A catalytic converter is essential to keep harmful gases from your Audi from polluting the immediate area around your car and the general outdoor environment. You might have heard the term “emissions test” being thrown around in the last few years. This means that cars must pass a test in many states in the US during inspection to ensure dangerous levels of gases and chemicals are not being released into the environment.
These toxic emissions from vehicles can contribute to smog and poor air quality, which is why your catalytic converter must be working correctly. The catalytic converter converts harmful gases of nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons into less toxic fumes before leaving the vehicle through the exhaust system.
Easy-to-Spot Signs That Your Catalytic Converter May Be Clogged
Here are the top 4 symptoms you may notice that let you know that your Cat may be clogged.
- Dark Smoke: You may notice that the smoke coming out of the exhaust system is darker than usual. This symptom is an indication that gases are not being appropriately converted and are building up in the converter. If you see this, make an appointment with your vehicle technician right away.
- Foul Smell: Another sign that there is a problem with the catalytic converter is that a foul smell emanates from the exhaust system. Many people describe it as smelling like rotten eggs or a musky, unpleasant odor. You definitely do not want this in the cabin of your car.
- Decreased Gas Mileage: When the catalytic converter is clogged, it will cause the fuel-to-air ratio in the ignition system to be off. Every part of a vehicle must work at its optimal condition, because they are like a set of dominos. If one component does not work correctly, the next has less inefficiency. When the fuel-to-air ratio is off, the fuel efficiency will take a hit and you may also begin to experience engine misfires due to the ratio not providing the necessary fuel and air in proper proportions.
- Failed Emissions Test: Finally, if you fail an emissions test, there is a good chance the issue is with the catalytic converter. There are a few other reasons why this can occur. Still, since the catalytic converter is responsible for converting the gases before emitting them when a failure occurs, it is the first thing that should be checked if you fail an emissions test.
Vehicle Conditions and Issues That Lead To Catalytic Converter Problems
Many times the issue with the catalytic converter starts somewhere else. Here are 4 strong possibilities of what caused the clogs in your catalytic converter.
- Failing Ignition System: If there is a failure in the ignition system, it will cause an air-to-fuel ratio imbalance. This will lead to excessive fuel in the combustion chamber, which will damage the catalytic converter as the fuel heats up inside, causing damage or melting elements of the system. This will cause the gas to build up and the catalytic converter to clog.
- Dirty Air Filter: If your air filter is dirty, it will lead to blockage, causing an uneven fuel-to-air ratio. This will cause issues with the exhaust system, including the catalytic converter.
- Head Gasket Leak: When a head gasket fails, coolant or oil can enter the combustion chamber of your Audi’s engine. This will cause overheating and buildup. The buildup will cause clogging in the converter and damage to the system. If your head gasket fails, you are looking at far more expensive repairs, so it’s important to have this checked out right away.
- Faulty Oxygen Sensor: Typically, you will know when the O2 sensor breaks because the check engine light will come on. If your check engine light is on and you do not get a diagnostic test run right away, buildup will occur in the catalytic converter and you will face further problems.
Contact Bavarian Auto for all Your Audi Needs
Bavarian Auto services vehicles in Ooltewah, Hixson, and Chattanooga, TN. We have been Bosch Certified for European auto service since 1981. You can trust us with your Audi and other popular vehicle brands such as BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, MINI, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Please call us to make an appointment today.