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Your Catalytic converter worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Faulty catalytic converter? Symptoms and tips for repair
Every car sold in the past 30 years is mandatorily equipped with a "cat", i.e. a catalytic converter. The cat helps the car owner to comply with the regulation for emission values to reduce the environmental impact. Through chemical processes it converts the toxic substances of the exhaust into less toxic pollutants. A defective catalytic converter can no longer fulfill this task and must be replaced. We show you what symptoms to look out for and how to DIY replace the catalytic converter.
Symptoms indicating a faulty catalytic converter
A catalytic converter defect causes several symptoms. Initially, a system failure is likely to be overlooked because the change in the exhaust is not sufficiently apparent. It depends for a great deal on the car's age. Modern cars with OBD monitor the catalytic converter's function with two lambda sensors. A defect will cause the corresponding control light to go on. Older cars have no lambda sensors and a defect is therefore indicated by the check engine light, which serves as warning for many errors and therefore you need to look out for other symptoms such as:
- the check engine light is on
- slight rattling sounds coming from the catalytic converter
- irregular idle running of the engine
- obvious loss of performance when accelerating
- increased emission values, showing on occasion of the exhaust emission check.
A common catalytic converter defect is due to a damaged internal ceramic component. Even a layman can easily check this failure source: jack up up the car or drive it on a lifting platform and knock on the catalytic converter. A rattling noise coming from the the housing indicates a broken ceramic core, requiring replacement of the catalytic converter. Careful! The catalytic converter heats up during driving. Therefore be sure to wait long enough before checking its condition.
Replacing the catalytic converter: step by step
- drive the car on a lifting platform
- disconnect the battery
- let the car cool down
- remove the catalytic converter from its bracket
- disconnect the exhaust pipes from the converter.
In case the screws are too tight, the pipes must be cut off, which means welding the new catalytic converter onto the exhaust pipes. This a lot more work as well as a more serious problem, should damage occur again.
- fix the new catalytic converter in its bracket and tighten it with the right torque.
- double-check the tightness of the connections.
What to observe when replacing the catalytic converter
Always disconnect the battery prior to working on the catalytic converter. In its immediate proximity are several important sensors. Be careful not to damage the heat shield on the catalytic converter. This is a very crucial element because of the heat development in the housing. Always work carefully, as a leaking connection can cause hot exhaust to escape, damaging the car's underbody and harming the environment.
Original spare parts are important
Not every catalytic converter is suitable for every car. Be certain using high-quality spare parts which were specifically made for your car model. Every catalytic converter is adjusted to the matching engine and model and only this way a full function can be reached and guaranteed. This is why we exclusively offer original OEM-quality spare parts. Here you can find a matching new catalytic converter for your car safely and easily.
What will it cost?
A new catalytic converter costs between 200 and 400 EUR (± £180 - £360). Installation or replacement in a garage is more expensive, and the amount of work required is bound to have its effect on the the price. If it can be disassembled quickly, it can be done in an hour. If cutting and welding is required, the work can take several hours and be accordingly expensive.