Every single car produced today use a catalytic converter. On a properly tuned engine, a catalytic converter is used to reduce harmful exhaust emissions. To do so, a catalytic converter uses a combination of heat and precious metals to oxidize the harmful emissions or at least reduce them.

As long as your car is properly maintained, a catalytic converter shouldn’t fail, but as with everything, there is a chance that it will. Certain factors can increase catalytic converter failure over a period of time, these can include lazy or failed oxygen sensors and worn or contaminated spark plugs.

Those are just two of the most common causes of catalytic converter failure. The following is a list of other reasons that yours can fail:

  • A faulty check valve
  • Poor car maintenance and lack of tune ups
  • Any amount of oil or coolant entering the exhaust due to faulty gaskets, seals, valves or rings

Any of the above reasons could cause your catalytic converter to fail especially if your car has over 100,000 miles on it. When a catalytic converter fails, your car will perform poorly and your gas mileage will plummet. Your check engine light will probably also illuminate with a trouble code P0420 or P0430 (Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold.) Taking care of the problem right away could save you hundreds of dollars. As soon as your check engine light comes on, bring your car in to have it checked out. In many cases, you won’t need to replace a catalytic converter as the code reading might be indicating that something else is failing such as your oxygen sensor or your car may need a tune up.

GIC Car Clinic in San Jose, California understands this, which is why we investigate all other options before changing a catalytic converter. Why waste money on unnecessary parts and labor when a less expensive, simpler fix is available?

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