Why does the catalytic converter fail?

A catalytic converter is one of the most expensive parts of a vehicle. Moreover, it has a high value in the out-of-operation condition. Buyers agree to pay good money for exhaust converters of any car brand. You can sell it through the following platform — BMW catalyst, as well as catalysts of other brands, are purchased fast and at the best prices.

But why do catalytic converters fail? Let us discuss the causes in this article.

What makes catalytic converters fail?

The ideal scenario is when the catalytic converter ceases to perform its functions due to the wear of the catalytic coating as this coating triggers chemical reactions to purify the exhaust. However, such situations are extremely rare.

Here are the main reasons for the failure of the exhaust gas converter:

  • clogging of narrow channels of the internal unit of the part, which looks like a honeycomb;
  • melting of the catalytic coating;
  • mechanical damage.

Premature failure may happen due to various factors. The part is close to the engine and is highly sensitive to malfunctioning.

The operating temperature of the catalytic converter varies in the range of 300-850 degrees Celsius, but under certain conditions, the structure can heat up to more extreme temperatures.

Platinum group metals are used as a catalytic coating. This material is sensitive to converter overheating. As a result of such overheating, the catalyst substances melt and the part fails quickly.

The above can be caused by malfunctions of the ignition system or the use of low-quality fuel. Leaded gasoline and the frequent use of additives for the fuel system are especially harmful to the catalyst. This creates an increased amount of soot that settles in the channels of the catalytic converter.

Mechanical damage sometimes also becomes the cause of breakdown. Since most manufacturers use ceramics to make the internal catalyst block, the part is quite fragile. Frequent and strong vibrations, as well as impacts against curbs or stones, can easily cause damage despite the presence of a protective case.

Moreover, it should also be understood that due to its design features, the catalytic converter has its own service life. Usually, it is designed for 62,000-94,000 miles.

Signs of the converter’s malfunctions

As a rule, a catalytic converter does not fail overnight, except in some very rare cases. So, the signs of a malfunction can be identified at an early stage.

If the gases purification is incomplete, the lambda probe reacts to this. In this case, the “Check Engine” indicator will light up on the dashboard. If the catalytic converter malfunctions, the vehicle starts to consume more fuel and loses performance. Also, a decrease in the throughput of the catalytic converter may cause problems with starting the engine, especially when it is warmed up.

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