Car will sputter, stall or skip. Engine will have no or little power. Depending on car, computer will begin to instruct motor based on faulty readings. Not good.

  3. dnaaek says:

    It doesn’t harm your car, but the insides, which are ceramic type materials, can break up and cause rattling noise. Since it is part of emission system, you will have to replace to keep warranties on vehicle in force, states that have safety inspection programs will require inspection of exhaust system before you can renew your license plates.

  4. szfr8l says:

    rotten egg smell comes from exhaust

  5. ellerkampbrian says:

    Your engine will definitely pollute more than it should and it will fail an emissions test if you have bad catalytic converters. Your catalytic converters use a chemical reaction to neutralize undburned fuel and other hydrocarbons into less harmful chemicals. Instead of raw unburned fuel, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances coming out your tailpipe in mass quantities, the converter reduces the amount of pollutants significantly. Once the converter goes bad, many newer vehicles have sensors called “cat monitors” that alert you that the converter is not working at peak efficiency, and let you know its time to replace it well before it breaks apart and causes damage to your engine. The cat monitors alert you to a problem by turning your “check engine light” on. You will usually notice a loud rattling coming from under your car if a catalytic converter is breaking apart. This is another telltale sign of a bad cat. Many people claim increased performance by removing catalytic converters, but on today’s increasingly computerized and complex vehicle’s, a person may do more harm than good by removing a converter.

  6. pandapower63 says:

    A catalytic converter will get clogged up with crap from your exhaust. Your car won’t want to run right cause it can’t breath properly. Have you ever seen a car that GOES UP IN FLAMES? All that is left is a charred chassis (the metal parts) and a black spot on the pavement. That is usually the catalytic converter gone bad. The exhaust is hot. When it can’t escape the motor properly, all that heat builds up, and….. A cheap, quick fix I’ve seen people do is drill a bunch holes in your catalytic converter. Exhaust escape holes. That is just jimmy rigging, though. You are’nt gonna pass smog, but you might make it to the dismantlers for parts, or the muffler shop to get it fixed before you burn up!

  7. Gene H says:

    Dont listen to these guys..Your car is just fine. Continue to drive it! If something should happen and the vehicle seems to “fail”, then visit your nearest CHEVY dealership and I will be able to put you in a brand new car, with little or no money down! Thats right..little or NO MONEY DOWN!!!

    Just Kidn…Get that thing fixed!

  8. marinespill says:

    They clog up and kill your power and mileage. They can also fall apart inside and rattle like my knees in the wintertime.

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