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How Can I Tell If My Catalytic Converter Is Bad?

Updated July 19, 2017

A catalytic converter greatly reduces the amount of emissions that your vehicle produces. However, when this part has gone bad it can mean trouble for your vehicle as well as the environment. Certain clues will help you determine whether your catalytic converter is failing.

Driveability

Your ability to drive your vehicle normally will be affected if the catalytic converter is bad. The speed and the power of a vehicle will fall below their normal performance levels. If your vehicle starts to have trouble with stalling, this could be a sign of bad catalytic converter.

Emissions

A rise in vehicle hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions is a sure sign that a catalytic converter has gone bad. An exhaust analyzer, which costs £1,950 to £3,250, can inform you whether the converter is bad by reading the emissions' levels as they exit the exhaust pipe.

Exhaust

The colour of the smoke coming from your exhaust is another way to determine whether a catalytic converter is bad. Blue smoke indicates that the converter might be contaminated with phosphorus, which is found in motor oil. White smoke usually indicates that coolant is leaking internally.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Mississippi, Marcus Baker began writing in 1998. He has had articles published in various online publications, specializing in sports, automotive issues and wildlife, among other topics. He is a certified electrician.