Catalytic converters need replacement for a variety of reasons, and based on the symptoms, we can determine if replacement is necessary, without guessing! The catalytic converter is one of the most important and most affective emission control device on your vehicle.
The three symptoms that will call for replacement are as follows. First is the "CHECK ENGINE" light on 1996 and newer vehicles (a few manufacturers started using this system in 1994, but the list is small). The engine control system monitors the efficiency of the catalytic converter constantly, if it is not operating at a set minimum, the light will come on. Any problem that the control system sees will illuminate the "CHECK ENGINE' light, so a proper scan is necessary, which we can do here at the shop. Replacement of the catalytic converter is the solution.
Next is the obstruction of exhaust gas flow, or as many like to say, plugged. Symptoms in this case would be a noticeable lack of power, poor fuel mileage and an automatic transmission that is not shifting at the correct times. If the obstruction is significant enough, driving the vehicle could be a real challenge. The catalytic converter needs to be replaced, but also, and this is very important, the reason that the converter failed must be repaired, or the same fate awaits the new part. The most common reasons for this type of failure are a rich fuel mixture and misfires.
The third symptom is a rattle coming from inside the catalytic converter. This is the ceramic substrate coming loose and flopping around. At first, the operation of the vehicle won't be much different, but in time it will display both of the symptoms described above. Replacement is the only fix.
California and catalytic converters
Regulations enacted at the beginning of 2009 have changed the way we address catalytic converters in California. The toughest emission requirements are found in this state, and the after-market catalytic converter was lagging far behind in effectiveness. California approved parts that we must use now are much more effective that what we had before 2009, and what the rest of the country is still using today. We maintain a large inventory of California approved converters and install them according to the California regulations so that you can be assured that the smog check process will as painless as possible.