How to Clean Catalytic Converter?- Do It The Right Way!

How to Clean Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter plays an important role in the emission systems of your car. It is the one responsible for the treatment of the emissions produced by the engine, making sure that they do not cause serious damage to the other parts. If it malfunctions or if it shows any signs of problems, a replacement is warranted. To avoid the latter, regular cleaning is a must.

If you are interested to know how to clean catalytic converter, the rest of this post has got you covered. A lot of you might instantly think of going to a trusted mechanic in the neighborhood. Yes, this is convenient. However, it can also be costly. It is good to know that this is one task that you can accomplish on your own and with the use of basic materials.

How to Clean Catalytic Converter


Symptoms of a Problematic Catalytic Converter

Before we proceed with the discussion of the specific steps that are involved, let us first look at some of the signs that the catalytic converter is dirty, damaged, or failing. When these symptoms are present, take this as an indication that it needs to be cleaned, or worse, replaced.

Decreased Fuel Economy: Have you noticed your car using more fuel than it used to? If your full tank does not last that long anymore, there are different problems that are possible, but one would be related to your catalytic converter.

Rattling Noise: There are many reasons why the engine might produce an annoying noise, but one that you might want to look at is the catalytic converter. It can deteriorate and crack over time, which is the reason why it can make a noticeable noise.

Reduced Performance: There is also a problem with your catalytic converter if you notice that your car has a subpar performance, not only in terms of its fuel economy. You might experience stalling of the engine when you are driving.

Exhaust Odor: You also have to pay attention to the foul smell that can originate from your car’s exhaust. If there is a strong and pungent smell, this can be an indication that fuel is already flooding your catalytic converter.

Raised Level of Carbon Emissions: This is not only bad for your car, but it is also bad for the environment. When the catalytic converter fails to deliver its function, the carbon emission will be raised. This can even be a reason for your car to fail an emissions test.

How to Tell if You Need a New Catalytic Converter in Your Car

How to Clean a Catalytic Converter

Here are the simple steps that you need t follow to clean your catalytic converter. They are actually easy and you do not need to spend a lot by contracting the services of a neighborhood mechanic. Before anything else, prepare the materials that you will need, which include the following:

  • Eye protection
  • Wrench
  • Clean cloth
  • Hot water
  • Degreaser

Start with Safety Mind

The most important thing is your safety. With this, the first thing that you have to do is to park the vehicle on a flat surface. See to it that you will be working in a well-lit environment for lesser chances of committing a mistake. Wear protection for the eyes.

Take out the Catalytic Converter

Now that the car is parked, proceed to the removal of the catalytic converter. In the case of most car models, you will need a wrench to loosen the bolt. Make sure to keep the bolts in a secured place as you will need them later when it is time to return the clean catalytic converter.

Inspect the Catalytic Converter

After removing the catalytic converter, bring it to an open and bright space where you can have a quick inspection. If there are cracks and visible damages, this is a sign that it needs a replacement. On the other hand, if it is just dirty or clogged, you can still have it cleaned, allowing you to save money.

Clean the Catalytic Converter

To start with the cleaning, use a cloth to remove any dirt or grime that you can find on the surface. Apply enough pressure to take it off, which can be quite difficult if it has already hardened. If there is debris, use a power washer to take it off. Pay attention to cleaning the inlet and outlet pipes, which probably have the highest concentration of dirt.

At this point, if you can still see dirt, soak it in a mixture of hot water and degreaser. This will allow the dirt to soften, and as a result, will be easier to remove.

After it is cleaned, allow the catalytic converter to dry for a while.

Return the Catalytic Converter

By now, the catalytic converter should be clean and dry. Bring it back to its original position. Tighten the bolts, and your job is done!

How to Clean Your Car’s Catalytic Converter using Lacquer Thinner

Care and Maintenance for Catalytic Converters

Aside from the steps that have been mentioned above, here are other important things that you also have to keep in mind:

  • Being more cautious when driving on speed humps is one of the most important things. If you are reckless, the exhaust system can end up being grounded, and in turn, the catalytic converter will have to absorb the damage. It can cause cracks, and in most instances, it is irreparable. Cleaning will no longer work.
  • Power spraying is an alternative to cleaning the catalytic converter. If a degreaser and hot water won’t work, try a power sprayer to blast off dirt on the surface.
  • Watch out for the weight that is being towed by your vehicle. If it is too heavy, it can cause damage to the different components of your car, including the catalytic converter. This can cause the unburnt fuel to be sent to the exhaust and will result in overheating.
  • When using a fuel additive, read the instructions and follow it religiously. There are some additives that are unsafe for a catalytic converter.


After reading this post, I hope that you now know how to clean catalytic converter. As noted above, this is an easy task that will be a lifesaver in the long run. It will improve fuel economy and the overall performance of your car. The best part is that you can complete it on your own and without a helping hand from a pro!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post