As the easiest way to understand that the catalyst has failed in the car


May 9, 2022, 4:04 p.m. | Auto

Signs that the neutralizer is about to break or is not working.

As the easiest way understand that the car's catalyst has failed

The catalytic converter plays the most important role in reducing the toxicity of exhaust gases. However, if this element of the exhaust system fails, it will begin to pass exhaust gases with difficulty, and the destroyed ceramic filling can be sucked into the engine cylinders and cause the latter to fail. We find out how to determine that the catalytic converter is about to break or is not working, informs Ukr.Media.

A porous ceramic block with a cellular structure is used inside the catalytic converter (catalyst). If the ceramic filling is damaged (in the event of an accident or overheating), there is a risk that the engine will not start. Secondly, when ceramic particles are destroyed, the latter can be sucked into the cylinders with an unpleasant prospect of major repairs.

To diagnose a possible problem, masters recommend using both elementary and more complex methods. First of all, you should pay attention to the change in the behavior of the machine. If it became harder to start (the engine starts and stalls), it accelerates more slowly, the consumption of fuel and engine oil increased sharply, and when starting the engine “cold” there is an unpleasant smell, and especially if the Check Engine light is on, it's time to sound the alarm. Another symptom of a damaged catalyst is a metallic sound in the exhaust system when you press the gas hard.

You can diagnose a breakdown in statics yourself. To do this, you need to drive the car onto a lift or at least raise one of the sides on a jack and carefully inspect the integrity of the system with a powerful flashlight (there should be no external damage). We sniff at the same time. If the catalyst emits the smell of hydrogen sulfide, the breakdown is obvious. We also evaluate the strength and color of the exhaust. With a clogged catalyst, exhaust gases will barely come out of the pipe, and with a destroyed one, the color of the exhaust will be bluish.

Finally, run the simplest tool. Arm yourself with a thick construction glove, start the engine and place your gloved hand against the exhaust pipe. If you feel a strong resistance to the exhaust flow, the catalyst is working. But if you manage to keep the flow of exhaust gases, there is a high probability that the catalyst is clogged and requires urgent repair, replacement or removal of the part.

A slightly more complicated way of checking will require manipulations with electronics. All you need to do is to remove the lambda probe (oxygen sensor) from the exhaust tract, and then try to start the engine. If the car starts without problems, and the idle speed is even, this is a sign that the catalyst is clogged or destroyed, and you need an urgent visit to the service.

A more accurate check will be carried out again at the service. Moreover, there are several ways of testing. The first is a check on a gas analyzer. To do this, a device is connected to the car's exhaust system, which conducts a chemical analysis of exhaust gases.

The second method is back pressure testing. Instead of an oxygen sensor, a pressure gauge is screwed in using an adapter and readings are taken in different engine operating modes. Another variant of back pressure measurement is carried out using a motor tester. To do this, the pressure sensor is screwed into the engine cylinder instead of the spark plug, and the oscillogram is recorded and analyzed at high revolutions.


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