What Happens if I Don’t Replace My Catalytic Converter?

What Happens if I Don't Replace my Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are important to every vehicle because it prevents you from harming yourself and the environment by releasing dangerous toxins in form of gases into the atmosphere. What then happens if you refuse to replace your failing catalytic converter?

If you don’t replace your catalytic converter when ought to, it will damage the exhaust manifold and cause damage to the running engine, which then causes further damage to the engine until you are stuck with a dangerous smoking car with a damaging engine.

Should I Replace My Catalytic Converter?

Replacing your catalytic converter depends on if it is still effective or not. If you notice your car’s catalytic converter is abnormally getting hot and blocked, it will require you to make moves to replace it as soon as you can.

Catalytic converters don’t damage the car’s engine all at once. It is a gradual process that takes time before it finally leaves a lasting problem on your engine.

If it is at the early stage where it only develops a higher temperature rate, see a mechanic and have it fixed at a reasonable fee. Neglecting it at its early stage is to your peril. You shouldn’t attempt it.

How Do I Know if My Catalytic Converter Needs Replacement?

Catalytic converters additionally work like every other vehicle part; the signs are not enchanted. They likewise offer noticeable hints to caution you of any possible threats.

Replacing a catalytic converter is quite pricy; more explanation why individuals cease from getting it done. You could constantly fix it and set aside some money, yet most times, when it is damaged, you’ll have to replace it.

How then, at that point, do you define the boundary between overlooking, fixing, or getting a substitution? The following are a couple of signs you can decide on.

1. A Rattle Sound Under The Vehicle

At the point when your vehicle delivers shaking sounds, it implies the mesh inside the converter is now weakening, which is recognizable when you make turnovers with the vehicle.

The mesh weakening can be because of how long you have been using it or the sort of fuel blend used in the vehicle.

Age more often than not isn’t the issue, since they have planned exhaust systems with parts that guarantee to last 100,000 miles, and that implies they don’t get aged until when they ought to.

Whichever one caused the shaking sound, the significant data is that your catalytic converter is probably bad/damaged and needs to be replaced as quickly as time permits.

2. Engine Lights Turn On

This isn’t one of the best ways to predict because there are other reasons the check engine light could come on, but out of the many reasons, we could also consider a catalytic converter problem.

The light of your engine will come on when the air-fuel ratio and the oxygen sensors pick up a problem. It activates the engine light.

In case this is the only sign your vehicle is displaying, before making assumptions if it is the catalytic converter having issues or not, get it to your mechanic to run an error scan on it to determine why exactly your engine light is turning on.

3. Exhaust Excretes Sulfur

A Catalytic converter has a major role, which is to convert toxic gases into less harmful gases. During the combustion process, sulfur converts into hydrogen sulfide, which is a dangerous toxic gas in the atmosphere.

The catalytic converter then converts the hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide, which is odorless. But, when your catalytic converter is failing, the smell changes and you could smell rotten eggs.

4. Your Car Doesn’t Pass The Emission Test

States like Ohio will require an emission test from cars registered in qualified countries every 2 years interval. You may wonder how this tells you if your catalytic converter needs a replacement or not. If your car has a catalytic converter failing, it shows in the diagnosis test.

But would you wait for a 2-year interval before confirming your thoughts? No other signs are there for you to confirm.

5. Low Engine Performance

This could be one of the early signs of a failing catalytic converter. You could easily notice this when cases like high consumption of fuel, slower acceleration, and a reduction in power when driving.

This could mean your catalytic converter is failing. Though there are other reasons your engine might perform low but out of the many reasons, you sure don’t want to neglect checking your converter to be sure it is in its best performance for effectiveness.

These signs are stepping to direct you to make a quality decision if your vehicle needs a catalytic replacement or not. There could be special cases in which the problem with your catalytic converter isn’t complex.

It couldn’t be a clogged catalytic converter problem and the solution will not require a replacement but a mechanical cleaning using a pressure washer.

This, by itself, will take away any accumulated contaminations that have found their way into the converter.

You will need to visit the mechanic to get this done. Be sure you know if your vehicle needs cleaning, repair, or replacement. This will save you some extra cost.

What Happens If I Don’t Replace My Catalytic Converter?

It is understandable if you choose not to have your catalytic converter replaced. Maybe due to how pricy it is or for some other reasons best known to known to you, but before that, here are a few things that could go wrong if you refuse to replace your failing catalytic converter.

It Causes A Damaged Exhaust Manifold

In most cars, the exhaust manifold is found close to the catalytic converter. The exhaust manifold is tightly joined with the catalytic converter in most vehicles, and cannot be separated.

This was designed so that the catalytic converter gets enough temperature quickly, which reduces emission, especially when the engine is cold.

Though good, a few times overheating could occur. This makes it vulnerable and easily influenced by heat.

Overheating continuously will cause a crack in the exhaust manifold and these cracks appear visible. You also can see it. These cracks allow exhaust to escape into the air, which always has a burning smell when the engine is running.

A cracked exhaust manifold will probably also affect the catalytic converter, which makes repair or replacement quite expensive.

The Engine Lights Turn On

Engine lights are there to inform you if any of your engine parts are giving up the ghost. When the engine light is activated, the vehicle runs on a “Safe mode”, in which everything it does is to ensure the engine doesn’t get excessively damaged and while it does that, the car becomes less efficient.

If you continue driving with the lights signaling you a warning, greater parts of your engine can stop working. You won’t only spend over repairing your catalytic converter, you also spend some funds repairing or replacing other parts of the engine that might have sustained some defects because of the vehicle functioning in a “safe mood” for a longer time.


Don’t risk driving a car with a damaged catalytic converter. It affects the engine and also affects the environment if dangerous gases that are to be converted to harmless gases are released into the atmosphere.

It could be pricy, but the above information will help you draw the line of conclusion whether your vehicle catalytic converter needs a cleaning up, a repair, or a replacement, so you don’t spend more when you can spend less.

In case you still wallow in confusion, see a mechanic and be sure of what to do.