Does your car feel sluggish lately, and you have to press the accelerator pedal harder to make your car move like it once did? Does your exhaust smell like rotten eggs? Maybe your car is using more fuel than it used to. All of these could be signs of a clogged catalytic converter, and that might mean that you need to clean out your catalytic converter. Luckily, this is not a hard process, and you can totally do it on your own! Keep reading to learn why you might need to clean out your catalytic converter and how you can do it.
What Does A Catalytic Converter Do?
Catalytic converters essentially act like a filter for your exhaust gases. The inside of the converter is a honeycomb pattern made of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. As the extremely hot exhaust gases pass through the device, a chemical reaction occurs. This chemical reaction changes the harmful exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide into less harmful emissions like carbon dioxide. All cars produced today are required to have catalytic converters to help reduce harmful emissions.
How Does A Catalytic Converter Become Clogged?
As the gasoline in your car burns, it can leave behind small carbon deposits inside your engine and exhaust system. In the past, premium fuel contained detergents that helped prevent carbon deposits, but these detergents are required in all fuel now. These deposits can begin to build up inside your catalytic converter and start to clog it. To work properly, a catalytic converter needs to reach full operating temperature. Otherwise, the carbon and other deposits passing through will not be burned off properly. So, if you take frequent, short trips, your catalytic converter might not be able to clean itself thoroughly. You need to drive your car for at least 15 minutes to let your exhaust system reach its full operating temperature. Driving for less time than this and then shutting off the car frequently can lead to your converter becoming clogged.
If your converter simply starts to have some deposits in it, then it is not like a huge issue. However, the longer you let these deposits build up, the worse the problem becomes. Left unchecked, this small issue can eventually become a total clog in your converter. This is then a much bigger issue and can lead to serious issues with your vehicle.
How Do I Clean My Catalytic Converter
If your catalytic converter needs cleaning, you will be excited to know that it is an easy process! Simply purchase a bottle of catalytic converter cleaner and pour it into your gas tank. Then, just drive your car like normal! It’s that easy! The ingredients in the cleaner will do the work as they pass through your exhaust system. Most of these cleaners will clean your fuel injectors and fuel system in addition to your catalytic converter. It is a great idea to use them on a regular basis for preventative maintenance and not just when you suspect your catalytic converter might be clogged. Most mechanics recommend running a bottle of cleaner through your system every 1,000 miles or so.
What Kind Of Cleaner Should I Use?
There are many catalytic converter cleaners available on the market today, and choosing the right catalytic converter cleaner is crucial. You should first assess your symptoms and goals before deciding which cleaner you should use. Some are better at removing foul odors from your system while others guarantee that you will pass your emissions test. Make sure you understand what your car needs first and then use that information to select the cleaner that best fits your needs. With a little research, you will have your catalytic converter clean and running efficiently!