Can a bad catalytic converter cause smoke

My check engine light came on saying the catalytic converter was clogged and at the same time I noticed some smoke coming from the exhaust pipes and I was wondering if the two were related. Hi, thanks for writing in. If you are getting white smoke from the exhaust of your vehicle and you have trouble codes related to the catalytic converter it is likely that your vehicle is burning oil.

The oil getting into the combustion chamber due to faulty piston rings are faulty valve guide seals will end up getting oil inside the catalytic converter. The oil burns inside the combustion chamber and is exhausted through the exhaust system.

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Deposits from this burned oil can reside inside the exhaust system causing a clog eventually. If this is the case, I would recommend having an engine overhaul to resolve the oil burning issue as well as replacing the catalytic converter in order to resolve this issue.

6 Causes of a Car Blowing White Smoke From the Exhaust

Here at YourMechanic, we can have a technician come to your home or office to inspect this smoke issue for youand make or suggest the necessary repairs. Q: Would a clogged catalytic converter make a car smoke? Andrew Quinn Automotive Mechanic. Thank Andrew.

can a bad catalytic converter cause smoke

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Q: Would a clogged catalytic converter make a car smoke?

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can a bad catalytic converter cause smoke

Please see our terms of service for more details. Related Questions. Car chokes when accelerating and when at a stop by Nadia. Sputtering and popping with a loss of power.

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Most recently died and after driving cat converter was cherry red hot. Oil pan leaking and smoking by Ava V. Struggling to go uphill and muffler sounds get louder and strong smell of gas fumes. We changed our fuel pump by Sam. Home Questions. Year I don't know. What others are asking no power on car unless the gas is floored Hello.

It is possible that the timing belt and catalytic converter are damaged at the same time.

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Or for the same reasons. If the belt is ripping up, you should stop driving the vehicle ASAP as if it brakes while Read more. P code. Should I replace the catalytic converter? Hello and thank you for contacting YourMechanic.My car has white smoke coming out of the exhaust.

It does this while idle or while being driven. It smells like it is running rich. It is not antifreeze. The check engine light came on.

The catalytic converter started to glow while driving it the other night and I had to get it towed to my house, but it still runs and drives. It does however start to cut out and die after about ten minutes. Does anyone have any ideas? I do not think it is the head. The oil is fine and the smoke does not smell like antifreeze. Me and my father just checked the oil tonight and it seems fine.

He is a mechanic but wants some feedback because he is not completely sure what may be causing it. We know that the catalytic converter may cause loss of power, and the glow, and the o2 censor can cause the check engine light and the rich smell but he is not sure about the smoke.

There is a liquid in the exhaust as well but it is water and not oil. There is also a bad bearing in the transmission. We have a new transmission to put in but we are not sure if that could have something to do with it.

I'm not sure I understand what your saying? It smoked white for a little and it's fine now? If it's still overheating possible bad head gasket, bad heads, or check the thermostat take it out and boil it in a pot on the stove with a thermometer to make sure it open at the correct temp.!

I agree with the above comment. I'd check the heads. Update: I do not think it is the head. Answer Save.

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How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer. Jcorvette 72 Lv 6. Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.My car has a weird problem, when I first start my car it blows a puff of smoke out of the exhaust.

Its grayish white in color and dissipates in the air quickly. It only happens when I go from a stop or if I floor the gas.

At first I thought it was a blown head gasket, but the car doesn't overheat after a long drive, it stays cool. I checked the coolant level and it seems fine. The oil doesn't seem to be mixed with water or coolant either. I had someone tell me that it was carbon build up in the cat that was causing it but I want to get a second opinion.

The car doesn't feel like its losing power either, so i'm clueless right now. Sorry but the the correct answer is yes the catalytic converter can cause smoke from the tail pipe but they are correct it can cause oil consumption. I had a 89 dodge ram 50 the EGR had lost vacuum at the diaphragm and they would not open after reconnecting the vacuum it smoked some I later found out that the EGR tube that allows the spent gas to recirculate had become clogged I removed to tube and cleaned it after restarting the engine it smoked for a while but it got better the more it ran after minutes it stopped smoking so a combination of a clogged EGR and a loss of vacuum allowed the gasses to accumulate at the catalytic converter and when corrected the oil in fuel in the converter was slowly burned off.

