Very often, car owners are faced with the fact that vibration is felt in a car cabin, and often this is due to the exhaust system. Almost all cars have parts or connections that compensate for the vibrations of the engine, respectively so that they are not transmitted to the exhaust system and car body. This is either a damper connection or a muffler. Any inexperienced driver can easily identify a malfunction in the exhaust pipe, often associated with a catalyst.

Signs of a clogged or destroyed catalyst malfunction

  1. The car does not start or stalls instantly. The catalyst indicates a complete breakdown. Solution: Unscrew oxygen sensor (located in front of the catalyst). Start the engine, if the car is working, then the catalyst barrel is faulty. It needs to be replaced with a new one or an analog.

  2. The car accelerates poorly and the engine picks up speed slowly. When driving, it seems that the car is being held from behind. So catalyst cells are partially clogged.

  3. Fuel consumption has increased. This is also a symptom of a catalyst malfunction, but not always, it may indicate another malfunction, such as fuel injectors.

  4. Exhaust comes out weakly from a pipe, honeycombs are clogged.

  5. Exhaust has a bluish tint and a pungent, unpleasant smell. It means that the catalyst is destroyed or melted.

  6. When accelerating, a metallic sound is heard (as if gravel was poured) - the catalyst is half destroyed, the block is clogged, or perhaps catalyst barrels have moved from a designated place.

  7. "Check Engine" light comes on, low efficiency (code P0420). It may arise in case of other problems, but also signals a possible malfunction of a catalyst.

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How to diagnose a catalytic converter malfunction?

You can make sure that the catalyst is working on your own. In extreme cases, car services make paid diagnostics. Let's highlight 3 main methods of checking the catalyst, which can cause different problems, including shaking.

When housing is deformed, catalyst honeycomb is likely to be damaged. In this case, an external examination will not give an understanding of contamination; it will be necessary to remove the catalytic converter from a vehicle.

The problem lies in a very difficult removal of a catalytic converter, it is not uncommon to "stick", in which case it has to be cut off with a grinder. Having removed the catalyst, all the underparts of a car have to be carefully examined for gaps. If combs are clogged with dirt, they are cleaned or replaced with a new one. But the design does not always allow for an internal inspection without opening catalyst housing.

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Clogged catalyst symptoms

How does a clogged catalyst affect engine performance?

Contrary to various rumors, there are no eternal catalytic converters. This is the same part as many others, so it has its own operational life. How to check the catalyst, as well as what to do in case of breakdowns. It would seem that catalyst design is very simple. But in fact, it has its characteristics that you need to know. So, in its body, there are bobbins, which are most often ceramic and less often metal. Hazardous substances pass through the honeycomb of bobbins. But it is not the material of a catalyst that is responsible for clogging, but the noble metals that are deposited on a surface of bobbins. It's about platinum and iridium.

During operation, the catalytic converter may become hot enough to ignite. To prevent this from happening, there is a special heat-insulating layer inside the part. Exhausts are best neutralized at temperatures from three hundred degrees. And due to various processes, the catalyst loses its performance after 100,000 km of the car's path.

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Signs of a clogged catalyst

Many diseases have their symptoms. Likewise, the catalyst has certain symptoms that indicate that something is wrong with it. When the service life of a catalyst comes to an end, you can see the inscription "Check Engine" on an instrument scale, and the car will start working in emergency mode.

It is important to pay attention to the fact that the signal will light up instantly only if the part was physically damaged or electrical wiring was cut off. And therefore, the catalytic converter may stop correctly performing its tasks, but the lamp will still not burn.

As soon as the catalytic converter starts to fail, you will notice that car's power has dropped sharply, and also that it has become much more difficult to start. It is almost always to blame for this clogging of a catalyst honeycomb with soot particles. As a result, the exhaust simply does not pass through the filter media. Gases that have not gone anywhere begin to put pressure on an engine. And it cannot endure such pressure for a long time, and therefore begins to fail.

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Fails and car shaking can also occur when the filter coating of platinum and iridium has worn off. You can see that the flow of gases from a catalyst has become weak. And this will just mean that the period of validity has come to an end because under normal conditions emissions are large.

How to independently check the clogged catalyst?

If you do not plan to take the car to a service station for various reasons, you can check the efficiency of a catalyst yourself. And the first thing to do is to take a flashlight and shine into this part. If necessary and possible, you can remove the catalytic converter. But it often happens that it sticks to the base of a car. Better use the bracket to raise your car.

The second way to test the catalyst is to smell it. It can be completely atypical and unpleasant if the catalyst is out of order. And finally, the third method is to put your hand to the exhaust pipe. If the catalyst is functioning properly, you will be able to experience a big exhaust emission. But if it is hammered, you will not notice any resistance.

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What can be the main consequence of a clogged catalyst?

After all, it all depends on the strength of the breakage of your catalyst. So, if the catalytic converter is clogged with soot, it is enough to clean it so that it starts working correctly again. But if something more serious happened, consequences could be much worse. For example, if the inside of a part is melted, you will not be able to use the car. And the catalyst will have to be changed completely.

It is worth knowing about other even worse consequences. If gases do not pass through the device, they will return to the cylinder, but with particles of soot, ceramics, etc. A cylinder is a very fragile element of a car, and the smallest break can render the entire cylinder-piston system unusable. And if this happens to your car, then only the replacement of specific parts and the catalytic converter will help, which will be done at a service station.