Car catalyst: when to replace it?

3-way catalytic converter : this is, in a few words, the catalyst mounted on many modern cars. What is it for? Let’s find out together in the article.

To learn more, read also what the auto catalyst is .

Car catalyst: when to replace it?

Every time you start the car and travel, little or much, the catalyst starts working: this work can generally be done in the best way up to about 200,000 km, but it is not a strict rule and consequently the device could need to be changed even much earlier.

Using low quality fuel can cause the cylinders to work poorly, which lack compression, and lead to contamination of the catalyst by various impurities: this occurs mainly in diesel engines, also due to the type of thermal regime at which they work (more low than petrol ones).

How to find out a problem with car catalysts? Thanks to the corresponding warning light that lights up on the dashboard once the device is compromised (see also: the meaning of the car warning lights )

In these cases there is no need to panic but you will have to take the car to the mechanic who will be able to tell you if the catalyst failure is real or if it is an error of the warning light: this situation can happen, and is in any case indicative of an element that it no longer works at maximum efficiency, although it is not to be changed immediately.

Operation of the catalyst

The problems of the car catalyst

There are various types of damage that the car catalyst can incur, including:

  • mechanical failure– it will be necessary to weld the casing
  • damaged catalyst body– replacement will be required
  • loss of catalyst properties– a replacement will be needed

In addition to the warning light on the dashboard, there are other signs of malfunction of the car catalyst, such as the engine turning off when you are in neutral, a difficult start, the escape of blue or gray / bluish exhaust gases , lower acceleration performance, noises or strange smells and a considerable increase in fuel consumption.

Car catalyst replacement price

By inspecting the catalyst you will understand if the time has come for its replacement, and in this case the old one will have to be removed. Before doing this, a quick test may be useful, which consists of lifting the car and then beating it with your fist.

In case you hear metallic vibrations or rustles, it will mean that its thin internal lamellae are now ruined; in case of silence, you can clean it instead. The prices for its replacement are around 250 to 400 euros .

Do not drive with a broken catalyst: you pollute the environment, you risk that the engine will start running in an “emergency” regime and you are committing a real crime of tax evasion, as the car no longer meets European standards. In addition, the car will not pass the mandatory inspection.


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