He has no idea what he is talking about. A puff of smoke when first started in the morning or sitting for awhile is usually a sign of bad valve seals.

How to Determine if Your Catalytic Converter is Bad?

When you shut your car off, all of the oil inside the engine slowly drains back down into the oil pan, if your valve seals are bad, a small amount of oil can drip down inside the cylinders. It's not a major problem and depending on the car and engine it isn't too expensive to repair.

But it's not something for a do-it-yourself job because you really need to know how to replace valve seals properly to prevent ruining the engine. I have a question maybe you can answer it for me I just bought a Buick regal ls with 6o k original miles took it to get it smog found out they put the wrong catalytic converter in it will that cause black smoke to come out the tail pipe they also said if it's not that it can be a fuel emissions.

Mike S. Any help would be appreciated. Answer Save. James Lv 4. BalloonRich Lv 5. Take it to a good mechanic, and keep your friend away from your car!! Jc 4 years ago Report. Still have questions?A malfunctioning catalytic converter can create major problems for your vehicle. It causes your engine to run less efficiently, which will reduce power. The catalytic converter also changes carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emitted by your vehicle into nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water.

When it doesn't work, the compounds exhausted from your vehicle are much more harmful to the environment. Replacing a catalytic converter is usually expensive, so it's important to verify the symptoms do not indicate a different problem.

Watch the tachometer for readings lower than normally produced by your vehicle. The decreased engine power from a bad catalytic converter will cause the tachometer to show a lower rpm reading. Track the gas mileage obtained by your vehicle. Automotive website AA1Car says catalytic converter problems often reduce a vehicle's fuel economy. If your car requires more gas to travel familiar distances, the catalytic converter could be the cause.

Observe the engine temperature of your vehicle. The reduced engine efficiency of a vehicle with catalytic converter problems causes energy that would have been used to power the vehicle to instead turn into heat. The temperature of the engine will go up or down as the vehicle moves. But when the catalytic converter has problems, the temperature will stay higher than it normally would while moving at a constant speed.

Accelerate the vehicle. The easiest way to spot catalytic converter problems is by paying close attention when the car accelerates. Watch for bucking or stuttering motions as the car or truck moves forward. The vehicle may hesitate to move for a moment when you press the gas pedal.

This is usually followed by a strong jolt as the vehicle jerks forward. A bad catalytic converter may cause the vehicle's engine to stall. It will usually start without trouble and otherwise seem fine but stall immediately when the gas pedal is pressed. Look at the exhaust from your vehicle.A catalytic converter is a car component that works to reduce vehicle emissions and pollution.

It is a metal canister installed in the exhaust system. Usually, a faulty catalytic converter will produce one of 5 symptoms that alert the driver that replacement may be required. One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a bad or failing catalytic converter is a reduction in engine performance. A clogged converter will restrict exhaust flow, while a cracked one will leak harmful gas. Either fault can negatively affect engine performance and cause a reduction in power and acceleration as well as fuel economy.

Rattling noises from under the vehicle are another symptom of a bad or failing catalytic converter. If a catalytic converter becomes old or damaged internally from excessively rich fuel mixtures, the catalyst coated honeycomb meshes on the inside of the converter can collapse or break apart, causing a rattle. The rattle may be more obvious when starting the vehicle and will worsen over time. During engine combustion, sulfur-containing gasoline becomes hydrogen sulfide.

A properly working catalytic converter will convert hydrogen sulfide into odorless sulfur dioxide. When failing, you may notice a sulfuric, rotten egg-like smell coming from the exhaust. Unburnt fuel left in the exhaust by the bad catalytic converter produces the odor, and may even cause dark exhaust smoke. A bad or failing catalytic converter can also cause an illuminated Check Engine Light.

The oxygen sensor and air-fuel ratio sensor in modern vehicles monitor the efficiency of the catalytic converter by tracking the gas levels in the exhaust. If the computer detects that the catalytic converter is not operating correctly, or not catalyzing the exhaust gases properly, it will set off the Check Engine Light to alert the driver of the problem.

