Can a car run without a catalytic converter?


Your car uses a catalytic converter to transform harmful exhaust fumes into safe emissions. This important component has been a commonplace automotive feature since the 1970s. If you suspect an issue with yours, it may be time to replace it. Learn more about the purpose of catalytic converters, how your converter affects your car’s performance and why you need one. 

What Is a Catalytic Converter? 

A catalytic converter is a key component in a vehicle exhaust system. While the exhaust pipes draw fumes away from your engine and the muffler dampens the sound, a catalytic converter uses a catalyst to reduce emissions. The byproducts of a combustion engine include oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. A catalytic converter turns these fumes into carbon dioxide and water. 

A blocked, damaged or removed catalytic converter should illuminate the check engine light on your vehicle. Other warning signs include difficulties starting, stalling issues or a lack of acceleration. Find out the catalytic converter cost online to see how you can easily replace your own component. Tampering with a converter is illegal, but a DIY converter replacement can restore the full efficiency of your exhaust system. 

Start by parking your vehicle in a level, well-lit area. Wait for the exhaust system to cool down before attempting to handle it. Look for any brackets, sleeves or other components holding your catalytic converter in place. You can inspect it for signs of a clog, but you may have to fully replace it to restore the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. 

Clogged converters are typically replaced, but there are some additives that are meant to clean carbon deposits from your converter. Use these as preventative maintenance, rather than attempting to drive with a clogged converter. Review the steps carefully before adding an exhaust system or catalytic converter cleaning product to your vehicle. 

Some converters are welded into place to avoid an exhaust leak. If you have some welding experience, this is something you can handle on your own. Some replacement catalytic converters use clamps and sleeves, which make for an easier project. Be sure to inspect the system and carefully monitor it for a leak, which can prevent your converter from working properly. 

Why You Need a Catalytic Converter? 

Your car can technically run without a converter, but it’s illegal in any state and creates significant, dangerous exhaust fumes wherever you drive. If your catalytic converter is clogged instead of missing, then it may block the flow of exhaust fumes away from your engine. In this case, your vehicle may stall suddenly if you attempt to drive. 

Keep your vehicle driving safely and legally with a replacement catalytic converter. Avoid any stalling, acceleration issues or harmful emissions by finding the right part at your local auto parts store. Shop close to home or online using a VIN lookup tool today. This helpful tool allows you to easily sort auto parts based on the make, model and year of your vehicle. While a new converter is an investment, it’s an essential component and a relatively easy DIY task.