How To Unclog A Catalytic Converter: A Complete Guide

A catalytic converter is a requirement in vehicles manufactured in the U.S. That is because it is responsible for controlling the exhaust emission from the internal combustion engine by catalyzing a redox reaction. So, it helps lower the effect of the vehicle on the environment. 

However, sometimes, the catalytic converter can clog due to many reasons. If you want to know how to unclog a catalytic converter, you are in the right place. Here is your complete guide. 

How To Tell Your Catalytic Converter Is Clogged? 

How To Unclog A Catalytic Converter: A Complete Guide

Before you understand how to unclog a catalytic converter, you must understand if that is the issue with your vehicle. Here are the top signs that will indicate if your catalytic converter is clogged:

1. Problems With Fuel Efficiency 

The primary sign of a clogged catalytic converter is that your fuel efficiency will start going down. When a catalytic converter is clogged, the trapped exhaust gases within the engine decrease the amount of oxygen and air that go to the engine. 

Because of this, the engine will have problems accelerating no matter how hard you try. So, the engine will begin consuming more fuel because it is working harder. 

2. Problems With Engine Performance 

Another important sign of a clogged catalytic converter is that the engine will have performance issues. For example, the car might start, but the engine might suddenly stop. That is because the trapped gases affect the fuel and air inside the engine. 

So, the engine performance will greatly reduce, and you will experience several issues with it. If these issues persist, it means your catalytic converter is clogged. 

3. Foul Odor 

When your catalytic converter is clogged for a long time, it will start giving a foul odor. Your car might start smelling like rotten eggs, which means there is sulfur present. Such a smell indicates that the converter is not effective at catalyzing the pollutants any more. 

That is why you must learn how to unclog a catalytic converter, or you will find it difficult to be in your car or run it with efficiency. Once you fix the issue, the foul odor will go away too. 

How To Unclog A Catalytic Converter

If your car indicates the symptoms mentioned above, it means your catalytic converter is clogged. That is why you must understand how to unclog it, so your car offers excellent performance again. Here is what you must do to unclog a catalytic converter:

  • Ensure your car has 15 liters of fuel in it. You must not clean the converter with more or less than this amount in the tank
  • Buy a catalytic converter cleaner from your local automotive supply store
  • Pour the cleaner into the tank. The bottle you choose will have instructions on how much you must pour
  • Replace the gas gap and drive your vehicle until the tank is about to be empty. However, you must ensure that the engine doesn’t overheat
  • Clear the OBD code 
  • Let the converter calibrate
  • Do a reading of the catalytic converter 

Following these steps is one of the easiest ways to know how to unclog a catalytic converter. However, sometimes, your converter might be severely clogged, and you will have to find another way to unclog it. 

Removal Of The Catalytic Converter 

If the above method doesn’t work, you will have to try to remove the catalytic converter and clean it yourself. Here is how to unclog a catalytic converter through the removal method:

1. Gather The Tools

You will need a few tools to execute this unclogging method successfully. These include a high-pressure washer, degreaser, cleaning tower, wrench, jack and stand, goggles, safety gloves. Once you have all these things, you can move on to step two. 

2. Prepare Yourself And The Car 

Before you begin, you must park your car on a flat surface. The best time to do this is in the day so you can see everything with ease. After that, wear your safety goggles. You must also ensure the vehicle is cool before you begin. 

3. Removing The Catalytic Converter 

You will find the catalytic converter in the middle of the exhaust system. The converter will be secured with bolts, and it will be either round or square. You must use the wrench to take off the bolts. 

If the bolts are tight, you can use some oil to help them easily come off. On the other hand, if your bolts are welded, you will have to take the car to the mechanic. Once you remove the converter, you must shake it gently and listen. 

If there is a sound as if something is broken inside or it looks melted, you will have to get a catalytic converter replacement. If not, you can move on to the next step. 

4. Clean The Catalytic Converter 

Now that the converter is out, it is time to clean the outside with a towel. You must wash the component with the high-pressure washer to get any dirt, debris, or contaminants out of it. Clean the inlet and outlet pipes, but ensure the power washer is not on too high. 

After that, you must take a large container and combine degreaser and hot water inside. Put the catalytic converter inside the container and let it soak for anywhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours. Finally, take it out, rinse it, and let the converter dry. 

5. Fasten The Converter In The Car 

By this point, your catalytic converter will be unclogged. So, you must fasten it securely in the car. After that, you must drive the car to test if any issues are coming up. If issues still persist, you might have to replace the converter. 

Final Words 

That was your complete guide on how to unclog a catalytic converter in no time. You can follow these steps, and if the issue still goes on, you might need to replace your catalytic converter. So, follow this guide and understand the issue with the converter. 

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