To neutralize toxic gases emitted from an internal combustion engine, a catalytic converter is installed in a car. Catalyst Is located at the outlet of the exhaust manifold. Although the service life of every catalyst is about 150 thousand km, changing it is rather expensive. It is too expensive if you need to buy a new item. A natural question arises whether it is possible to clean this car part and thus extend its resource. The answer is simple: cleaning is permissible, but there is no guarantee of a positive result. The problem is widespread and deserves more detailed consideration.

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When should you clean your catalyst?

The unit, which looks like a resonator tank, is a container with two connecting pipes. There are small ceramic honeycombs covered with a catalytic layer based on precious metals (hence the high price of a spare part). Exhaust flue gases clog cells with soot and carbon deposits, gradually making catalyst impassable.

Cleaning or flushing the catalyst will give a positive result and extend the life of the element in such cases:
  • If the procedure is performed as a preventive measure, long before the problem with it occurs.

  • When the honeycomb is not damaged and simply clogged with soot (the initial stage of the catalyst problem).

  • If the ceramic structure is not melted due to the use of leaded gasoline.

In other cases, a catalyst in a car will have to be changed to a new one or a cheaper flame arrester plus an emulator for the correct operation of the lambda sensor should be installed.

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Clogging of the flow section of the catalyst is characterized by the following features:
  • engine loses noticeably in power, acceleration becomes sluggish;

  • fuel consumption due to the catalyst problem, on the contrary, increases;

  • difficult starting of the motor;

  • unreasonable stop of the engine at idle speed.

Cars equipped with two lambda sensors, show the problem indicating the Check Engine indicator on a driver's dashboard. Electronics registers a decrease in efficiency and issues a corresponding error.

Regardless of the model of a car where it is installed, the catalyst is quite expensive. For this reason, many drivers are wondering how to clean it without problems.

The option of catalyst cleaning without dismantling is a priority for vehicle owners because on many cars this part can be removed only by cutting it out of the exhaust system with a grinder.

Whether it is possible to clean the catalyst on a car will be described in detail to exclude all doubts on this matter.

When can self-cleaning be effective?

Before proceeding with active actions, it is necessary to find out in what cases the cleaning of a catalyst can be of any benefit.

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Flushing the vehicle catalyst with special fluids can be most effective when:
  • Implementation of preventive measures.

  • Strong blockage of honeycombs with soot.

  • If the catalytic converter has not yet failed, but a slight decrease in engine power and an increase in fuel consumption are already noticed, then chemical cleaning is performed.

With strong blocking of honeycombs, but in the absence of melting, this method also allows you to significantly extend the life of a catalyst. And also increase engine power and reduce fuel consumption.

Car repair specialists practice the following options for cleaning:
  • preventive cleaning with detergent;

  • multiple flushing;

  • mechanical catalyst cleaning.

Preventive cleaning, as a rule, is carried out with a mileage of 70 - 80 thousand km. This method allows you to improve the situation without dismantling the part.

Multiple flushing is used to clean a heavily soiled catalyst. To clean it in this way, you will need to disassemble part of the vehicle's exhaust system.

Mechanical cleaning is carried out using a compressor and a brush. This type of cleaning is also performed on the dismantled section of the exhaust pipe.

The need for mechanical cleaning of catalyst arises when it is not possible to remove contamination by flushing the part.

Professional cleaning liquid allows you not only to effectively remove carbon deposits on a catalyst of a car's exhaust system but also to clean carburetor, fuel line and the tank of a car from deposits.

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After using a liquid catalyst cleaner, the following positive changes are observed in various vehicle systems:
  • carbon deposits are removed;

  • engine power increases;

  • reduced fuel consumption;

  • reduced toxicity of exhaust gases;

  • increased fuel knock is eliminated.

All these transformations are possible if the only original agent is used to clean the catalyst.

Cleaning with professional liquid will only be successful if the following conditions are followed:
  1. Fill the gas tank 1/3 full.

  2. Pour liquid cleaner into the gas tank.

  3. Fill the tank up to 100%.

  4. Operate machine until the full volume of fuel is used up.

  5. One pack of liquid is enough to fill a fuel tank with a volume of 60 - 70 liters.

  6. Fill a full tank with catalyst cleaning liquid.

For maximum effect, it is not recommended to refuel the vehicle while operating on fuel with an additive. Otherwise, the concentration of active substances will decrease, which will negatively affect the process of removing deposits formed on catalyst cells.

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Mechanical catalyst cleaning method

Can the catalyst be flushed if this part is heavily soiled? In this case, it is better to use a mechanical method of cleaning.

This work is performed in the following sequence:
  • The catalyst is removed from a vehicle exhaust system.

  • Contaminated honeycombs are gently cleaned with fine sandpaper.

  • The item is purged with compressed air.

The mechanical method has shown itself especially well for cleaning catalysts of diesel-powered machines. This part is heavily contaminated in such cars, therefore, with a careful approach, it is possible to restore the throughput of a product.

Work should be done very carefully so as not to damage the inside of a catalyst, which is made of special ceramics.

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Tips & Tricks

If, after adding an additive to gasoline, it was not possible to restore the catalyst's performance, then you cannot do without disassembling the exhaust system of a car.

If the method of mechanical catalyst cleaning with your own hands for one reason or another will not be possible, then use flushing with catalyst cleaning fluid.

It is not recommended to use gasoline, acetone, or other solvents for this purpose.

Before cleaning the catalyst, make sure that its internal parts are not deformed. If, as a result of a check, significant areas with melted honeycombs are identified, a complete replacement will be required.

Despite the recommendations of many garage craftsmen to completely remove the catalyst from the exhaust system of a car, this should not be done. The absence of a catalyst in a car significantly increases the toxicity of products resulting from the combustion of automobile fuel.