Emission control system in your car has one main purpose. And that is to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants that are released into the atmosphere. A catalytic converter is the most important component of this system.
It transforms toxic and environmentally unfriendly gases into less harmful ones. In theory, a catalytic converters should last as long as a car. In real life, things are not that simple. Exhaust temperatures need to be rather high for the catalytic converter to work properly. This temperatures are usually reached after 5-10 miles of normal driving. So, if you have a lot of short drives, your catalytic converter might be clogged up. To make things worse, that is not the only thing that can cause clogging. Low quality fuel, poor engine maintenance or high oil consumption will also contribute to clogging up.
Luckily, in most cases the catalytic converter can be cleaned using various methods, especially if caught on time. There is a tried out old school method, that involves a lacquer thinner and a lot of engine revving. Although this method works, keep in mind that the lacquer thinner can cause damage to your fuel injection system or engine valves. And if you put too much of it, you will certainly destroy your catalytic converter. To be on a safe side, use some of the products that are specially designed for this application. You will achieve the same effect, while not risking any damage to your engine.
In this article, we review the best CAT converter cleaners on the market to help you decide
Best CAT Converter Cleaner on the Market
Here are a several top products for this job:
This is a very effective catalytic converter cleaner fluid that is very easy to use. It is perfect for removing mild cloggings, or as a preventive treatment. Additionally, it cleans intake and engine deposits, as well. This makes it a great multi-purpose cleaner.
- Cleans engine, intake, catalytic converter and exhaust
- Reduces emissions and air pollution
- Reduces fuel consumption
- Improves overall engine performance
- Simple and safe to use
If you aim specifically at cleaning your catalytic converter or o2 sensors, this is a product for you. It is specially developed to effectively remove soot and carbon deposits. It treats the entire exhaust tract, and especially the catalytic converter and o2 sensor.
- Removes existing deposits
- Provides protection against heavy dirt with regular use
- Restores engine performance
- Ensuring the proper operation of the oxygen sensor and thecatalytic converter
- Prevents or eliminates ‘check engine’ light
Formulated to protect and treat the Catalytic Converter & Exhaust System from oil poisons. This will improving overall performance, increase fuel efficiency and protect your catalytic converter.
- Protects catalytic system from oil poisons
- Cleans the oxygen sensor
- Lowers exhaust emissions
- Use before replacing catalytic converter
- Works great for P0420 Catalytic Converter Code
How to Use the Catalytic Converter Cleaner?
Most catalytic converter cleaners are designed as a sort of a fuel additive. As they are just poured into the fuel tank, the whole procedure is as simple as it gets. Just fill up your fuel tank, and then empty in the whole bottle of cleaner. Most cleaner manufacturers state to drive your car normally until the most of the tank is used.
Yet, we strongly recommend that you take several longer trips for a better effect. Motor-ways or mountain roads are perfect for this application. This is because the higher engine loads will ensure constant high exhaust temperatures. However, avoid driving in high revs for a prolonged period during the cleaning process. A high exhaust gas flow rate combined n with the cleaner may overheat the catalytic converter.
A bit of tech stuff for the end
First of all, let’s see what is a catalyst. This is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. Catalysts take part in the reactions, but are neither reactants or products of the reaction they catalyze. That explains why the catalytic converter should last as long as a car.
Any catalytic converter has four main components:
- Casing – this is an elongated metal cylindrical container. It holds the catalyst support, and it is thermally insulated from the outside.
- Catalyst support – inside the casing there is mesh core that looks like a honeycomb. This is called a or a substrate, and it carries the catalyst. This core is made either out of ceramic or out of metal.
- Washcoat – carries the catalyst material which is suspended in it. This is used to dispense it over the catalyst support and achieve larger contact surface.
- Catalytic layer – it is made from elements that trigger an redox reaction that converts pollutants and toxic gases into less harmful ones. Metals usually used as catalyst are platinum, palladium or rhodium..
There are two main types of catalytic converters:
- Two-way or oxidation catalytic converter reduces the amount of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. They are used in diesel powered cars, as well as in older gasoline cars.
- Three-way catalytic converter reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides, as well as the amount of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. They are used in all modern gasoline powered cars.
So, what causes damage to your catalytic converter, making it inefficient? Before we get to that, it is important to distinguish two main failure types:
- melted or collapsed core: This happens as a result of a extreme temperature within a catalytic, and it is caused by misfire or excessive oil consumption. Unfortunately, such damage cannot be repaired, and the only option is a replacement.
- clogged up catalytic converter: Here you will have a core that is still good, but is covered with a carbon build-up. This reduces the surface for the exhaust gas comes in contact with catalyst. There are several situations that can cause a carbon build-up, ranging from driving habits to an engine that doesn’t run well. Whatever the cause, you can still restore it by cleaning.
What can cause catalytic converter failure?
- Poor fuel quality
- Leaded gasoline usage
- Dirty fuel injectors
- Engine that runs rich
- High oil consumption
- Poor car maintenance
- Frequent short trips
If you have anything of mentioned above, you should consider cleaning your catalytic converter. This goes even if you don’t experience any symptoms, as the prevention is the best cure when it comes to emission control.