For most of your car's life, you will hardly even know you have a catalytic converter. That's because this vital component of the exhaust system works quietly and efficiently as it keeps your car's exhaust as clean as possible. In fact, catalytic converters are crucial to the clean air and water of the nation and to the world. Every year, they prevent thousands of tons of dangerous substances from ever entering the atmosphere. Eventually, though, if you have your vehicle long enough, the unit will show signs of wear and tear. The surest sign is when the check engine light comes on. At this point, you want to go to your mechanic or your neighborhood auto parts store to have the code deciphered. The code will tell you if it is time for a replacement.
Signs You Need To Replace Your Catalytic Converter
In addition to the precision of diagnostic codes, there will be a number of signs that indicate your converter is failing. These will grow more pronounced over time. The following signs are warnings that your unit is compromised:
• Dark exhaust coming out of the tailpipe
• A rotten egg odor permeating the vehicle
• Frequent stalling of the engine
• Decreasing gas mileage
• Rattling sounds near the tailpipe when idling
Once you know your unit needs to be replaced, it is time to think about catalytic converter cost. Like much of your exhaust system, this sophisticated piece of equipment is not inexpensive. You can expect to pay between $950 to $2500 for a new converter. If you install the system yourself, you can probably shave off several hundred dollars in labor costs. A direct fit unit will be easier to install than a universal fit unit. If the unit is clogged, you might be able to clean the converter and buy yourself some more time. It is not recommended to wait too long or to try and bypass the warning systems of a failed converter.
How To Tell Your Catalytic Converter Has Gone Bad
While you might be able to drive for a while on a compromised converter, the signs of failure will progressively worsen. Engine performance will gradually degrade and the check engine light will remain lit. You might even be unable to use cruise control. If you push it too far, there might come a time when you cause engine damage to your vehicle or even total engine failure.
When you do decide to replace your catalytic converter, you will have a number of options of what type to buy. You can use a VIN decoder to match your car make and model to converters that will work with your vehicle. This is a failsafe way to make sure you get the ideal product for your replacement part. In fact, whenever you buy parts to upgrade your vehicle, it is smart to use the VIN code as a starting point to find a perfect match. Whether you are looking for new brakes, headlights or windshield wipers, depending on your local store puts you in contact with great value and automotive expertise.