A variety of other issues can activate the Check Engine Light, so it is recommended to have the vehicle scanned for trouble codes to be certain of the issue. Some states in the U. Should this pop up, the car will fail the test. The catalytic converter is one of the most important emissions components found in modern vehicles.

Without it, the vehicle may produce excessive emissions harmful to both humans and the environment. If you suspect that your catalytic converter may be having a problem, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician to determine if the car will need a catalytic converter replacement. The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Exhaust and Emission System Inspection. Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

Schedule Exhaust and Emission System Inspection. Service Area.

can a bad catalytic converter cause smoke

Average rating fromcustomers who received a Exhaust and Emission System Inspection. Reduced Engine Performance One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a bad or failing catalytic converter is a reduction in engine performance.If you see your tailpipe blowing white smoke then you should know the root causes to avoid any engine damage. One of two conditions is responsible for white smoke blowing out of your exhaust.

For more detail please read full article below:. It is important that you address these issues soon so that your engine and exhaust system do not get damaged.

You may not have to worry because it could just be the accumulation of condensation causing that to happen. In these situations, you will typically see this white smoke come out on cooler days. The smoke should only be coming out in small amounts after you start your engine.

Then after about 30 seconds to a minute, the white smoke should clear up. If this is the case then you have nothing to worry about. Whenever your cylinder head is cracked or damaged, coolant will begin to leak out of it. All it takes is a little bit of coolant to leak out and get mixed in with the engine oil. Once that happens, the oil will become contaminated.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Catalytic Converter

The first sign of having contaminated oil is white exhaust smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Another area that can leak coolant is the coolant reservoir tank. This is generally less common to leak, but it can happen if the reservoir tank were to get damaged or cracked.

Sometimes this will happen if it a mechanic is fixing another problem in the vehicle and accidentally damages the tank. If oil were to ever leak out of your piston rings or valve sealsthen it would flow into the internal combustion chamber along with the fuel.

Once the fuel and oil get mixed together, it will cause white smoke and maybe even blue smoke to come out of the tailpipe. The fuel injector is responsible for placing fuel into the internal combustion chamber at the exact right time. If you were to have a bad fuel injectorthen it would cause white smoke to form because the proper amount of fuel did not enter the chamber at the right time.

If you have a faulty engine control unit or one that simply is glitchy, it may throw off the timing of the fuel injector. It just means you need to fix or reprogram the engine control unit so that it can correct the timing of the fuel pump injector. Often, you can simply unplug your car battery for a few minutes to reset the computer and the issue fixes itself. The worst case scenario is that your entire engine block has a crack in it.

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These are the kinds of problems that will be the most costly to fix. If the white smoke stays on longer than that, then you need to determine which of the other six causes above are the problem and hire a professional to fix it.

I had my radiator cap blow off while driving the engine got so hot. I installed a new thermostat and flushed the radiator as well.Catalytic converter failure can be a pain to fix.

can a bad catalytic converter cause smoke

This ensures that as much exhaust gas as possible passes over these metals, so that they can be converted into less harmful emissions before exiting the tail pipe. It also puts the converter directly in line to get a face full of contaminants should something not be working right under the hood.

Engine exhaust is already quite hot, so when you add in a contaminant like unburned fuel, which can find its way into the exhaust system when your motor is running too rich, you compound the effect, as that fuel typically ends up burning inside the converter itself. This can damage or even melt the honeycomb structure that is required for the catalyst metals to do their job, leading to a blockage and restriction in exhaust flow. A slow leak, however — say, from a bad head gasket — can also send enough coolant back through the exhaust system over time to clog your catalytic converter and contaminate the materials used inside of it until they are no longer effective.

Over time, many engines begin to consume oil. This happens because of piston rings that lose their ability to properly seal as the miles pile up, or because a valve becomes stuck. It can also be due to any number of small design issues or worn-out engine components. Black smoke or signs that your car is using a significant amount of oil in between changes are indicators that you may end up reducing the efficiency of — or even permanently damaging — your converter.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.

I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Check out these three common causes of catalytic converter problems.

Oil Consumption Over time, many engines begin to consume oil. Related Articles. Keegan March 1, Now What? By Mike Hagerty February 4, By Matthew C. Keegan January 3, Solving GM 1. By Blair Lampe December 24,


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